I’m a lucky man.
I’ve been severely depressed. Twice. I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been divorced. And I’m a lucky man.
When I started this blog my head wasn’t in the best place (I’m not detecting a great deal of surprise at this revelation…). I knew that there were things that I had to deal with and writing this blog has been important in helping me to do that. But during this difficult period I have never lost sight of the fact that throughout my life I have been incredibly lucky. And I believe that faith that good things can and do come from hard times has helped to place a safety net across the hole that leads to the dark void into which I have slid before.
There are a number of significant instances in my life that I can point to that remind me of the luck that I have been blessed with. Events that remind me of how difficult times have led directly to better times ahead. Events that show me just how unpredictable and wonderful this life can be.
- My first serious girlfriend broke up with me. I met my future wife two weeks later
- My marriage ended. I met a wonderful woman within hours of joining an online dating site one month later; I have since learned that this isn’t the usual way that online dating goes. I don’t know how I would have dealt with the fall-out from my marriage break-up if I hadn’t met her
- I was faced with redundancy with my previous employer and as part of the process had to re-interview for the roles that would remain. I didn’t feel happy with how the interview went so that night I looked for a job within boxing, a lifelong passion, and saw a position advertised. The job description and person specification pretty much described me and my prior work experience – I couldn’t have written it better myself. I got the job
- When suffering with my second bout of depression the financial impact of a prolonged period off work was very tough. My wife at the time took on added financial burdens and our savings were used to keep a roof over our family’s heads. Soon after returning to work I came into money unexpectedly that replaced the lost savings
- Last year I was faced with redundancy. I found this out as I was in the process of buying a home for me and my children. I love boxing and didn’t want to have to leave but couldn’t risk being out of work and applied for a good job with another sports organisation. I interviewed well. I didn’t get the job. Within weeks additional funding was secured to enable me to keep my job in boxing. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to have been unsuccessful in that interview
My brother sent me a message a month or so ago:
It’s easy to be cynical but my life to date has shown the truth of this statement, at least to me it has.
But as well as offering the opportunity to trust that tough times will pass – and more than that, that they can lay the foundations for a better future than we could have imagined – such good fortune can also lead us to wonder when the luck will run out? What will happen when events don’t conspire in our favour? What if things don’t fall into place? What if, what if….?
Worrying won’t help us. A saying attributed to Buddha prescribes an antidote to this restless and discomfiting state of mind:
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
This can be easier said than done but it is difficult to argue with its inherent truth. And in living in the present moment wisely and earnestly – taking positive action to address our challenges, and listening to our inner voice and following our higher instincts – we can cross the stormy seas and reach a calmer shore.
When I returned to work after my second depression I did so out of financial necessity. I wasn’t well. I wasn’t ready. But that morning I picked up the book I had been reading, ‘God In My Corner’ by the boxer George Foreman.
“Maybe you’re attempting a comeback in your life. It won’t be easy at first, but don’t give up at the first sign of difficulty, struggle or opposition. Perhaps it’s time to change your strategy. Who knows what success might be yours simply by making a few changes. Perhaps it’s some habit or minor lifestyle change that could totally alter your future and lead you to a whole new level of success and satisfaction.”
Those words hit me like Big George’s right hand; they were just what I needed and just when I needed them. And you know what? Big George was right.
It’s funny how life can be sometimes, how events can conspire to lead us safely away from our struggles.
It’s about time I learn this lesson. Really learn it. I’m getting there – bit by bit, setback by setback – my trust in myself, my trust in life, grows. And as a friend said to me when my marriage ended,
“Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it is not yet the end.”