Never be defined by tragedy. Let it shape you.

When something disastrous happens to us, the very first thing we do is to think, why did this happen to me? What have I done to deserve this?

But in reality, there may have been nothing we could have done to have avoided the situation. Sometimes just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is more than enough for disaster to strike.

So in saying this, I know first hand what it feels like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just because I wasn’t doing the wrong thing. I still came out second best when a car cut in front of me as I cycled down along the peninsula on a morning ride.

Metal crashing against metal is one of the loudest sounds I can recall. Especially when the action was upon me and not in the distance.

Having survived a serious cycling accident involving a car, I was devastated and very much broken. Not just physically, but mentally. And in many ways, emotionally.

In this time of darkness, I could have taken the easy way out and given up and not pushed through the pain and frustration. I could have stayed in bed, feeling very sad and sorry for myself for the situation which had been thrust upon me.

But I didn’t. I suffered through every single day until I was able to get out of bed on my own and then fend for myself once again. One step at a time. Slowly I wandered out of the house and to the end of the driveway. Then to the end of the street. And finally around the block.

I’m back to a point now that I am able to complete 10km run and not suffer all that much the next day. I still hurt, but its it’s a good hurt.

What did happen to me has changed the way in which I see things, and it has shaped my life in a way I didn’t expect. It changed the way I look at things and the people around me. I see good in people where others don’t see the same thing.

I see a sunrise in ways that some people would say its it’s just another morning. The way in which I see a sunset is also very different now than it was back then.

It’s because I am still able to enjoy those simple pleasures that are taken for granted.

I no longer try to take life so serious as all it does is add to the frustrations I already have to put up with on a daily basis as I continue to recover.

The biggest tragedy would have been if I had given up at the beginning, and not continued with my life journey.

My journey had taken a few detours, and there are more ahead. But I’m happy that I have the opportunity to take on the detours that life throws my way.

Life is a journey, not a destination

From the time we expel our first ear shattering cry a few moments after we are born, until the day we take our last breath, our life is one long and very complicated journey. There is no doubt about it, our destination is already set in stone, as we will all end up in a pine box, six feet beneath the surface of the earth.

Our journey through life will have many twists and turns, as well as a few detours. It will take us to such dizzying heights that are so breathtaking we can only look down and wonder how we will plant our feet back on terra firma.

Then there are the lows in our life travels, the ones that leave us gasping for breath and make us think we are drowning in a world of lies, deceit, hate and misery. We sometimes think we can’t sink any lower, but we are so far from the truth. The lows in our lives go deeper than we can fully understand, or even believe.

In the middle of all of the twists and turns throughout our journey, we come across enough forks in the road to fill an oversized cutlery drawer. These forks offer us the opportunity to take a different path from the one we are traveling. They make us think about what we truly want, need and desire for the next part of life’s journey.

There are no right and wrong directions we take once we hit a fork in life, they are just that. A different direction. A direction that will continue until we are presented with another fork, and another decision to make.

My own journey in life has had twists, turns and a few detours thrown in. It has also included a number of speed humps and some potholes which were deeper than they looked.

The speed humps have certainly rattled my body and given me a decent shakeup. In reality they should have slowed me down and made me proceed with extreme caution. But alas, they jarred my back and sent pain throughout my body. But the slowing down part hasn’t lasted forever.

The most important lesson I learnt from the speed humps was to ensure my suspension should be always be up to scratch. And not let something as small as a hump in my travels stop me from doing what I want in life. Because if i did stop, it would be downhill for the rest of my life’s journey.

As for the potholes I have fallen into, they have done more than buckle a wheel or two, they have sent me into dark places where very little light shone through. And when light managed to circumnavigate the depths of the pothole, it was of very little use.

And with every pothole I hit, I realised how much more time and effort it required to crawl out from. Each one sapping more energy, and seemingly bigger and deeper than the one before.

In the end, it would have been easier to accept the dark depths of the pothole as the last part of the journey and all allow it to be the only presence in my life.

But then, that’s not how I operate and my internal programming is not set to self destruct. I haven’t given up yet and I can’t see that happening during my journey. Each twist, turn, detour, speed hump or pothole gives me another reason to plough through and continue, onwards and upwards.

Regrets


As I sat down and had a coffee with my parents recently, my Mother said something I would have never expected to hear from her.

She started talking about the things she would have liked to have done when she and my Dad were younger.

Going back to Italy was one thing she would have liked to have done more often, but there was always something stopping her from getting on a plane and visiting her family. They didn’t make the time and put in the effort that was needed to head back home.

It seems we all have regrets of sorts. Sometimes it’s what we have done or said, and then there are times when we wished we hadn’t done or expressed our feelings to the ones closest to us in our lives.


But no matter which situation we have gone through, we will always have some regrets. There is no magic pill to help us out with our regrets, we need to deal with them head on.

If it’s something we have said, we can always apologise. And if it’s something we have done and have hurt others, do something for them that shows you do care and try to move forward.

Then there are the regrets that linger over us like a dark cloud. They are the ones we need to work on the most.

But as we get older we learn and grow, but that doesn’t mean we have to regret what we did before we learned how to do things differently. If we didn’t go through those experiences, we might not have grown into the strong and knowledgeable people we are today.

Without regrets it may mean we may not be in the place we are now. For better or worse.

Regrets

As I sat down and had a coffee with my parents recently, my Mother said something I would have never expected to hear from her.

She started talking about the things she would have liked to have done when she and my Dad were younger.

Going back to Italy was one thing she would have liked to have done more often, but there was always something stopping her from getting on a plane and visiting her family. They didn’t make the time and put in the effort that was needed to head back home.

It seems we all have regrets of sorts. Sometimes it’s what we have done or said, and then there are times when we wished we hadn’t done or expressed our feelings to the ones closest to us in our lives.

But no matter which situation we have gone through, we will always have some regrets. There is no magic pill to help us out with our regrets, we need to deal with them head on.

If it’s something we have said, we can always apologise. And if it’s something we have done and have hurt others, do something for them that shows you do care and try to move forward.

Then there are the regrets that linger over us like a dark cloud. They are the ones we need to work on the most.

But as we get older we learn and grow, but that doesn’t mean we have to regret what we did before we learned how to do things differently. If we didn’t go through those experiences, we might not have grown into the strong and knowledgeable people we are today.

Without regrets it may mean we may not be in the place we are now. For better or worse.

Cronuts, cycling and friendship 

After not having been on a bike for over 9 months,it was time to test the waters and hit a track to see how my mind and body would cope.

So when it came to going off road and getting down and dirty on the Warby trail, there was only one person who I wanted to be by my side as I took the first few turns of the pedals of my trusty Giant mountain bike.



On the day of the ride and waking up much earlier than really required, I checked and then rechecked my gear and then my bike. A few butterflies fluttered in my stomach, but not as bad as I expected.

So once at the start of the track, I slipped on my gloves and put on my helmet and took off with my bro right by my side.


I guess it’s true what they say that you never forget how to ride a bike. It was easy as I  turned the pedals over and the track quickly became a familiar friend.

We chatted and laughed and whatever nerves I had were left at the start of the track. Still some apprehension, but nothing that was going to stop me from enjoying my return to the bike and the scenery it revealed.



With the sun on our backs and a light breeze cutting across us, the distance wasn’t an issue, and neither was my fitness, at least for the first part of the ride.

The return trip was a little tougher on the body, but as we decided to stop off for a coffee and cronut with 10kms from the starting point, I had enough sugar in my body to get me over the line.



Could have I completed the my return ride without my bro by my side? I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that he would have been by my side whenever I decided to take the plunge back onto the world of cycling.



As miserable as 2017 has been, there were a few happy moments. This was one moment that will stay with me for my remaining days. Not because I got back on the bike, or that i managed to clock up 30 plus kms, but the friendship that helped me get through a dark time for me.


The ride cost nothing, just time spent together. Money can’t buy happiness, but a friendship is worth millions.



Rediscovering Happiness 


Happiness is something different to each and everyone of us. To some it’s the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, and knowing the taste will be just as good as the scent wafting throughout the house. To others happiness is the feeling of sitting at the departure lounge of an airport, waiting to board their flight and head off to their next holiday vacation. A destination where they will explore, discover and return home with a head full of happy memories and a yearning to start the next adventure.


And then to another group of people, where happiness is defined on the amount of kilometers they clocked up during their last ride. The speed they traveled at and the amount of PBs they cracked along the way. There is also the comradery they shared with the other cyclists during their journey. Some familiar faces, and some new ones added to fray during the ride.


But no matter what makes us happy and how ecstatic we are during, and after the event, how long does that rush really last? A day, a week, a month, or sometimes longer. But then after the euphoria has long left our system, where are we and how do we really feel?


Is there something missing from our lives? Or can we soldier on and continue to relive those memories and continue to be happy? Or do we need more than a cup of freshly brewed coffee, a vacation or even a bike ride to stay happy? That’s something each and everyone of us needs to work out, and keep on that path of happiness.

Many times the key to happiness is not with what we own, what we do or where we go. Our own happiness starts and ends with us, and only us. Even though we may look at others in our lives to help us achieve our true happiness, we need to look deep into our hearts and minds to discover, or in some cases, rediscover what makes us smile and keeps us happy.


We need to search, and find the key that will unlock the treasure trove that holds what makes up truly happy. Not an impossible task, just a tough one for many of us.


But then, this is more often easier said than done, because we are afraid of what we might find in our hearts and minds when we go searching for happiness.

Take the plunge and go on that magical discovery tour for happiness. There is nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Expiry Date


Every time we open the fridge or take a look in our pantry, we find items that are close to or past their expiry date. Milk, yoghurt, pasta and even sugar laced cereal has an expiry date.


All these items hit their end of life date before we had time to make the most of what they had to offer us. We let the opportunity slip through our fingers and then realise we should have made the most of the item before it hit its time was over.

But, as with all food items we can venture down to the local supermarket and replenish the old expired stock with some fresh items. And then we are able to sit down to a breakfast of milk and cereal. Hopefully Coco Pops.


Even after restocking the pantry and fridge with fresh items, there is one item with an expiry date that we should all be concerned about. Our very own end of life. Once we hit our expiry date, there is no trip to the supermarket that will help us in anyway.

So with that expiry period at the forefront of my mind of late, I’ve realised that even the simplest things in life can be the most enjoyable. From sipping a latte at my favourite coffee shop or taking a hike through the hilly terrain of some local tracks.


We never know what tomorrow brings, so when we we wake up every morning we should take every single opportunity to make the most of our lives.

Spending time with family, friends and loved ones is never going to be a waste of their time or yours. It will make our time before our expiry date so much more pleasurable and bring a smile to our faces.


Now that I have the opportunity to look back, I realise my end of life date could have easily been 18 March 2017. But I was fortunate enough to see another day.

And with that second opportunity I want to get out and about and do things that will make me smile and understand there is happiness to be found.


If that involves getting on a plane and travelling the globe or one day getting back on the bike and cycling around to areas I never got to do beforehand, then I will be making the most of second opportunity.


Be sure you make the most before your expiry date us reached.