Every breath is a gift

From the very first breath we take to fill our lungs so we can let out a scream all mothers long to hear, until the last breath we take when we leave this earth. Each and every breath we take in between is a gift many of us take for granted.

No one knows how many times we will take a breath in our lives, but one thing we know for certain, one day we will take a final breath and leave this world. Forever.

In saying that, the gift of life is something we need to cherish, every moment, every single day. No matter how bad we think our day is going to be. We are alive and kicking.

Even though we may moan and groan through our normal morning rituals, we are living and breathing. The other option has absolutely no appeal to me whatsoever. None. Zip. Nada.

But what about the times when things are tough and we feel as if we are carrying the entire world on our shoulders. Do we buckle under the weight or do we find the strength to forge forward?

Personally, I keep pushing forward, no matter how tough it gets. It’s not easy. Every single day is a hard fought struggle. And the struggle is real. It’s not something that I have made up. There are so many people out there who know and understand the struggle. The struggle to keep the black dog at bay.

When we think the dog is safely back in his kennel, we turn around and realise the bastard is nipping at our heels. Snapping away and trying to drag us back into the darkness that can shroud our every waking moment.

The black dog closes in with every step we take. But with the support of our family and friends, we can ensure he stays in his kennel.

Never be afraid to speak up. Others around us may not see how we are truly feeling. And that is the time we are the most vulnerable to the jaws of the black dog.

You never miss the life you don’t live.

As I sat at my desk surrounded by a few workmates and discussed what we were having for lunch, one of them jokingly suggested a healthy salad. It didn’t bother me as I already had my tuna and kale salad, packed and ready to be devoured with much gusto.

So during the very heated food discussion, the topic of buying pork crackling from Mr Crackle came up, and very quickly had us all salivating at the mere thought of devouring a bucket load of perfectly fried crackling to accompany our salads.

It was then that the healthy side of my brain crawled out from where it normally hibernates and piped up and said ‘That will take off a few years of our lives’.

The response I got back from one of my colleagues was one that made my head spin. ‘You never miss the life you don’t live’. And it did get me thinking.

We live for the future and what we can do with ourselves down the track. We look forward to our next weekend, our next holiday or our next fishing trip. Some of us even look forward to our next 100km ride (Sad, but true).

But what happens if we don’t get to that weekend, that trip or even that ride? We have no idea what lays install for us in the next moment, let alone in a year’s time.

We need to make the most of the very limited time we have while we are living and breathing. Being six foot under doesn’t count as time well spent on this blue/green planet of ours.

The time we do have is time we need to make the most of. I know I have said it before in my previous blog, Two dates and a dash, but essentially, that’s all our lives will be if we continue to look so far down the beaten track, that we don’t make the most of the time we have now. Not next year, not next month. Not even tomorrow. Now is the time.

If there is ever a time to get up and do something you know will put a smile on your face, make you drool with delight, or even make your heart skip a beat. Just do it. Do it now and don’t hesitate for a single second.

Don’t just make plans for what you want to do later in life. Now is the time.

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.

Is honesty the best policy?

From a very young age, I have always been told to be honest and tell the truth. Honesty is the best policy I was told. Time and time again. And it has been something that has been ingrained into my mind.

So as I have grown older and supposedly wiser, I sometimes have doubts about the entire truth is the best policy motto. I’m not saying we should always lie, but at times a small white lie may be the best way to ensure everyone is happy and no major wars begin.

So when people ask how I’m.feeling, it’s easier to smile and say that everything’s just fine. Sometimes going into detail would only bring the mood down, and if there is no real benefit in others feeling bad about things that can’t be easily changed. Why tell the truth


And there are so many thing in life that can’t be changed, so we just put up with them. Don’t we?

So after a while we begin to lie to ourselves, until we believe the very same white lies we tell the ones around us. And in the end, the lies becomes part of our very being. Melding into our lives and eventually, we are unable to distinguish the truth among the lies.

Even after all is said and done, deep down I know that honesty still is the best policy. But it may come at a price.

A year is a long time



A year equals 365 days.

A year equals 8760 hours

A year equals 525600 minutes

A year equals 31,536,000 seconds.

All it took was one of those seconds to change my life forever.

With a long and painful year behind me, I can now begin to look forward and set a few new targets as the last of my operations are done and dusted.

When people discover I had a major incident with a car while cycling, i get the standard response of how lucky I really am.

In some ways this makes sense, I am still able to walk and have full function of all my limbs and only with some pain on a daily basis. But yes, I am alive and have managed to get back on the bike and continue with my life in a way I would have wanted.

But, if I had been really ‘lucky’ I would have never been hit by a motorist who was not paying attention to the roads in front of him. I would have never suffered the effects of a broken back and other painful injuries.

Luck has not been the biggest factor in getting back on my feet and eventually back on the bike. Persistence may have had a huge part to play, and the fact I find it rather difficult to accept help, even when I should was another factor.

Unlucky is probably the best way to describe the situation I ended up in. Broken and feeling very sorry for myself at the best of times. Not that giving up was ever an option, even though I have to admit there were times where it was one step forward and two steps back.

Having to go through two separate procedure, shoulder and then my hand, which I was told was fine. I guess the surgeon got that one wrong. So after 11 months, I had surgery to repair my thumb, and the rehab begins from scratch.

So all I can do from this point forward is look forward to a time where I can be happy with my condition and the joys I have ahead in my life.

A second can sometimes be the longest time in a person’s life.

Make every second count as you may not get the next one

The Simple Things

The more I look at life and all it has to offer, it becomes very obvious that the simple things are the ones that make us the happiest

From the delights of sharing a simple meal with friends all the way through to sitting on the beach with a loved one and watching the sun set over the calm waters. Watching the sunrise is just as spectacular, but there is the fact you do need to be out of bed rather early.

We are all very different, and what makes us happy is a very personal thing. Dining at a fancy restaurant, staying in bed all day and bumming around in pjs for the rest of the day, or getting up at the crack of dawn and cycling about until the legs scream for rest. It’s these very simple things that make life worth living.

And then there is the one other thing that makes us truly happy? To hear words of love and affection from the people who are closest to us.

‘I love you’ are the three little words that make life special to all of us, no matter how hardened we think we are. They make us smile, even if that smile is an internal one.

Tell someone you love them today, as tomorrow is never promised. And what if you don’t love them? It’s best they know that as well.