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.

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

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.

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.

Heart of Glass 

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break me. So the saying goes.


Breaking a bone in your body is a very painful experience. It can take between 8-12 weeks to heal, depending on the bone and how badly it was broken. This is something I learnt the hard way.

But when your heart is broken, it’s more like the shattering of a fragile crystal decanter. Tiny slivers of your heart are strewn far and wide, and no matter how hard you search for those broken pieces, there will always be a tiny sliver missing.

It’s that missing sliver that will keep your heart from healing and getting back to its original condition. But in no way does that mean a broken heart can’t be healed.

Admittedly, it may take time, and the right person to administer the right potion to replace that missing sliver. More than the 12 weeks it takes for a bone to heal.

If your heart has been shattered, just know that time will eventually heal it. Be patient, as good things come to those who wait. And the wait is worthwhile.

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

During one of my rehabilitation sessions at the hydrotherapy pool, I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman.

The conversation quickly moved onto the reason why he was at the pool and how he had sustained his injuries. 

It’s not always a bike or car accident that can leave a person struggling to be the person they once were.


Situations vary from person to person, and in his case, it was frim having a lung removed so he could continue with life.

The first thing I thought of was either cancer or a smoking related illness. But it was neither. It was all to do with taking very regular flights for business. He suffered a severe blood clot during a flight and the flight was diverted to the closest airport so he could be transferred to hospital for emergency surgery.


The surgery changed his life dramatically, but he never gave up. He would continue to push through the physical and mental pain to get his life back on track. And he did, using yoga and hydrotherapy.

He then said PMA.

The blank expression on my face told him I had no idea what the TLA (Three Letter Acronym) meant.

Positive Mental Attitude


I nodded and understood.

Physically we can get over many bodily breaks and injuries, but without the right positive mental attitude, we will never fully heal.

Mind over matter is not just a saying, it’s a fact. I know this from experience. But, you need to want to heal. Without that want, the chances of a full recovery are much lower.

Always try to keep a positive attitude, and you will see the difference. Trust me on this one.