2018. June 21. The summer solstice (here in the Northern Hemisphere).
Today, a friend turned 50, a client turned 49, and I am celebrating 38 years of life.
Not because I'm 38 years old, but because on this date 38 years ago I almost lost my life in a deadly car crash when we collided with a truck on a highway late at night.
One of our friends died that night. I was the worst injured of the four survivors.
I survived thanks to the good work of the paramedics and hospital staff on that long dark night in Adelaide.
After many weeks in hospital I eventually went home and then back to work after three months of rehabilitation.
Since that day, every day has been a bonus.
Instead of a life cut short tragically (like so many are), I've had the privilege of travelling the world, experiencing different relationships, marrying my amazing wife, raising two sons, changing careers, becoming a psychologist, professional speaker and author, moving to another country, joining a fantastic firm in London, setting up my own business, and meeting all kinds of interesting people.
There are things I'm proud of but I've also made some big, expensive mistakes which triggered feelings of shame, guilt and anger.
Like everyone, I've had plenty of lows and highs. They seem to come in pairs.
I've had some worrying financial challenges and yet benefitted from the kindness of people freely giving their time to provide valuable support and guidance.
I've watched a friend struggle with depression and yet had the joy of helping with his journey to recovery, deepening our friendship along the way.
I've been shocked to see my bright, loving, and energetic father die younger than both his parents did, and yet I got to sit with him in love and gratitude during his last 3 weeks.
Life is about ups and downs...
When my parents stepped into that intensive care ward 38 years ago to see the shocking sight of their first born child bandaged, sedated, with wires and tubes coming out of his body, the one thing they would have been pleased to see was the ups and downs on the monitors, not flat lines.
Life IS the ups and downs.
Whatever your day, week, and year brings you, learn to embrace it all.
The ups and downs, bright days and dark nights, warm summers and cold winters, joy and heartbreak, success and failure, births and deaths.
It is all part of the journey. It's how we fully experience life. It's how we learn to love. And to forgive ... others and ourselves.
You never know how many days you'll have on your unique journey.
Embrace this day that you have NOW.
As Tara Brach said, "How you live today will be how you lived your life."
Be present and make it count...
... for you, and for the people around you.
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