A good friend once said he had great respect for me as a person because my convictions remained steadfast even though my life situations oscillated through various extremes. He gave me too much credit.
I am going to tell you a story, a special story, my story. A great many may ask, “Why would anyone want to hear such a tale?” My response, “I didn’t know only famous people lived interesting lives.” Are all the most intriguing lives lived by the rich or those hounded by the paparazzi? If they are, the ninety-eight percent of us who are in neither category might as well call it quits now because our time on this earthly plane is a waste. My intention is not to behave as though I know more than many. These are simply experiences and lessons I’ve learned that I genuinely feel can be valuable to others.
For a time now, I have lived a truly unique life. One filled with varying experiences only a handful would ever encounter, even less imagine, and in some cases that would be for the best. I’ve lived below a financial scarcity level no human should ever know, and I’ve been exposed to more wealth than any prince would ever need. The disparity in these experiences few have truly tasted and trust me, for better or worse, I reaped the most out of both. Both almost killed me but for very different reasons.
I heard a man say, “There is nothing stronger than the human soul. Its resilience is all powerful.” At the time, I believed the words carried about as much weight as a stripper’s promise to meet for lunch the next day. As life began to happen, I found those words to be eerily true even when I didn’t want them to be. There were days when the most prevalent thought in my mind was how I was going to kill myself. I thought about jumping off a building, buying a gun and blowing my head off or simply walking out into the ocean. I can’t swim so that would have definitely done the trick. At one point I even set a deadline. I told myself by the closing of the year if I didn’t see light at the end of the tunnel for a better life then I was going to check out. Well at the end of the year I’m not sure if I saw the light more than that human spirit part started to kick in. Life has a way of extending your want to see what the rest of your existence holds.
Very much the same as a man lost in the wilderness, I became lost in life. I remember when I thought the most important things in the world were a good party and a ten thousand dollar a night hooker. All absolute rubbish and I learned the folly of my lunacy from the most unlikely of sources but one who would leave a colossal footprint on the rest of my life. Somewhere along the way, I allowed a person and lifestyle to rob me of a belief in myself and my dignity, but I was never a victim, never. A victim is someone deceived or cheated by their own ignorance. I wasn’t ignorant. I saw what was occurring. I was simply too lazy and comfortable to do anything about it, at least for a while anyway. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, not by bad people, simply those lost a little more than I.
I write this in the knowledge that I’ve made more mistakes than most.
Part of my time I spent homeless.
Part of my time I spent in London learning the most important lessons in life.
Part of my time I spent in the Middle East chasing fool’s gold.
Part of my time I spent partying my ass off.
I’ve been low sometimes. So low there were days when I thought I’d never rise again. I’ve been high too. Sometimes so high I was positive the euphoria was permanent. Sometimes when I was flying high I was really riding low but my mind was in such a delusional state I couldn’t tell the difference. The high feelings that were real, concrete, so often came right after times were at their worst and I was sure couldn’t get any better. But that’s the beauty of life. Success really is one step after failure. It usually never comes exactly how you want it or when you want it but if you persevere it does come. That’s what makes life worth it, the voyage itself. It’s all a learning process with everyone progressing at a different rate.
The low days make the good times taste so sweet. Instead of relishing only one, I say enjoy them both because they are equally rewarding. How can a person experience true joy without knowing utter defeat? Defeat, pain, sorrow, these are what drive us to be better, to recoup success from failure.
I would even argue that there is no such thing as true failure. Failure is simply a check mark on a list of things that won’t make us better. The sooner you strike one off the page the closer you are to achieving your goals. I have numerous marks on my list but this is the ecstasy and pain of real life and I find enjoyment in both.
So if there’s ever a question why I’m telling this story, it’s for the regular guy. Not all of us are going to be rich and famous. But bear with me a little in the retelling of this time in my life. I used to consider myself a writer until experience taught me I was merely a storyteller. There is a difference and it took some time to figure this out.