Looking back on my life, I wouldnít change a thing; it has been a wonderful journey and I have been incredibly fortunate. I have travelled to many great places around the world, had some very memorable experiences, and enjoyed the company of many lovely people. It feels as though I sat down before I was born and planned out what my life was to be, both good and bad, in order to have the experiences I needed to have and the lessons I needed to learn. I have come to accept events without questioning them as there always seems to be a reason. An example of this was when I tried to sell my offices and couldnít, yet over the years it provided me with an income and later it provided me with a home just when I needed it. Having been through the hard times, I am aware of the positive things that have come from the negative and how much the negative has positively influenced the person that I am today. Consequently, I always look for what I can get out of any situation that I find myself in; but then I donít see anything as a problem, but as a challenge to be overcome or a situation that needs to be changed.
Dave and I sometimes talk about the day Val asked me to leave and how I could have sunk into depression, taken to drink, lost my job, and ended up sleeping on the street. Instead, I was to rise above it rather than sink into the depths. Certainly, I was fortunate in that I had somewhere to move to. I also had something to occupy my time, and equally as important my mind and to give me something to focus on.
Having something to do is always important in such situations, as it was when I had to move down to London and work all the hours I could. I would go to concerts, shows and visit places rather than sit in my room and feel sorry for myself. Or the time in the Marines that I spent in the Navel Detention Quarters; I made the most of my situation. I looked for the positive side and took life as a challenge. I always looked to see what I could gain from the situation or experience. There is always a positive side, something to be gained, be that in the near or the distant future.
During my life, I have experienced several lows but having seen the misfortune that others have had to endure, especially in places like Aden, East Pakistan, and India, I have nothing to complain about. The lows have made me appreciate the highs and I realise I wouldnít have wanted to miss the bad times, as hard as they were. Without them, I wouldnít be able to fully appreciate all the good times I have experienced.
The other thing worth remembering is that itís not where you start in life, or where you finish, it's the journey that you take. It's about what you see and what you do along the way. It's being able to live each day and to get something from each and every experience that life brings you. Itís being content with what you have, not bemoaning what you havenít. That is what living is about.
As for the future, who knows? I will play my cards as they are dealt to me. That doesnít mean I wonít strive for what I want. I have learnt to accept who and what I am, but to strive for what I want to be. I will change what I canít accept but accept what I canít change. If I can do that, then I will be content. It is contentment that we should be striving for, and something that I am fortunate enough to have attained.
Images of me through the ages