The 22nd year of my life (that’s the time I spent being 21 for those of you scratching your heads thinking I was turning 22 today) has certainly been one of my favourites. While some question marks in my life have grown in size, the sheer number of these annoying quandaries that were hanging around this time last year has taken a sizable hit. Win.
Highlights from the year gone? Too many to list. Though the opportunity to speak at events across South East Queensland for beyondblue have given me an array of memories that I’ll cherish forever; they are among the fondest my life has brought forth thus far.
Of course one of the bigger adventures I took part in this last year was my journey to the UK to make my racing car debut. That was awesome! As has often been the case in my life, I once again willingly threw myself in the deep end. I’d say I was prepared for what the trip had in store for me when I boarded my flight at Brisbane International Airport in August, but that would be a lie – a BIG one!
I was asked by a sponsor of mine when I got back, Trent from BOQ Capalaba, what the one lesson was above all others that I learnt from the trip. It was tough to narrow it down to just one. It felt like every twenty-seconds I was learning something new about myself and being forced to adapt to a new challenge. After much thought however, I did manage to pin it down to just one:
When I really commit to something, not stopping to consider the doubts that inevitably arise, there is no limit to what I can achieve.
Almost a year before setting off on this particular adventure, I decided it was going to happen. At this point I was broke – financially and emotionally – jobless, returning from a short period of homelessness and tremendously unsure of how I would be able to return to my feet. I did however have faith, though tested at times, and a lot of great people to help and support me; many who often believed in me far more than I believed in myself. Love was what gave me the strength to endure.
After publishing my Love Never Fails blog a few days ago a reader replied by asking, ‘How do we love the crazed psychopath?’ responsible for the horror we’ve witnessed in Sydney this past week. Good question I thought. How can we love someone who the whole world is telling us we should hate? A man who willingly inflicted so much terror on innocent lives leaving two families and a nation devastated at its loss?
It’s been interesting seeing and hearing different opinions on the matter in the siege’s aftermath. Inevitably, there is a lot of finger pointing. A lot of blame. How could we allow this to happen? Whose fault was it?
Before we knuckle down to identify the true cause, the real person/people/policy to blame, let me ask you a question. How many people every year do you think take their own lives? 50,000? 100,000? 500,000? Sat in my car last night discussing this statistic with a friend, it took at least a minute for them to inflate their original guess to reflect the devastating reality. This process was horrifying for us both.
In 2012, 803,900 lives were lost to suicide globally. (Source: World Health Organisation.)
That’s one suicide every 40 seconds. In the time it took you to read this blog five people died by suicide. Between now and this time tomorrow, over 2,200 people will have taken their own lives. To put this in perspective, more people have died by suicide since I was born 22 years ago then were killed in the whole of the first world war.
Heartbreak there is for us all in events such as the Sydney Siege and the Peshawar school massacre in Pakistan. Hard it is, near impossible it seems, to love those responsible. But we as humanity must all share responsibility for the culture in which we fuel, through action or inaction, that claims the lives of many more.
We must pause to think of the people who are feeling so hopeless and so unloved, brought down by whatever it is that is weighing on their shoulders, that has brought them to the point in which they are ready to take their own lives.
If we want to talk about blame, instead of pointing fingers, we must first look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘How can I love better?’
I believe the time has now come for us all to lead by example. No longer is anything ‘someone else’s problem’. Instead we must all work together as one to create a world for which our future generations will remember us and thank us. This culture of love that will drive out such evil acts from this world begins with a decision we can all make now. This isn’t some New Year’s resolution crap.
As I enter my 23rd year of existence, this is my birthday pledge – to love better. While I am proud of the achievements of my 22nd year, I shall no longer live for selfish pursuit but rather for the betterment of all those around me. Ultimately this journey of mine is one that I hope you will join.
United, we are an unconquerable force.
Greatness Via Passion.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Some of you reading this will know these words not to be my own though truer words you will not find.
In the aftermath of the tragedy at Martin Place in Sydney yesterday, my eyes now turn toward the future. What have we learnt? How can we prevent such horror from reappearing?
I find peace in the knowledge that we are now standing united with our fellow Australians and those in the Muslim community. We are bringing down the walls of religious segregation that has for too long divided us. We have realised the immediate need to support our fellow humans. To love without question or pause.
My hope now is that we do not allow ourselves to forget these lessons we have once again been forced to learn the hard way. Events such as these always serve as a great reminder but I fear after the media frenzy dies down and the #illridewithyou viral sensation fades, that we will allow ourselves to wander free from one another once more.
We must instead realise the need to remain united now and forever. All of us. No matter our differences.
Can we stop every crazed psychopath from instigating such tragedy? No. But if we all look at ourselves in the mirror today and vow to lead a life that places love at its center, living our lives as an example to others for how want to see lives lived, then fifty years from now we can look back and be proud of the world we’ve created for our grand children to enjoy. Love never fails.
Share this if you agree.
Greatness Via Passion.
A few days ago I happened to stumble across a YouTube video I posted a little over a year ago. Its title doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination… ‘Acne Is A Bitch’. Yes, that it is.
It’s funny watching it back after all this time. One because I’m hilarious. But two because a lot of what I spoke about I still feel to be so relevant to both me and many others who I know are out there struggling with their self-image and self esteem as I did for so many years – and still do from time to time. So I thought I’d re-share it with you all.
The video also led me to re-watch many of the other videos I’ve posted. And to read through the hundreds of comments that have been left on each. This, combined with a word of encouragement and inspiration from a friend, has led me to realise I should probably get my act together and start posting some more… So, that I shall!
I have a few ideas for where I’ll start though I’d love to hear some ideas from you guys as to what you’d like to see me talk about. It can be anything! Maybe you just want to see me do something silly…? [I won’t give you any ideas!] So post your ideas in the comments below and I’ll get to work asap on putting some videos together over the next few weeks.
But without further ado, here it is, ‘Acne Is A Bitch’ (Don’t forget to subscribe afterwards):
Greatness Via Passion
The greatest gift we can ever receive in our lives is life itself.
We defied the odds. We are lucky. So lucky.
Grateful I am for this opportunity. To waste I will not let it go.
I am victorious, from the moment I was born.
My life was not formed out of chance. Ludicrous it is to think that my beliefs, ideas, dreams and ambitions arose simply from luck. Too powerful they are.
I am but one, though called, as we all are, to a purpose I do not yet fully understand. Though true it is. As true as the knowledge we all share that no matter how hopeless things may seem, the sun will rise again and a new day will dawn.
Hope is life’s one constant. We are blessed. I am grateful. Through suffering I will grow. With strength, not my own, I will endure.
Now, with our purposes combined, we will thrive, and this is how our generation shall be defined.
Greatness Via Passion.