I have had Bad Life Experiences… and it’s because of my job.
I am lucky enough not to have lost any close friends or family apart from elderly grandparents, which is obviously rubbish, but par for the course. My point is, based on this alone, I could easily think me and mine are immortal.
But, having met 1000s of clients over the years, I’ve had insight into 1000s of lives. I’ve seen marriages, fall outs, make ups and break ups, divorces, illnesses and of course the most feared of all, deaths. Particularly when it’s premature.
So although I don’t have many personal painful life experiences (yet) and I cannot even try to pretend that I know how it feels for anyone to go through some of these awful things, or worse, someone important to them to go through it, it does constantly remind me to live life to the full. To make all of my good experiences in life, as good as I can possibly make them.
I am not waiting around for a dreadful phone call or WhatsApp message from a friend or family member to deliver news that is going to kick-start me into taking life by the horns and living for the moment; I try and do that already. Every single day. Because with each client I meet, when they tell me their story, each story is a new lesson of what not to do and what to do.
The common theme in those stories is that you only ever regret something when it’s too late and you only truly miss someone when they aren’t there anymore. Sounds cliché but why is it always so? I feel like I owe it to all my clients who have shared amazing stories with me, to truly feel their Bad Life Experiences, to learn from them and make sure that when the dreaded day of bad news comes my way, I can handle the pain and guilt much better than they were able to.
Death is a certainty for us all. Living isn’t. Jo, myself and all the clients at Eelah, don’t let this one slip us by.
The greatest insight into humans and our fears and rationales to death, comes from the book by Mark Manson, entitled “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. Specifically the last chapter. I won’t pretend to have any such wisdom in me as does the content of this chapter but I would recommend that you go read it and go live.
Alfie Mullan, November 2018