A funny thing happens when people share stories of the not-so-happy moments of their lives: You walk away thinking they’ve experienced nothing but tragedy. In reality, there are plenty of uneventful pages in between the drama.
One time I was asked to tell my story at a 12-Step meeting. Under the format, you tell your story for about 15 minutes. The first five cover the speaker’s ugly path to addiction, the second five focuses on the point we hit bottom and entered the program, and the final five are about how our lives are today in recovery.
At the end of the meeting, someone expressed shock over all the troubles I’ve been through. “It’s just been one tragedy after another,” the person said.
I had to laugh. I’ve experienced my share of adversity, but a tragic life? Not even close.
It’s easy to feel punched in the face by the gravity of the experiences I shared because it’s all concentrated into one intense place, whether it’s reading all the back entries in this blog in one sitting or hearing me talk about it for five minutes of a 15-minute talk. Inevitably, it’s going to come off to the observer as a horror movie.
In truth, while I have been through the meat grinder, there have been many years of peace, joy happiness in between all the bad. All these events are stretched out over the 42-plus years I’ve been around. If you were to sit and watch even a three-hour replay of events, you’d find it a lot more boring.
To understand this, think about your own life. You’ve no doubt experienced sickness and death, family dysfunction and career ups and downs.
If you haven’t, you will.
In between the rough patches, I fell in love with and married the best gal on Earth, had two precious children who keep me laughing and loving, I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in my career, traveled to a lot of cool places and found God.
Would I want to go through the bad stuff again? Of course not. But the weird truth is that I’m not sure I’d change the past, either. It’s easy for someone to wish they had a lost loved one back in their life and that they were less touched by illness.
But without having gone through these things, would I be where I’m at today? I really don’t see how.
So when you read about some of the tougher things in this blog, don’t worry about me and don’t feel bad. I’m no different from most people in what I’ve been through, and it’s all good.