It’s at times like these that I find myself being taken away into thoughts of different things. Arriving at the bedroom door to find that I have forgotten to make the bed after a day of cleaning the house from top to bottom. One last thing to finish before I can round off the day and prepare for the next. It’s 1.30am and here I am just finishing putting the quilt cover on my bed.

It’s odd that a mundane task can trigger the brain to think of things. To cause it to raise thoughts to the forefront of the mind and question where we are now. How we got here and the plans we set as a child didn’t come into fruition. I’m here. Not back at the brick wall, where I found myself on the 15th January 2008, in my battery style sized apartment in Liverpool city centre, but here thinking, wondering and questioning ‘what next’.

As with all of us. Or most of us, I presume, as children we plan our futures. We make a destiny that we want to achieve by the time we are old. By old, and thinking back to being 7, I am talking about being 21. I had imagined that I would be married, with a house, car, pet and a couple of children. This, now, is not the case. There are elements that are missing from the ‘plan’ I had set myself. Some that years before now have been well and truly ticked off that list and some that, although is most likely the case, won’t ever be ticked off.

Looking back to 2006 the majority were ticked. The house, a partner, two children, car, pet cat and rabbits…. they were all there. For a number of years they were there, but in 2008 they were to go. Through a series of unfortunate events to be lost. To be written to the history books, placed in the mind and locked away as a memory. A turning point. A change. A new chapter. A new life, it might be said.

Without going into detail (this has been done previously, and I am not one for repeating myself time and time again), the majority was lost. Or taken. In fact the only thing left standing was me, two kippan sofas, a rug and my wardrobe of clothes. I was gone. Banished. Removed from a ‘family’ as though I was an ‘extra’ or my time was up. It clearly was, and so on that Friday evening, with friends in tow, I loaded a van and was gone.

I am regularly asked through my work how I remain strong in some of the situations that we deal with, I personally think that our own experiences build a protective shield, or barrier, to help us deal with a variety of situations. I tend to call it my ‘elephant skin’ or my ‘broad shoulders’.

Through life we have experiences, ones that we develop ourselves and ones that are formed not from our own doing, but from those around us. Experiences, both good and bad, that shape us, mold us, and build us to the person we are tomorrow. I am a great believer that we can show empathy to others from the experiences, whether good or bad, we have experienced ourselves that they may also experience, but that we do not have a full understanding of their feelings towards that experience as their previous experiences will alter their thoughts and reactions to it in their own way, just as ours does to the situations we go through.

To me family are important. I do not talk only of the family of blood, but that of friends and work colleagues. Those that are there in our hours of need to help support, guide, hold our hand and offer encouragement. Those that slap us, yell at us and tell us, from time to time, some home truths.

Our lives are our own and are formed not single-handedly, but from the experiences, both good and bad, that we go through. Whether they be alone, with friends and family or total strangers. We all play a part. For the parts that have been played, so far, in my life I want to say thank you. To each and every one that has crossed my path, however that may be, or for however long that may have been for, they all have had an experience on me. I am grateful for the Reasons, Seasons and Lifetimes.

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