Life Is Never Lost
December 25th, 2009 I woke up in the tiniest room of the tiniest house I had ever lived in. The house built from handcrafted red clay brick was around 200 plus years old. Many a person had travelled through each room before I had arrived. Before me, I imagined the previous occupiers were workers after all this house is the house of a farm worker. The farm had gone now but the worker’s houses remained.
I woke up around 11 am. I was downstairs on an old blue rollout mattress I had thrown on the floor. It’s all I had at the time. It was cold and the room was empty of furniture.
The first thing I did was look at my phone to see if anyone had sent me a message to wish me Merry Christmas. There were none, not a single message. I lay there and cried. It felt alone. I felt lost. It felt devastating, to say the least.
At many levels, I had become a victim of my own madness. Driven by who knows what but madness all the same.
My five bedroomed detached farm that I had built myself was now taken by bailiffs due to divorce and actions outside and within my control. My car had been also taken by the same men. My work had almost dried up to the smallest drop. I was single. My family and all but rejected me. Finally, I climbed off the floor and decided to walk outside. I walked 3-hours one-way and 3-hours back home. The six-hour walk brought me home to a dark house with no one to greet me.
There were still no messages, no missed calls.
I had three large slices of wholegrain bread with cheese on for my dinner and eventually went to sleep.
Life Is Never Lost
The years before this point had been a mess of epic proportions for me. For the first 45-years of my life, I had experienced calm, peace, a wonderful family, three homes I had built and more success and cash than I could need.
In a moment everything had gone.
In a moment of sheer madness, everything was lost. Chaos was to rule my life for the next couple of years. I slept from sofa to sofa, from chair to chair, from friends to friends and disorder was to become my new order. Separation, divorce, bankruptcy and hopelessness were to become my new normal.
One very cold, very dark evening in November 2009 everything was to change in a moment.
At this time I had moved into my elderly parent’s small box room. To try and grab some time for myself I would walk outside late on and sit in the old graveyard just around the corner. On this particular night, I did
the same and repeated the same routine I had gotten into.
At around 2 am that night whilst I was sitting in the graveyard something happened to me that was to change everything. Suddenly nothing was lost and everything was to be gained. The pain could be overcome and the self-pity could be replaced by new thoughts that would carefully layer over the old thoughts of hopelessness.
That was the moment I realised my kids still wanted their father, I could use my decades of life experience to build a new life and I could get myself out of the mess and chaos of homelessness as fast as I wanted that to happen.
The start of that new life took place in that graveyard but the realisation of that new life took place in the tears of silence and being alone on Christmas morning of 2009.
Today I live a new life with my wife Tamuna. Life is wonderful yet nothing like my life of old. It is very different yet very human. I don’t think I have ever felt happier.
During my chaos, I thought my life was lost. I believed no one would want a man with four kids. I felt old, I felt tired, I felt battle weary and I honestly had the feeling that life had run its course.
It hadn’t. My reality was a new life was just about to start and start it did.
Life Is Never Lost
I just wanted to share this with you, I hope you don’t mind. I wanted you to know that life is never lost. I wanted you to feel that despite what you might be going through or where you are right now you can come through the other side.
Money, relationships, faiths or whatever you are experiencing right now can be overcome.
Here is my best piece of advice from my heart if you are feeling stuck or lost.
The solutions – your solution is and will be found in your silence. This means unplug, read nothing, speak to no one, go for a walk, find some mind time and refocus. Ask yourself the WHY questions and then ask yourself the HOW questions.
WHY are you in this place and HOW can you get out of this place? Look intently at yourself NEVER others. I believe whatever we have in life we personally created. I created my own chaos but I created the way out of my own chaos.
It is always about you not what someone has done to you. You have no control over what they did. You cannot change yesterday or even minutes ago. Yet once you realise you can shape your future your life will change.
So if you are waking up alone, lost and sad on Christmas day it’s fine. This is the start of new habits, new ways, new thoughts, new space, new opportunity and a new way for you to reshape, rebuild and craft the life that you never had before.
Please accept this.
Have a wonderful Christmas and the most wonderful year beyond.
I wish you every peace and happiness.
Alan Forrest Smith
THE BOOK: ESCAPE FROM ZOOMANITY
This book details life as messages and lessons to be learnt from. I wrote this book at the close of my chaos period to try and make sense of why life is the way life is and what can be done to refocus and repair a damaged life.
THE BOOK: DELIBERATE RECREATION
I wanted to give thought to the actual process of recovery of a life that felt lost. Deliberate Recreation is a book I wrote that details every process I went through internally and externally to recover and build a new life. Packed with stories and experiences and easy ways you can get your life back on track.
THE BOOK: HAPPINESS
This book was written to try and detail what happiness is and how happiness can be found. It identifies the reasons and routes from unhappy to becoming happy. Again filled with stories but written in a simple and reasoned way that again records how I went from unhappy to happy.