As I write, this is the view that I have from our new apartment in Greenwich, London. But, recent events could have dissuaded us from moving here. It is my birthday, but before I begin to celebrate, I wanted a moment to reflect.
It is one week since the tragic ISIS attack on Paris, only weeks since the bombing of a Russian commercial airliner, and the bombing in Beirut. People have lost loved ones, people have incurred life-changing injuries, or seen sights that will stay with them forever.
Sadly, this is all part of life. There are the good times, where everything is rosey, and full of life. And there are the bad times, where darkness draws in, and we have to fight through horrors, and the loss of people and times that are important to us.
If we allow these bad times to cast a shadow over the rest of our lives, we will be doing ourselves a disservice. As an individual, we need to remember that we have the rest of our lives ahead of us.
Period of Mourning
When we lose people that are dear to us, it is right for us to mourn them. It is only natural. And mourning is a strange time, because it is a process that keeps on taking its toll on you.
The stages are roughly:
- Loss / Sadness
But the most important step that seems impossible to reach whilst you are in the other stages of mourning is:
You might go through every stage, you might go through only a few of the stages. The speed at which you move through the stages is also entirely dependent on the individual.
It is easy to become lost, to be swallowed by grief. It is a process that is completely internal, and no external force can truly influence it. It is up to you as individual to reach that final step.
When you’re ready – and this might be something you have to consciously decide to do – it is time to package up that memory of mourning, of loss, the acceptance that you will never get back what you have lost. You have to decide that it is time to stop looking backward, and that is is time to start looking forward.
There is nothing wrong with living your life following a tragic event. Yes, it is right to grieve, to come to terms with what has happened, but it is also just as important, just as right, to live your own life.
Even if the events have not directly affected you, you can feel an impact on your own life. For me, the attacks on Paris were an attack on the kind of City Life that me and my wife were looking for from our move to London. I felt anger, I felt sadness, and I knew that it could easily be us. But, I realised that a life lived in fear of what could happen, is no real life.
We decided to look forwards. We decided to live life how we want to live.
I have this belief that life is a wheel. It is like a gameshow wheel, with sections labelled Good Times and Bad Times.
As the wheel turns, the giant arrow can point to the Good Times. Things in your life will be great, your stress will be low, and you will allow yourself to grow. But, at times in your life, the wheel will turn and the arrow will point to Bad Times, and we know how that will feel.
But, what is most important to remember, especially when we have landed on Bad Times, is that the wheel will keep on turning.
When I’m in the midst of depression, stress, anger, or loss, I remember that life is a wheel and the Good Times will come around again. This thought has gotten me through many a dark time. And, in the end, I have been right, life did progress its way out of those darker periods.
Allow yourself to look forwards, to close the dark chapters in your life, and remember that life is a wheel.