I try not to talk about me.
I endeavour to help you find growth and opportunity in the decisions you make. I look for insights from others to help me guide the lessons I share.
But, today I want to share an important lesson I’ve learnt from 2023 that you might find helpful.
It is about loss.
In 2023, we said goodbye to my Nan, my Mum, and two adorable cats.
My Nan — my wife’s, but I think of her as mine — was 91 when she passed. She had eight children, more grandchildren than I can count, and quite a few great-grandchildren. What a life. Her family descendants paint quite the family tree!
Financially, things were very difficult for my nan, but she gave her kids everything. Stubborn and strong, but full of love, we will all miss her.
My Mum's passing came a month after a successful brain tumour operation. Sepsis intervened, and for two more weeks, we watched and waited for the end to come. It was horrible for her, and tough for us too. I still can’t get my head around the fact she’s gone.
A car struck Nacho, we think. He found a quiet field across the road from our home and died in a spot surrounded by leafy pines. It was the day before his second birthday.
Although he was a cat, he was our baby.
We all adored him, and his death hit us all so hard. Even now, six months on it still hurts so much. I talked at the time about how we underestimate the role of entropy in our lives. Nacho’s death is a stark reminder of how severe it can be.
Alice was a rescue cat.
We found her after Nacho had passed at a rescue centre. She had lived at the centre for two years, recovering from a time spent living rough as a stray. She was old, with most estimating her age to be 17.
We couldn’t leave her at the centre.
Her emerald-coloured eyes shone with love. She deserved some family love — so we brought her into our home. She had a delightful six months, sleeping in the sun and chasing flies around the garden. Sadly, a growth above her eye and possible kidney failure brought her life to an end.
She died yesterday.
Every decision you make should foster one goal.
To maximise life.
We all get caught up in the details of living, that sometimes we forget what’s important. And then it’s too late. The passing of loved ones shouldn’t be a reminder to see the opportunity of living. Nacho — and my mum’s passing was a brutal wakeup to the importance of living for today.
I like to think that’s the lesson we took forward with Alice.
We had an opportunity to let her see the happiness life has to offer. We knew the pain we would feel at her passing. But, we also knew her joy from roaming our garden and having a warm home to sleep in every night would give us more joy than the sorrow of her eventual passing.
From Nan, I took this…
Life is for living. It is for winning — and this is extremely important — by helping others win. Nan didn’t have much, but she had her love for her children which spread beyond them. She helped her kids win.
So, as you pause and reflect this Christmas, don’t get bogged down in gloom at what has been or might have been. Look forward with vigour and exploit the opportunity life gives you.
Don’t be afraid to make decisions that help others win. It is where the good stuff lives.