I recently watched a video of a news report that came up on my feed. It was of a 93-year-old man who was being supported by each arm as he walked. The reporter stated he had had numerous back operations. Taking small shuffling steps, hunched over and head forward, you could see age had really taken its toll on his body. But there was something very different about this 93-year-old. He was wearing a bright yellow wetsuit and is name was “Banana George”.
Now “Banana George” was determined to do something for one last time, something he was obviously passionate about. He wanted to waterski. He hooked onto the side of the boat and grabbed hold of the rail. The boat took off and…he was barefoot skiing.
The ride only lasted a few seconds, but there was a photo of him on the water, holding onto the rail, with the biggest child like smile on his face. At that moment you knew he was content and fully fulfilled with joy and happiness.
Prior to the ride his wife was asked, “Why don’t you stop him?”. Full of sass, her reply was “I can’t stop him, no one can”. And she was enjoying watching him being the centre of attention and doing what he loved.
At the end of the clip “Banana George said two things. The first (which I loved) was:
“I’m not growing older. I’m growing bolder”.
But the second thing he said really resonated with me.
“I don’t wait for something to happen. I make it happen!”.
What a great motto.
I can now look back at my 25 plus years of struggle with depression. For the first 8 years or so I did go and “make it happen”. I had faced my fears and dealt with my past…to a point. I always knew my childhood issues (which I will reveal in future blogs) were most probably the cause of my depression.
But I was never fully clear of it. Never fully got over it. Never fully understood it. And to be honest with myself, never fully dealt with it. If I had, I wouldn’t have kept falling back into that deep black hole.
Looking back now, I can see I was waiting for something to happen. I was waiting for something to change without doing anything differently. You know the “Definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting the different results”.
Well I was obviously insane. I was expecting something to change at some stage. Maybe maturity was going to kick in and help (at 50). Maybe I just thought one day BANG, everything was going to be ok.
But nothing changed. Yes I had some wonderful times and had great periods of happiness and joy. But always hanging over my shoulder, just behind me was a dark cloud. It never left me. I could feel it. Then it would hit again and the darkness storm would continue on like it had never left.
Then one day a friend (fellow life coach) said this to me.
“You’ve been bumping up against this topic continually but you’re not dealing with it.”
There was a long pause and silence. Then he said two words. He looked me in the eye and in a gentle voice and just said….
Those two words hit me like a like I was blindsided on the footy field. I felt every internal organ shudder. As soon as he said it, I knew. I knew I didn’t want to spend another year feeling like I was. And it wasn’t just about not wanting to feel depressed. I didn’t want to feel scared any more.
And that was what it boiled down to. I was scared. I was petrified to face my past, to face the demons that had haunted me for so many years. I decided then and there to face all the shit I had been scared of dealing with. I told Kim (my wife) I was going to go away for 4 days to do a course which I thought may help deal with my issues. She sent me off without question and with love.
Just like the 93-year-old barefoot water skier “Banana George”, I decided I was going to “Make It Happen”. And facing my demons on that course was the SCARIEST THING I HAD EVER DONE. But the reward on the other side has had the biggest personal gains and growth I have ever had.
I actually began living. I mean really living - emotionally. I was Fully Engaged.
I am no longer afraid of my past. I am not embarrassed. I am not ashamed. I don’t live in fear. I don’t have an emotional attachment to that part of my past that once terrified me.
And for the first time in my life I found love, a different love. It was love for me. It was something I had never truly felt about myself. And THAT was the game changer.
If you are where I was. If you cant see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you keep doing the same thing over and over again and nothing had changed. Then YOU need to “Make It Happen” because….