Being grateful when life knocks you down.

I like to have a plan for everything I do.

The problem with having plans is every now-and-then life throws a spanner in the works, and there's nothing you can do but watch as all your plans fall apart in front of your eyes. You can fight it, complain about it, cry about it, wish it wasn't so, or—worst of all— dwell on it and think about the million things you could’ve done to stop it from happening. But, inevitably, it still all falls apart.


The only thing you can do is move past it. Deal with it in whatever way you need to, but move on all the same.


It feels like this year so far has kicked my arse. I was dumped by an incredible woman twice (same woman). Spent two months in and out of the hospital. Lost a kidney (and lost out on two months of pay). Plans for moving house fell through. And, although I’m feeling much better than I was, now face the long road of recuperation from surgery and getting my strength and health back up to 100%.

But, that said, I’m determined to look at the positives. Now more than ever my focus is on being grateful for everything that's happened to me so far, and hopeful that the future can only get brighter.

I’m incredibly grateful for the relationship I had. Even more so that I was lucky enough to have a second chance after we broke up the first time. She was a wonderful influence on my life. She encouraged me to get out of my shell, take better care of myself, and think more clearly about the future and what I wanted from life. Mentally she also really helped during my time in the hospital. Although we were apart, knowing I’d be seeing her when I got out kept me positive at a time when I was otherwise feeling pretty low. Even though I’m not happy about it being over, I was happier than ever while we were together, and those are the memories I’m going to cherish.

I’m also grateful for spending two months in and out of the hospital. Frankly, the infection I had was incredibly severe and, although it cost me a kidney, it also only cost me a kidney. Had I not been treated when I was, there's a chance I’d not be writing this now. The medical staff who looked after me were awesome, and I’m now on the other side ready to get on with living my life. 

During my downtime, my work was supportive of everything that was happening. It was difficult for them to lose a team member for two months, all my projects and responsibilities had to be redistributed across the rest of the team, with no set date as to when I would return. Then, when I did return, they were (and still are) accommodating to the fact that I'm still recovering physically from surgery. I’ve worked for companies in the past that wouldn’t have been so understanding, and I’m grateful that I don’t have that problem now.

The house plans falling through is a tricky one to be grateful for, as I’m now missing out on something that I hadn’t actually experienced, only imagined. But, the time I spent thinking about where I would be living (with the now ex-girlfriend) allowed me to look at what I wanted from that future life and how I was going to achieve it. Those aspirations are still with me, and I can always make them work in new and different ways. The Rock posted an excellent video on his Instagram where he talks about missing out on what he thought he wanted more than anything, and that lost opportunity led him to be one of the most successful actors and celebrities of our time. Just because something didn’t work out, doesn’t mean it was ever meant to in the first place. 

And now, recovering from surgery and getting my body back to full health is an opportunity for me to work towards being fitter than ever. Because I now have to have a goal in that area—I couldn’t stay as skinny as I was when I got out. And I also can’t just eat ice cream all day (much as I wanted to)—it gives me the opportunity to set high goals and really work towards my fitness and health.

It would honestly be a lot easier just to be pissed off about all these events. See them as negative and wallow in self-pity, give in to the ice cream gods, get fat, and then feel even more sorry for myself. But where’s the win in that?

No, better to focus on the positives and use them to build a brighter future with even more positives in it. I’m not happy about any of these things not working out, given the choice I’d much rather still have two kidneys, still be in a relationship with the woman I love and about to live together and build a future. But that isn’t whats in my future anymore, so now I’m working on building a new future, one with less rigid plans in it, and am eagerly anticipating all the things that life may throw my way.


While I'm talking about gratitude, I’d also like to make a point of saying how grateful I am for all my friends and family who supported me through this year. It means the world to me, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Literally.

Tom ShermanComment