Professional drummer, teacher and entrepreneur who retired at 30yrs old. Marathon runner, push-up expert, scuba diver, world traveler, mountain climber and at one point, one of the top 10 worlds fastest drummers. Singer, pianist, composer, writer and poet. Son, Brother, Uncle, friend, husband-to-be and “father” to two lovely dogs. Diabetic, chronic pain, ABPA and Cystic Fibrosis sufferer.
I’ve had an extraordinary life thus far.
A bloody tough life, but an amazing one. At ages five, six and seven I climbed the three highest peaks in the UK, Ben Nevis, Mount Snowden and Scafell Pike (respectively). Aged sixteen I left school and home to start living “real life”, having started teaching drums at age fifteen and thinking I didn’t have much life left to cram everything in. I still play the drums to a high professional standard and was, at one stage in my early twenties, one of the top 10 fastest drummers in the world! I have built up my music company over fifteen years from which I was able to retire and now draw a living wage from at the age of thirty.
At aged twenty-four I spent a year volunteering at a local youth centre where, along with other things, I coached football (soccer), basketball and dodgeball as well as generally being a mentor for the young people who attended. In 2012 I ran the London Marathon with just three months of training – I wouldn’t recommend anyone do that by the way! – and raised over £11,000 for charity.
I have travelled the world where I climbed mountains, learned to scuba dive, surf and speak Spanish. I’ve swum in caves, trekked through jungles, rafted white water and shared a cruise across the Atlantic from Spain to Brazil with 120+ digital nomad friends.
I’ve been married, divorced and experienced heart break as well as played the whole on and offline dating game – not my cup of tea I must say! – and, thankfully, now found the woman with whom I’m going to spend the rest of my life. Together we recently spent three weeks motorbiking through Europe – one of my bucket list goals of over ten years – to our holiday home in the South of Spain, where we spend most of our time with our two dogs – another two dreams come true!
In total, I’ve spent around two and a half years of my life in hospital.
Around five years ago – not long after eighteen months straight of being ill – while travelling, I had a near drowning experience in Thailand. While it was scary as fuck it renewed my energy and passion for life – at least for a while.
Then, one night last year (2016), when my illness just got too much for me to handle I decided to take drastic action; by trying to end my own life. It wasn’t really death that I wanted, but the quickest and most effective way out of the torturous situation I was in, had been in before and no doubt would be in again the future. Despite my efforts, it turns out it just wasn’t my time to go. The surgeons patched me up and put me in an induced coma for a while then, once awake, I proceeded to spend the most painful – both mentally and physically – eight months of my life trying to piece things back together. That was hands down the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do and I’ve done a 1000-piece puzzle! 😮
While this time was undoubtedly the toughest and most excruciatingly painful of my life, it was also the most helpful, for it was the catalyst that bought about all the change I’d dreamed of. It forced me to look inside my mind. Forced me to confront fears, feelings and emotions that I’d pushed deep down and helped me to get to the next stage of my existence. While everybody thought, I was already “living the dream” I wasn’t. I was living a nightmare disguised as a dream, trapped in my own body while it failed me and I, in turn, failed it. That process, while horrendous, has taught me more than I can have ever imagined and has fortified my mind and body as a result. While dying isn’t exactly ideal, it’s actually the most effective thing that’s happened to me to date!
Doctors thought I’d die young.
My life – especially the death part – might seem a little extreme, but if I explain that I’ve had a chronic lung condition since birth, Cystic Fibrosis, from which doctors thought I’d die very young, it might be easier to comprehend.
I was told, and therefore always believed, I wouldn’t live very long. My mum was told I probably wouldn’t make it past my fifth birthday. Of course, I did, but when I was a little older I did my own research where I found the average age for my condition was just thirty-two. It was that number that was then set in my mind. I decided I’d retire at thirty and die aged thirty-two. The power of the subconscious is unfathomable because, among many other things I believed I’d be/do, that’s exactly what I did.
My mind gave me absolutely everything – and I mean everything – that I asked for/believed. I’ve experienced first-hand the power it possesses. The power of belief and intention is beyond anything we can currently explain. I know just how fucked up life can seem at times and I know what it’s like to feel like there’s no way out. But I’ve also still had that tiny flame burning inside that believed things can improve if I just keep on trying.
The past year has been a crazy one.
It’s unfolded in ways I could never have imagined – Although, like I say, the irony is it has turned out exactly how I’d imagined it – Even things I’d forgotten about or haven’t thought about for over a decade came to light.
Since last year I’ve managed to improve my health a great deal. I had diabetes for over ten years but have now managed to get it under control with diet, negating the need for medication. I’ve managed to limit the damage done to my lungs and even managed to come off of 75% of the medication I was taking on a daily basis throughout my entire life.
Don’t get me wrong, life still isn’t easy for me. Far from it. Antibiotics and treatments, as well as the condition itself, have taken a heavy toll on my body – and yes, my mind at times too – and I experience a great deal of physical pain through most of my days. But while, daily, I struggle, I still wouldn’t trade my life for anything.
For a good number of years, I thought I didn’t want to be alive anymore because it was just too tough, but upon trying to take my life away I discovered that I was even tougher. I won’t make that mistake again! We’re actually all tougher than we give ourselves credit for and I actually want to help people discover that potential in themselves. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many “once in a lifetime” experiences and yet they keep on coming because of the choices I make and the type of life I choose to lead. I dream big and always do my best to make the most of the gift I’ve been given. I know what a battle life can be at times so I’m also very much a realist, just an optimistic one! 😉
I’m now approaching my thirty-third birthday.
A birthday I never, until recently, thought I’d reach – with a whole world of possibilities ahead of me! And while I spend a great deal of time too exhausted to get up off the couch some days, I make damn good use of the hours I’m able to be up and about. Though it’s not all about “achieving things” or “doing cool stuff”. I also know that life is experienced in the mind and if that is a nice place to be it doesn’t really matter what else goes on.
We may all come together in an external world but OUR lives are experienced through our thoughts, feelings and emotions, which all are internal. Therefore, it’s the inner game of life that really matters. If we learn to gain control of our minds, whatever goes on in our bodies doesn’t have to have such a big effect.
It’s a sad fact that so many of us – illness or no – are uncomfortable simply being ourselves, doing the things that matter to us and leading the life we really want to lead. So many of us suffer from feeling inadequate, have low self-esteem, poor self-image and the feeling that every other person on this earth but us has their shit together. But nobody is perfect, nobody has all their shit together and nobody has zero insecurities. Life just doesn’t work that way! While some seem less fearful and more confident and capable than others it doesn’t mean they’re better people and will have better and more meaningful lives. Only we can define what is better and what is meaningful to us because it’s subjective. What means more to one might mean less to another and so on an so forth. So, while I’m in pain, while I struggle and while I still often cry out of frustration, I really do love the hand I’ve been dealt. Because it’s not the hand, but the fact that I’m still in the game that matters.