It was 4 am. The deafening electro-music blasting out of the sound system was vibrating the bones in my body as I searched desperately for my friends in the club. Who was I kidding? I was borderline unconscious. I’d spent most of the night slowly increasing my dosage of a dangerous cocktail of drugs, including GHB, ketamine and alcohol. “Fuck it,” I thought to myself. “I’m just going to head home.”
I decided to walk, or in my case stumble, home, for no other reason than to save a £7 taxi fare. I would have to pass through some pretty dangerous areas of town, but it never crossed my mind to worry about that, so I started off into the darkness.
As I passed through the worst, most notoriously dangerous part of town, I noticed three men on the other side of the road. They crossed over to my side and advanced menacingly in my direction. At this point, I realized that I was about to get mugged. I quickly slipped my phone down my trousers, just in case I got injured and had to call an ambulance, and made a run for it.
I felt like I was running for my life. The tarmac was wet and I was sprinting at full speed. Suddenly, I lost my footing and came crashing down like a ton of bricks, in a great imitation of a professional footballer faking an epic dive.
What happened next changed my life forever. I had almost knocked myself unconscious when I fell, and because I was so intoxicated, I hardly had any idea what was going on. All I remember was seeing three men towering over me. I threw them my wallet, hoping they would leave me alone.
I don’t remember the actual moment I got stabbed. Our brains do a great job of editing out the intensely traumatic experiences in our lives. I guess that is what happened here. I tried to stand up. I felt dizzy and weak. I looked down at my left arm and saw my cream cardigan starting to turn red. That’s when I realized what had just happened. I knew I had to act fast. I could feel the life draining from my body. I collapsed on the ground. When I looked around, I saw my phone on the ground, just a few meters away. It was a miracle!
I was losing consciousness fast. My vision was blurry and it took what seemed like a lifetime to unlock my phone and call an ambulance. Just one major problem: I had no idea where I was. A wave of dread swept through my body as I considered the possibility that the ambulance wouldn’t be able to find me and I would bleed to death on the road.
Luckily, a taxi driver chose the same street to cut through that part of town. He slammed on his brakes, skidding to a stop right in front of me. He jumped out of his cab to investigate what he thought was a pile of clothes in front of his car. He quickly took my phone from my fumbling fingers and informed the ambulance staff of my precise location. If it wasn’t for this man, I wouldn’t be alive today.
When I regained consciousness, I was lying lifeless in a hospital bed, surrounded by my family. I had no idea what had happened, but I could tell from the looks on their faces that it was serious. I later found out that I had been stabbed three times: in my left leg, in my abdomen and through the main artery in my left arm. I had lost two-thirds of the blood in my body and was, quite literally, just minutes away from death.
The road to recovery was painful and frustrating. I was hooked up to a morphine drip for 10 days. I spent a full 30 days in the hospital. Once I had recovered enough to walk again, the real boredom set in. Even when I could go home, I was still attached to a machine to help repair my wounds, a treatment that would last a further three months.
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
If you’re thinking that I had set myself up for something bad to happen, I don’t blame you. I am well aware of the poor decisions I had made leading up to the events of that fateful night. But even so, this doesn’t excuse the inhumane actions of these three men, who were never arrested for their crimes.
In hindsight, I now understand why I got stabbed. I’m actually grateful for the experience because, without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I believe we are the creators of our lives, and that includes both the good and the bad. The intensely traumatic experiences we all inevitably go through in our lives are simply there to wake us up and teach us important lessons.
Here are the three life-changing lessons I took away from surviving this stabbing.
1 – Time is Precious. Stop Wasting It.
This whole crazy experience happened when I was 19. At the time, I was studying meteorology at The University of Leeds, which was my second attempt to get a degree. I had dropped out of my first degree program at Brunel University the year before.
If you had asked me why I was studying meteorology, my answer would have been that I was vaguely interested in finding out how lightning works. Not exactly a great reason for spending tens of thousands of pounds, not to mention three years of my life, studying the full spectrum of courses required to obtain a meteorology degree. A quick trip the library would have satisfied my curiosity about lightning.
In reality, I was at university for the second time because I thought I had to get a degree in order to prove myself to my parents and society. After all, you need a degree to get a good job, right? When you don’t know what you want to do with your life, jumping into a costly, time-consuming course of study at university, based entirely on a slight curiosity, is the last thing you want to be doing.
This was a big wake up call for me as I was laying there recovering in my hospital bed. It prompted me to really look at the things I was doing in my life and ask myself “Why?” Sometimes, the answer to that question will be one that you do not want to accept. It is easier to continue living a life that is not the best expression of who you really are. It takes some serious balls to say, “No, I’m not going to do this any longer,” and change the course of your life. When you look back on that decision in a few years, you’ll be so grateful you faced your discomfort and fear in the moment, making the change to go do something you actually enjoy.
Time is indeed precious. Stop putting off that big decision until tomorrow. Do it today. You never know when some fucked-up shit is going to happen in your life, and when your time on this earth is going to end.
2 – Stop Abusing Your Mind and Body
As you might have gathered, I was a pretty reckless teen. I thought I was impervious to the effects of the cocktail of drugs I chose to indulge in. When I finally regained consciousness in the hospital, and the truth of the situation had finally sunk in, I started to question myself and all of my decisions leading up that point.
At the time, I was still pretty naive. I didn’t make the connection between my near-death experience and the abuse I was putting my mind and body through. It’s only when I look back now that I realize that the universe, god, consciousness, whatever you want to call it, was trying to warn me. If I continued down the path I was on, it wasn’t going to end well. Getting stabbed was the shock I needed to wake up and change my life.
This is why keeping a journal is now so important to me. I can review my day and observe where I might be inflicting unnecessary abuse on my mind and body, or perhaps how I’m tolerating that kind of abuse from others. By abuse, I don’t mean extreme violence. Abuse can manifest subtly, like that friend in your life who constantly projects all their worries onto you and gossips about everyone at work behind their back. These kinds of people are energy vampires and if you tolerate their bullshit, it will, without question, affect your energy.
3 – Always Make Time for Your Family
Sometimes, it can be easy to take your family for granted. It should never take a serious incident for you to realize how important they are in your life. I was so grateful to have my family watching over me around the clock when I was recovering from my attack. I can’t even begin to imagine what they must have been going through as they watched me laying there, lifeless, in intensive care.
During my teens, I had developed some resentment toward my parents. Like most teens my age, I wanted to rebel against their rules which limited my freedom. They were the only obstacle standing in my way and I didn’t like it.
Now I realize they were only doing their best with the knowledge and experience they had at the time. I feel even closer to everyone in my family now, as we have all matured and set off on our own unique journeys through life. It’s now more important than ever for me to make sure I carve time out of my crazy travel schedule to catch up with family. They are the ones who are always there for you and you should never forget that or take them for granted.
You Will Never Know When Your Time Is Up
The real message in this post is simple. Death is inevitable and you never know when your time is up. If you find yourself living an unhappy life, you have the power to change things today. Forget about tomorrow, all you have is the present moment, right here, right now.
Stop wasting time on the things or people that do not make you happy or fulfilled. Life is too damned short. Take some risks, get outside your comfort zone and do those scary things that give you butterflies in your stomach. Don’t let fear hold you back. No one wants to reflect on their life and regret the things they were too scared to do.
It’s time to wake up and live a more conscious and intentional life, one that fills you with love, joy and happiness, so you can spend more time with your amazing friends and family.