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What have you survived?

When I first saw this Hemingway quote I couldn’t help feeling it made him sound a bit arrogant and smug. However, it also happens to be the truth. He did take part in and survive three wars; WW1, WW2 and the Spanish Civil War. He did get married four times (Hadley, Pauline, Martha and Mary) and he did write the great American novel. Five times? He wrote so many novels and stories it’s not easy to know which five he meant. My guess would be:

  1. The Sun Also Rises

  2. Farewell to Arms

  3. For Whom the Bell Tolls

  4. Old Man and the Sea

  5. Death in the Afternoon

But then it could be; Across the River and into the Trees, To Have and Have Not, The Green Hills of Africa, A Moveable Feast or The Garden of Eden? Yes, he really can claim to have written it five times. I’d love to know which five he was thinking of.

What my truth would look like if I tried to sum it up like Hemingway? What have I survived and achieved?

I’ve survived five head injuries, been held at gunpoint twice, been in love eleven times, travelled to sixty countries, lived in six, had more than twenty different jobs, been strangled once, attacked by thugs once, married once, miscarried twice, mothered two children, been widowed once, and lived to tell the tales.

I have led the life I set out to lead and in the process conquered my biggest fear of all. A fear which has been buried so deep that I didn’t even realise it was the force that drove me. The force of fear. Fear of getting stuck in a life I hadn’t chosen. The idea of simply treading a well worn path of socially agreed expectations fills me with dread and repulsion.

It hasn't all been smooth sailing, I’ve certainly had my fair share of heartache and pain. But I’ve also had the most incredible highs, finding love many times over, in all its different guises. Love of people, love of mountains, love of writing, love of art, love of sport…. I’m not finished yet. In fact, I’m just beginning. Beginning the rest of my unscripted life.

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