“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s rather reflective post is by our word nerd, Colin Ford.

The other day Carel sent out a note to the CN&CO team about the things that have happened in his life in the past five years. It got me thinking about life’s journey and how we end up where we are as a result of – and often despite! – a particular and very specific series of events. How often have you thought, what if xyz had happened instead of abc? Or, why didn’t I turn left instead of right? Well, it didn’t, and you didn’t, and here we are.

We could get all mystical and start discussing the existence (or not) of kismet, predestination, fate… whatever you call it. But the unassailable fact is, what’s done is done. And, yes, here we are.

Five years ago I was in a horrible space. I was in a highly stressful job, I did no exercise, I ate badly. Two people I was very close to died. I had a major (for me) depressive episode where I spent almost two weeks in bed. Looking back I can understand how people can think things like, “Why didn’t you just get up?”, but it doesn’t work like that. There’s no desire to do anything at all. And, quite honestly, you simply don’t care about anything – least of all “getting up”.

Eventually I did get up. Granted, it was on my birthday, which gave me the impetus I needed. But get up I did.

Since then, with a tremendous amount of support and effort, I finished my honours, joined CN&CO, got active, lost weight (and put a little bit back on), travelled on four continents, read probably 100 books, wrote probably hundreds of thousands of words, bought a car, moved house, lost a very special dog (just to clarify: he died; I didn’t misplace him), got a(nother) tattoo, did many, many things for the first time – including waxing my legs, for some bizarre reason, grew a gold moustache, got braces on my teeth, bought a racehorse, lost one of my oldest and closest friends (again, he died – just to be 100% clear) and much, much more. In other words, I grew.

On my next birthday I will turn 50. My hope is that I will continue growing – mentally, spiritually, emotionally, academically – and look back again in five years and see how far I’ve come.

Thanks to everyone who’s been with me on my journey so far. Let’s keep going! Onward and upward…