As I was commuting by train on Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014, I picked up Metro Newspaper and as I was reading the paper I stumbled into a story about Fisherman Jose Salvador Albarengo, 37, originally from El Salvador, who had set sail on a shark fishing trip in his fibreglass boat in December 2012 from Mexico, 10,000km away, but was blown out to sea.
What was supposed to be a one-day fishing expedition if the fisherman wasn’t blown off course by the northern winds, ended up causing him to be 13 months adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
As I read this story, I was struck by the similarity it bears with human quest to live a life that they are proud of and in the process conquer their fears and attain significance.
But more often than not, even for the most sensible set of us who plan every detail of their life, we all every now and again find ourselves seriously drifting away from the life we’ve planned and wanted for ourselves and family. Sometimes life deals us tough blows that shaken even the very foundation we stand upon and we find ourselves questioning the truths we have held with utmost care for the most part of our life.
Here are some life-changing questions I want you to consider. How do you cope when because of your past decisions you find yourself and maybe also the people under your care adrift in the unsteady billows of life? How do you survive when what was supposed to be a fun one day adventure now stretches across more than 365days where you have to make life-changing and uneasy decisions each second if you want to stay alive? How do you cope when something very dreadful happens to you or your loved one?
The story on Metro states that Fisherman Jose Salvador set sail with another fisherman, aged 15, but the teenager died four months into their ordeal – may his soul rest in peace. How do you stay alive and keep your hope alive when the only person you embarked on the adventure with dies, like in the case of Fisherman Jose Salvador or more commonly if the person or people you embarked on this life-changing and difficult journey with walks out on you?
Now here’s one of the major reasons I wrote this article. If you are old enough, you must have gone through some rough and uneasy patch in your life, some people reading this article are currently going through a rough patch in their life and the rest who haven’t yet will go through some pretty rough patches at some point in their life – I’m not wishing you ill-luck by the way, I’m just stating a fact of life. The more I interact with people the more I notice that a lot of people blame everyone else except themselves when they are faced with challenges. Never sit back and blame everything under the sun for your mishap, whenever life knocks you down, you always should pick yourself up and fight back. They say that the best form of defense is - attack, so trying everything possible to stay up when life is throwing challenges at you to bring you down is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself. It’s not over until you regain your sense of well-being. Also you have to remember that after the pain and discomfort that you are feeling right now comes breakthrough, peace and better appreciation of life etc. There is always hope for you.
Have you found yourself adrift in the vicissitudes of life? Maybe in the case of the death of a spouse, death of immediate family member, immediate family member or loved one committing suicide, getting into debt beyond means of repayment, period of homelessness, prolonged unemployment (of head of household), immediate family member or loved one becoming seriously ill, jail sentence, divorce, break up of a long term relationship, break up of family etc
Fisherman Jose Salvador Albarengo, who spent more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean survived by drinking turtle blood and catching fish and birds with his bare hands. He even had to frequently drink his own urine to stay alive. He survived by not leaving himself to his fate, he resolved to stay alive and did everything necessary to enable him stay alive – which made him do, eat and drink some things he wouldn’t normally do, eat and drink if he had it any easier. How willing are you to take the extra step and do some of the things you won’t normally do within reason of course to survive your predicament? To survive your predicament, the number one thing I want you to do is – stay alive! Resolve to stay alive, help is coming your way, you might not see it right now but help is on its way to you. After you’ve resolved to stay alive, you’ve got to keep doing everything necessary to keep you sane and alive (the recovery and coping approaches are discussed below), fisherman Jose Salvador drank turtle blood and his own urine to stay alive until he was washed ashore and got help.
You might have been hit hard by life but you can still get out of the shackles that are currently binding you, you can still win in the race of life – so you have to get back in the race. When it’s time, maybe the time is now – you need to get up, put yourself together, learn some valuable lessons from what happened to you and move on with your life. Your best days are still ahead of you.
I was able to ride through some of the unsteady tides of my life by following some of the approaches below; I hope you find them valuable and applicable to you as you discover that life can be good again and even better. Here are the approaches I want you to consider that I strongly think will help you recover and/or cope with whatever you are going through right now – embrace change, be optimistic, eat and rest, nurture yourself, establish a routine, exercise as much as you can, engage in helping others, build positive beliefs in your abilities, find a sense of purpose in your life, develop a strong social network, develop your problem-solving skills, establish goals, take steps to deal with the issue at hand etc
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