Monday, November 28, 2011

Step 29 - You are the Master of your own Destiny

Do you believe in fate?  I do to a certain extent.  I think that some things are meant to be and there seems to be certain things that happen in our lives that lead us in a certain direction.  However, I’m not a fatalist.  I’m not one to just sit back and let life happen.  I believe that in order for things to change you have to make them change..

In an earlier post (Go with the flow), I told you about the many difficulties we experienced when I first went to live with my husband before we were married.  We changed course by moving area and then everything seemed to fall into place.  We then had a run of about 7 years where everything went well.  We started a business, we got married, we sold our flat for a good profit and brought a little cottage in the country, we started a family and we couldn’t be happier.  But then during the recession in the early 90’s in England, everything started to go wrong for us.  Interest rates rocketed so our mortgage payments doubled, we had several building companies go bankrupt owing us money and the work started to dry up.  Everything we’d worked so hard to build up came crashing down around us.  Over the next few years we lost our house and business – everything we’d worked so hard to achieve and through no fault of our own.  We had to start all over again from scratch, so I do know what it’s like to have nothing. 

There have been times when I’ve wondered where the next penny’s coming from.  Many times when we’ve had to scrape by, making do with what we’ve got, living on handouts from friends and family.  I also know how hard it can be to pick yourself back up and carry on.  There were lows when I felt ‘what’s the point, we worked so hard and for what, we’re never going to make it’.  My husband tried to get work, but couldn’t get the jobs he wanted because he didn’t have the qualifications to prove he had the skills and knowledge he had. 

At this point we could so easily have given up, accepted our fate and just settled for jobs that would not have fulfilled us, settled for a life of scraping by to make ends meet.  But that wasn’t what either us wanted from our lives.  So, we made the decision for my husband to go to University and study for a degree.  It meant 3 years of struggling while he was studying and we had 2 small children at the time.  But, we knew he’d never be able to get the sort of work he wanted without that bit of paper.  He studied hard and worked hard, I took on part time jobs to supplement our income, I studied part-time too.  At the end of his studies he was offered a lecturing position at the University he studied at – at last he was starting to get the recognition he rightly deserved.  So, after another 7 years of struggling and working hard we were back where we had started and in a position to get on the property ladder (where we had been nearly 15 years before).

We bought a guest house, did it up and ran it while we were both working part time in other jobs.  We spent a further 3 or 4 years working hard to build up the business, maintaining our other jobs and bringing up our now 3 children.  Life was definitely looking up for us, but we wanted a better quality of life for ourselves and our children.  Property prices had increased significantly and we were now in a position where we could sell the house and have enough money to buy a much better house in the country in France and live happily ever after (can you sense a touch of sarcasm creeping in here).

Ok, it hasn’t happened overnight, but unfortunately these things rarely do.  We’ve come a long way and we’ve still got a long way to go, but I don’t regret anything.  Even the hardships we experienced were a necessary part of our journey and we’ve learnt such a lot from them.  Someone once said to me ‘you make you’re own luck’ and I think he was right.  We’ve had some really bad luck and we’ve had some really good luck, but that’s what happens when you take risks.  I understand it’s not for everyone.  Not everyone can live with the chance of loosing everything and would prefer to play it safe.  That’s fair enough, each to their own, but if you really want a different life, then you just have to go out there and get it.  It may not be easy, but I can guarantee it won’t be boring!

Too often we seem to get stuck in a rut and put up with things because we don’t think we have an alternative.  There are always alternatives.  You don’t have to just carry on in that rut, you can change your life.  What you have to realise is that nobody’s is going to do it for you.  If you really want things to change, you have to make the changes happen yourself, you have make efforts to change the things you’re unhappy with in your life.  You are the master of your own destiny.  

You may be interested to read the other posts in this series:

Step 30 - The Key to Happiness and Contentment
Step 29 -You are the master of your own destiny
Step 28 - Don't give up on a good relationship
Step 27 - Don't Judge , Live and let live
Step 26 - Don't Worry, by happy
Step 25 - Never give up
Step 24 - Get by with a little help from your friends
Step 23 - Go with the Flow
Step 22 - Enjoy the moment
Step 21 - Love what you do
Step 20 - Forgive and Forget
Step 19 - Unconditional giving
Step 18 - Smile and the world smiles with you
Step 17 - Work to live, don't live to work
Step 16 - Surround yourself with Positive People
Step 15 - Always look on the bright side of life
Step 14 - Where there's a will there's a way
Step 13 - Silence is Golden
Step 12 - Feed your Soul
Step 11 - Follow your Dreams
Step 10 - Use your time wisely
Step 9 - Don't be too hard on yourself
Step 8 - Consider what you value most
Step 7 - Find time for Yourself
Step 6 - Make time for Family and Friends
Step 5 - Don't take yourself too Seriously
Step 4 - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
Step 3 - Love what you Hate
Step 2 - There's no such word as CAN''T
Step 1 - Find the Best in Every Day


  1. I think we must be sisters from different mothers. Each post you have written, I have too walked in almost an identical path (minus the kids). It's comforting to know someone else has experienced a similar path as me. I don't know if I will ever have the courage to speak about all of our (my hubby and I) struggles, cause some of them are a bit on the dark side. But our sacrifices and risks have gotten us where we are today. I don't think I'd like to repeat the previous paths, but we're still risk takers so it's always a possibility. And you are right, you can't get ahead in life by taking a back seat and hoping for the best. There are a few who can, but the majority who wait for the handouts are just going to miss out on life. Risks are never easy, but if they pay off, the rewards are amazing. And not just financially (although those risks are nice), the joy that comes from a risk paying off and feeling like you accomplished the impossible is the greatest rush ever in life.

  2. So right Nikki.... and Taylor. Even when it seems life has thrown a pile of poo at you, you are in charge of how you react to it. Some of the most successful people have come out of the poorest backgrounds and some with everything manage to end up with nothing..... Opportunity definitely helps, but it's what you do with it that really makes the difference.

  3. I'm sure I commented on this (if you have comment approval on then just delete this one).

    I have often taken the easy road but the time is coming where I have choices to make and this time I'm not going to shy away from the risk.

    If it all goes wrong, well, I'll know I've tired and I'll just start all over again :)

  4. That was a very enjoyable read. Like you say taking such risks is not for everyone but if you are prepared to to it then you can alsoaxheieve your dreams eventually. I think you make your own luck too x

  5. Thanks again Taylor for your comments. It's strange to know that we can live in different continents, yet our lives can follow a similar path. I agree with you, whilst I don't really regret the choices we've made (they were made with the knowledge we had at the time) I wouldn't like to repeat many of them. And yes we are risk takers and not everyone is. There's nothing wrong with choosing a safer life, if that's what makes you happy, but if you're not happy you have to take charge and take a risk or just accept your lot.

  6. That's very true Fiona. It's about making the most of the opportunities that come our way and if they don't, going out and finding them! We are all so fortunate in the scale of things. Even if the worse comes to the worse and we loose all our material wealth, we'll still be better off than so many people in the world. We often loose sight of just how lucky we are.

  7. Hi Sarah, no I don't seem to have another comment on this post lurking for you. It gets so confusing though doesn't it. I keep forgeting whether I've written about the topic in each post before. Please forgive me if I'm repeating myself - it must be my age (or quite probably lack of sleeep).
    Good luck with the path you choose - really hope it works out for you, but as you say you'll never know unless you try :)

  8. This post is inspring. I know you are right and if I knew what it was that I wanted I would go out and get it.

  9. Lol, yes I suppose you do need to have a goal or dream before you can go and get it. Keep searching and you'll find it ;)

  10. so true and something I really need to hand onto, I'm in a position at the moment where I feel everything is out of my control - I can pull it back. thanks xx

  11. I know it's hard sometimes Gemma when you're in the middle of difficult times. There are certainly events that happen to us in our lives that are out of our control. We can't stop them happening, but we can attempt to control how we respond to them. Life can be so cruel sometimes, but try to find strength in the fact that difficult times do pass and we often feel stronger for managing to get through them. xx