I saw this post on Instagram the other day and it really hit a chord with me. It brought to the surface, a question that often drifts around in my mind, “What are the factors that drive and influence someone’s life?” Obviously everyone’s present situation is driven by their past but which events actually determine that path forward? How different would life be if that one thing never happened? I am not sure about anyone else, but I love looking into the psychology and behavioural factors behind such ideas. Hence it got me thinking about my own life and how different it could have been.

There are definitely a couple of life events which stand out to me as “significant”. One is having scoliosis and the spinal fusion surgery that came with that and the other is growing up with a dad who had an incurable cancer. I was nearly 11 when I was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and 14 when my parents told me dad had multiple myeloma (a type of blood cancer). These are two pretty massive “things” to work through at a young and already troublesome adolescent period. Dad and I were always close and I feel our conditions helped bond us even tighter. Although what I went through was nowhere near what he did, I felt like I could relate in some ways. I know what it is like to be in intense pain, to not be able to move or get comfortable or simply not able to do what you want to do or what others can do easily. While I wish my dad had never got sick, the experience has made me a stronger person and appreciate life on a much higher level.

My beliefs and lifestyle choices were also shaped by these experiences. They have given me empathy and immense admiration for people who deal with severe medical conditions on a daily basis. I have met and made friends with other patients who suffer from much worse than me but manage to live fulfilling and happy lives. Just thinking of what they go through makes me feel guilty when I am in a bad mood on a bad day and pushes me to make the most of life because others are happily living with issues much worse than my own. Additionally my passion towards health and wellness also stems from these medical issues I have seen and dealt with. Disease and factors outside of your control are always around the corner so why would you only want to do as much as possible to keep your body healthy and strong?

Coming back to the key question, “how different would my life be if these events had never happened?” I think the answer is that my life would have been very different. There are some things I would definitely love to change (like my dad been fit and healthy and still around today) but these things have helped shape me into the person I am today. I believe things do happen for a reason and I would love to get anyone’s thoughts on the key pivot points in their life and what this resulted in. Would you go back and change if it if you had the chance? While we can only change the future we can learn and grow from our past.