Now, you are probably thinking the thing that inspired me the most this morning was the remarkable journey Mark went through to recover from a broken back to go on to win a gold medal at the 2012 Paralympics in just 3 years, but really this was not the most important message for me to hear today.
Mark Colbourne Paralympic Gold Medalist
When I asked what inspired him, the same way we are inspired by athletes in the olympics and hear the amazing paralympic stories, he answered “Being Happy and being around Happy People”.
When I heard this, I went through a series of emotions mostly surprise, disbelief and a little shame. You see, I struggle a lot with happiness. For people who know me, this may come as a shock because people see me as Little Miss Sunshine and the super optimistic one. And I guess I am most of the time. But sometimes I know I am not happy. I am a wallower and often find myself having pity parties with myself at home alone in the evenings, wondering why “life is so hard” or “why did this happen to me?” or “why do I have to do this all alone?”
So, you can believe my shock when a man, who almost lost his life in a horrific paragliding accident and spend 93 days looking at a ceiling, never thinking he would walk again told me he was inspired by happiness. My darkest days would never compare to that. My own health challenges would never compare to those. So, why was I choosing to be unhappy?
Your health is a little like happiness, in the way that you don’t notice it until it’s gone.
This was something I finally understood this year with my own health challenge- finally realising I was not invincible.
However, we all have choice. We can choose to have health and happiness at the forefront of our lives or choose not to. This choice extends to how we are in every moment. Choose to eat this or not eat that. Be thankful and grateful or be afraid and insecure.
A sad soul can kill you quicker than a germ. ~John Steinbeck
I realised today that in the same way I choose to be the healthy person I am by not eating meat or avoiding dairy products or cutting back on sugar and eating my 5 a day, I also have the power to choose how I feel about my life. I can choose to be grateful and happy and surround myself with happy, inspiring people as well as serve and help others to do the same. This is perhaps the most important thing I can do to have a happy and healthy life.