I’m lucky to be alive, seriously. I cheated death in a fire, despite being on the critical list for weeks, and endured years of hospitalisation and numerous operations.

I put up with abuse and harassment as I grew up, was beaten up a few times for my sins, and suffered a million and one humiliations to my psyche, self esteem and confidence.

I haven’t been able to write about those years from my middle teens to my late twenties because I find it hard to go back there in great detail, apart from some of the blogs I posted here. Maybe I’ll never travel back to be reminded of just how dark those days and nights were, how lonely and empty I felt. I had few friends then, no one I could really unburden my thoughts and fears to, no girlfriend to share my journey or to give me the emotional support I so desperately needed.

And yet I am so glad to be where I am now, thanks to the love of my wife and children. If success is measured by career accomplishment, then I did moderately well. I have encountered so many people who are unhappy with their marriages, job, or been afflicted with bad health. When our son Alan was born with spina bifida & hydrocephalus we were shattered. Watching him die slowly before our eyes was a testing time for us, and the aftermath unbearably painful.

But you cling to the positives. We had two other children by then who needed us. How difficult it would have been had they not been there. However, life goes on.

I have scars, but I’m not in a wheelchair. I’m not homeless or blind. I’m not jobless or lonely, friendless or unhappy. I’m neither rich nor broke, unloved or unhealthy (although I could shed a few pounds). I see the positives where others see the negatives – or at least as much as I can. I feel lucky although I have never won the Lotto. I find it easier to be happy and motivated, rather than unhappy and dispirited.

I’m not superhuman and have loads of faults, but only a fool would imagine they haven’t. I smile a lot, ignore the negativity on social media, and know there are things in life I can’t change, so wasting my energies obsessing about them won’t make a blind bit of difference – except to frustrate me.

I’m grateful to be where I am today.

By the way, the picture above was taken with my son Daire in New York.