In an interview I did last week, the reporter asked me lots of questions about the fire. Questions I didn’t answer.
See, in the majority of interviews I do, I just won’t talk about the fire.
I’ll talk about recovery, I’ll talk about the things I’ve achieved since and all the lessons along the way, but I won’t talk about the actual fire.
It’s not because talking about it upsets me, it’s just that talking about the fire has become sort of boring for me.
Hear me out.
Imagine your house got broken into, and six years later, people still wanted to hear about the exact minute you turned the key in your front door and saw all your stuff gone, how you had to fill in police reports, and deal with your insurance company, and file all that paperwork, and install security systems and then buy a new TV.
You’d be sick of telling that story right?
Now, in my case, I know the story is anything but boring – there’s a cast of crazy characters, danger, a split second decision, a catastrophic event, a heroic rescue, a medical team that work against the clock to save lives, survival against the odds and an epic love story – all set against the startling beauty of the Kimberley’s remote wilderness.
(Someone call Spielberg, we’ve got his next blockbuster ready to go haha!).
But it’s not interesting to me that a fire changed my life (and the lives of some other really cool people).
Hard, life-changing events happen to people all the time.
I am not unique in that.
What’s interesting to me is how we choose to grow and change from these events.
Why would I want to focus on an event that happened in my life when I could focus my energy on how I’m changing my life?
After all, life is not about what happens to us, but what we do about it – Tweet it.
So why am I telling you this? Well, maybe you’ve been through a hard time, or maybe you’re going through one right now.
If that’s the case, I’d love to ask you this:
How can you stop focusing on what happened, and start focusing on what you can do about it?
How you can grow, how you can change, how you can be stronger, bigger, and yes more interesting than what happened to you?
That’s the kind of story I’d love to hear from you.
Let me know in the comments about something you’re working on changing in your life.
I completely understand. At 34 I have just come out the side of the horrific 2017 spent in rehabs for dealing with alcoholism. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I just want to learn from it an wake up every day bring the best person I can be today.
Since being sober, September 4th I added you on instagram.
I’ve known your story, but every day it’s been such a lovely breath of fresh air seeing you beautiful growing belly gracing my page with your funny quotes. But today it smacked me straight in the face.
Sometimes we have to go thru utter shit to see the rainbow on the other side. And sometimes others just don’t get it.
Enjoy this time before your baby comes, and remind yourself that you really made Emily Wilken’s day today.
Hello from a mom of 3 in NYC!
2 years ago I had a horrible bike accident, broken jaw, teeth, orbital bone – worst of it was my shattered wrist and shoulder that required multiple surges and hospital stays…. BLAH BLAH BLAH…, I agree with you Turia. I am absolutely bored to tears reliving a stupid, senseless accident. It’s been a long few painful years but I can’t change it. I can’t undo it. Your blog inspires me. Truly. Even if I don’t look at it. Just knowing a person like you is on the planet makes my heart sing a little. I’m training for a 1/2 marathon and you are my inspiration when I don’t feel like running in a cold NYC winter . Best wishes to you and those you love Today is Thanksgiving in America . Be Grateful
I’ve been working from as a travel agent for 6.5 years, the last 3 from home as I looked after my two boys 3.5 and 11 months. Recently, I decided to go back to the agency for one day a week but after a few bouts of mastitis it wasn’t going the way I thought it would. So I’ve now decided to quit my paying job (which I love) and focus on my boys and wellbeing while supporting my other half in kicking his goals. I used to think being a Mum was a career death sentence but now I look at it as being something that really compliments it all and has made me a lot more empathetic- you learn so much from kids. Also, being able to enjoy the now with my boys than being stressed out is cool to. I’m lucky to have my other half’s support. Sometimes you just have to roll with it than against.
One of my clients who I told I was leaving said she fully got it and shared with me a video she put together of footage of her family over 20 years. About six months ago, I booked her and her boys to Europe where she was scattering some of her husband’s ashes. Needless to say I cried and cried after seeing the video of her family’s private moments and milestones. It definitely helped put it all in perspective for me and that is to enjoy my family now, there is plenty of time and opportunity to go back to work but my boys are only going to need me so much now and then later I’ll be looking back at this time knowing I did what was best for me and my family.
Also thanks for your book it definitely helped me and practicing gratitude helps a lot!!! I look forward to your Mum Edition in a few years (no pressure) haha
You change lives on a daily basis! I am a first time mum, career driven and in my early 30s beforehand, who has had to slow down and take time to appreciate the gifts we are given in life. In part, you have helped me through this journey, which has at times been emotionally challenging.
Good luck with your and Michael’s impending birth, our daughter was born last December, so I know how these last few weeks feel at this time of year – busy!
Hi Turia, I have been following your blogs just because i love your attitude and have done since the first time I saw you on the Today Show. I am far from a teenager however ha!. My ethos is “focus on what you can do, not on what you cannot”. I was unable to have children and a series of, not so fun stuff happened after that such as deaths, divorce – told you – super fun, and I totally agree with you, if you focus on that it becomes your reality and you let it define you. I’m a career coach and i work with many teenagers who are managing hiccups in life, I tell all of them to follow you. Your thinking is right up my ally. Go girl. Love you to join my linkedin network or Insta http://www.kirstyanneferguson.com http://www.pinstripesolutions.com
I have been unemployed for a few years due to an auto immune disease which means I can’t cope with certain things like bright lights etc. so bugger it! I started my own virtual Admin business called YouNeedUs and this will mean I can work from home and feel useful and productive again. Now there is that pesky job of finding some clients hehehe!
Great post. Read your 2nd book after being diagnosed with breast cancer at 38 and start chemo Monday. All about focusing on using this time to learn more about myself, find gratitude daily, and appreciate my partner, friends and family. Lots of ppl get cancer and have chemo, but it won’t be what defines me…
Had cancer in 2013. Had major surgery with serious implications- can’t have children. This was sad but I have always focused on the positives. People have called me a Pollyanna but I am proud to live in Glad Town. Focusing on the now may not work for everyone but it has worked for me.
You make so much sense in what you say, I’m all for moving on, you can’t change the past but you can change tomorrow be it your outlook, your goals your mood.
Love your blogs
Our 8 year old daughter Mia was a healthy baby and toddler and just before her 4th birthday was diagnosed with a rare degenerative condition that has taken all her abilities to move, talk, eat and see and one day soon her life. I can retell the diagnosis story but somehow it seems more like retelling “the story” a sad shocking story that I feel quiet distant and somewhat detached from now. It doesn’t capture how we’ve grown as a family, how our love and acceptance is deeper, how our community has rallied around us and how our daughter is the epitome of resilience and strength and brings more love, joy and connection into our life than could be imagined. I’m going to try and do less of telling that boring, sad, dramatic part of the story and more about how powerful our physically vulnerable daughter is and the ripple affect that has on our family. Your clarity and perspective is so ferocious and refreshing Turia. It resonated deeply with me that “talking about the fire” is boring to you now and your focus has shifted. I’m practicing being grateful everyday for how my daughters Disease has let me grow into a more patient, thoughtful person, shown me the privilege and exhaustion of caring for someone you love, helped me be more aware to feeling love and connection, let me be more vulnerable and less judgmental. Thank you. ?
Thank you so much for sharing this, Peta. So beautiful x
AMAZING as always. I saw you a couple weeks ago in the vegan restaurant in Milton! do star struck. But something that changed my life was when the horse that i ride or do vaulting on died. It made my vaulting career so hard but i persisted and started on a new horse and i couldn’t be happier. Anyway i have a comp this weekend, so nervous ???
I love your story Turia. I completely agree on focusing on the positive and the changes you’ve made in your life. My mum died suddenly 9 years ago. It was the worst day of my life and it really broke me. I never thought I’d ever get over the loss of my mum or be able to move on. But I did. One day at a time. I started focusing on the positives. I started practicing gratitude. Baby steps. Day by day I’d wake up and think of something that I was grateful for. I then started to realise that my life really was amazing and my mum wouldn’t want me to be sitting around being miserable or crying for her everyday. 9 years later life is amazing. I’m so happy and incredibly grateful for every day I have. I love travelling! It’s helped me get thru all the bad days and now I feel like I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I don’t focus on my sadness. It’s gone and that’s all that matters!! Life is short and I’m going to enjoy every minute!
This is wonderful advise! Over a year ago I finally came to terms with how detrimental it can be to hold onto hurt. I used to feel sorry for myself after my partner left me with our twin baby boys. I couldn’t understand it and I felt so abandoned. I felt like a victim. Life was oh so unfair…but like you said, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about it. I started to accept my unhappy experiences and try to learn from them, to force them to become a positive drive in my life. It worked, it works every day. I scaled down my expectations and fell in love with small victories. I love that, I love the little victories. They feed possibility. I just think, wow, Turia…of all the experiences that have been conquered with love…. Yours is just outstanding. I’m so grateful that people like you continue to share such wisdom. Xx
Thank you for sharing Elizabeth! There is a lot to be found in the small victories!
Hi Turia, thanks yet again for another thought-provoking email 🙂 I have baggage from my past, as we all do, but the reason I can’t let it go is due to an anxiety disorder. I think about this bad stuff again and again and again, in an obsessive compulsive kind of way. Yes, it is boring. Yes, it is a waste of time. But changing my thinking patterns, or trying to manage an anxiety disorder, is tough work. Most days it feels impossible. Some days it’s a possibility.
It’s Thanksgiving here and I’m alone today. Not because I wasn’t invited to spend this holiday with family and friends, I was. I’m alone because my husband suffers from severe depression and anxiety. He is afraid of nothing and he is afraid of everything. I’ve chosen to stay with him today because he can’t function around crowds, big or small right now. As I read Facebook I see all the postings of my friends with their families, cooking this and that and enjoying their company. I could really let this get to me and feel hurt and cheated but I’ve chosen to embrace this day the best I can and send out love and thanks to all my family and friends for being in my life. I am truly grateful. I can’t change my circumstances right now but I CAN be in control of how I accept them. We always have that choice!
I am like a roller coaster … Just when I get to feeling wonderful I sink right back down. It is so annoying. I wish I could be like a lot of you guys. I have run out of resilience , I think.
I love the way you write. It just sits at the core of my heart. I have a huge battle on my hands and sometimes I feel I am all alone in this and some days It’s just impossible but I see my kids and see how perfect they are and completely I am blessed with them. I try and be thankful for every little thing I have. Makes me realise that God has me!!! Keep writing my dear. Love every word n sometimes I think you are just writing to me. Sending you lots of love. ?
I totally understand where you’re coming from! I was born with a Port Wine stain on half my face and a large percentage on my body. I’ve grown up with it, I’ve dealt with it. Some people are so curious and actually really quite rude and selfish, they don’t realise I’ve had to explain it, growing up and getting older, to about a million people! They don’t get how intrusive and really how unbelievably boring it gets to explain it all the time! Enough! You are my absolute hero Turia, you’re smart, you’re beautiful and you’ve done an Ironman!!! You’re an inspiration to me on so many levels xxx
I have been through a number of sexual assaults and losing children to a narcissist. But I feel my story is so much more than that. I am in an amazing position now…still haven’t seen my kids in 10 years…but I knew they would not want me to collapse. I am here. Strong. Ready to hug them. When they need. Lobg, long storym but the shame and guilt has to go. We are so much more than our bodies. Xxxx
Hey Turia you are a remarkable person, firstly for recognising that traumatic things happen to people ALL THE TIME and you are not unique for that, and secondly for understanding how to cope with trauma. That’s what really matters, and that’s what makes you really stand out. How many people will be able to go through what you did without their spirit breaking? it’s just remarkable how strong you’ve been and how you keep pushing yourself forwards. btw your book unmasked is wonderful, I found it by chance and couldn’t put it down.
I hope all is well with you! Congratulations to you and Michael on your upcoming baby- such an exciting time! 🙂 My name is Imogen, and I’ve been following your stuff for a while now, and LOVING your newsletters (seriously they make my day- I get so excited when I read them). I have a question- perhaps it’s something you’ll address later on in a newsletter or something, but I was wondering- how do you keep things in perspective?
Something I struggle with a lot I think is perspective. I know I can do anything I set my mind to, and I get so excited about things and then when I hit a roadblock or when I realize whatever it is I’m working towards doesn’t happen overnight (which- duh- of course things don’t always happen overnight) I get frustrated and feel a bit defeated. I have a hard time keeping things in perspective and feel upset as silly as that sounds. Any chance you have any tips on that? 🙂
Anyways, thanks for all that you do. You’re really inspiring and your writing is an absolute joy to read.
Wishing you all the best!
Just what I needed to read today.
I recently suffered a massive heart attack due to a rare cause where your heart arteries spontaneously tear. I had emergency open heart surgery and double bypass. I’m only 42 and almost didn’t survive.
I am a bit stuck now in moving forward and not just relieving the traumatic day and first 2 weeks. But everyone just keeps asking about the heart attack and what it was like. I don’t want to keep talking about it, Like you talking about the fire.
Makes so much sense.
Thank you ? x
I don’t create anniversaries, I refuse to acknowledge dates that have a bad memory association, so I don’t spend time reliving what happened that caused me so much pain. I was raised by a pedophile, so I learned to compartmentalise painful experiences, and I always had a goal, something to strive for that gave me a will to keep trying. I decided to face the monster and he is now in prison, and that is very empowering, I don’t like talking about the abuse, and I don’t look for pity or sympathy, that just turns me into a victim, my childhood is over, and I refuse to give that person power over my future.
This. This hit home. Six years ago my husband came home from work to tell me he had been fired. For embezzlement. He was also facing major jail time. I was, and had been, a stay at home, homeschooling mom my entire adult life. It was ALL I had ever wanted to be. And as I sat there holding our newborn and looking at our other young daughter, I couldn’t believe the turn my life was taking. All I’d ever wanted to be was a stay at home mom, and after years and years of infertility, I felt like I was finally living my most cherished dream, only to have it snatched away from me by someone else’s wrong decisions. We lost our home and everything in it. I was forced to move 2 hours away from my precious babies to go to school. During those 2 years I only got to see them 2 days a week. My dream of being a stay at home mom was stripped from me, as I had to begin a full time job. I felt like my children, on top of everything else, had been taken from me. I realize there are many, many moms who work full-time, and there are so many worse things that have happened to people, but this was MY life, and MY dream, and someone else had stolen it from me. The one thing I had dreamed of since I was a small child. I was crushed and broken. The anger and resentment built up to the point that my husband and I were on the verge of divorce. Although I didn’t actually tell many people my story, I relived that story over and over and over in my mind. The anger and bitterness began to define me. Even now six years later, I have moments where I really struggle to forgive, move on and accept this new life as my own. But this spoke to me so deeply. I can’t change what happened, but I can focus on the good that has come out of it and the lessons I have learned-like never to judge someone by their mistakes or their past. You never know what circumstances led them to the decisions they made, and people are so much more than their mistakes. I can focus on how much stronger and deeper the love between my husband and I is now. I can focus on the strength I found that I never knew I had. I can focus on the amazing example of resilience, forgiveness and determination I have set for my girls. And I can make the very most of the time I do get the privilege of sharing with them, even if it’s not as much as I’d like. My husband and I celebrated our 16yr anniversary this year and we are stronger and happier than we have ever been. Thank you for this. I needed the reminder that just a little shift in perspective can go a really long way.
Turia, you are always so inspiring.
I have a question about the recovery process: how did you manage to have pacience when I am sure they told you to have pacience during the recovery? Letting your body to heal when you basically want to run. What was your mindset?
I’m so glad I came onto your blog. I found my fiancé dead at home 6 months ago and I’ve been through such a shocking, traumatic, stressful time. But, I want to come out stronger and a better person- you’ve helped me realise I CAN and I WILL be ok.
Lots of love, from England.
4 months ago I severely burnt myself with ignited cooking oil at home with my 2 boys. While at the time it was scary and traumatic my 13 year old son was my super hero, he followed every prompt I threw at him and got the help I needed. I remained positive throughout my recovery process, doing what I was told through pain , weakness and fear. I have children I’m teaching to be strong independent people, I had no time to cry to ask why or to say I can’t. I too had the phrase the only time you should look back is to see how far I had come and I did that and still do that on my bad days. Many of my family,friends and medical staff are amazed by my positive attitude and determination to move forward they take inspiration from me. There’s no poor me there’s only Here’s me.
Hi Turia, 31yrs agoI had an accident in my car. I was left in a chair, I know what you mean about talking about what happened to you. I never wish for something I cannot change. Since my accident I have had a daughter and learnt to drive with hand controls. I have come a long way since my accident, people often an what happened to me I answer but keep it brief. I have travelled overseas with Bianca. She manages 2 flight centre stores, she is 26 now and I am very proud of her achievements.It was a turning point for me when I had her.Someone needed me it took the focus off myself, I always say she saved me.Enjoy your little family Turia it’s not you have in your life it’s who you have I your life ❤