To answer my Godson’s growing pains yesterday, I recollected my Berlin days in the 90s. I’d just split with my girlfriend, had nowhere to live, no job, and even struggled with the language. It was one of the lowest points of my life and I really did consider giving up completely.

I wept myself to sleep that night, but the next morning woke with little to lose. I picked up my Filofax (there’s a blast from the past!) and started to ring everyone in it. “Do you have work? If not, do you know anyone who might?”

Those calls led to an interview with a radio syndication production company and, inside of two years, I’d won two awards as a producer, having absolutely no experience at all; just the will to learn and the foresight to give it all I had.

It wasn’t the last time either. As recently as 2012, my environmental non-profit was costing me money and I had a mortgage and family to look after with no income. I sat down and wrote an email to everyone and, two days later, a friend knocked on my door and asked if I’d like to buy his gallery… The rest is history.

Challenges in life don’t stop – as I write, the recession is causing havoc on the sale of art, for us, and for our artists – but as we get older, we simply acquire more and more tools to overcome them. My reason for revisiting those times with him was to let him know he’s not alone. Back in Berlin I certainly felt that and so know the consequences of alienation.

Even in our hardest times, we are still the sum of what we’ve learn from life. We never start from zero. We always start from the experiences we’ve garnered in our lives. Sure, feel sorry for yourself, but then we need to strap on our boots and start hiking. Life can be excruciating at times, but it bears the richest fruits if we tender it well.

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