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Has something happened to you that you thought was awful at the time, but actually ended up being much better for you in the long run? In my life, several times horrible things have happened. Friends have betrayed me, relationships have been dreadful, and workplaces have been soul-destroying. But actually, they’ve been the best thing that could have happened in the long run. Here is one of those things that happened to me. A tale of how life doesn’t always go to plan, but often turns out out for the best.
‘Life doesn’t always go to plan (but turns out for the best)’
In 1992, my dad was diagnosed with small bowel cancer. I was in my second year of a 5 year degree, and 90 miles away from home. But I knew that my mum and dad were only a call away, and that they wanted me to be strong and carry on. I worked hard and carried on my studies. Trusting that the operation dad had to remove the cancer would work.
But in my third year dad’s cancer returned. I was also going through a bad patch personally. At exactly the same time a boyfriend had broken up with me, and it hit me incredibly hard on the back of dad’s news. At the time I was living with two girl friends. One was really easy going, the other not so much. I started receiving counselling at the university counselling service as I was really struggling. But still managed to hold it together, as I knew my parents really wanted me to succeed in my degree.
At the end of my third year my easy going friend graduated, leaving me to go flat hunting with the not so nice one, who was also on my course. Another girl friend from our course was also at a loose end flatmate wise, so we grouped together and found a lovely flat just around the corner from where I had been the previous year.
But then the new academic year started
And I realised that these girls were not easy to live with. Even worse, my dad needed to have chemotherapy, and was very ill. In turn, I was very stressed and ill myself. I didn’t want to let my parents worry, or know how bad I was, so kept it all from them. And pretty much kept it to myself. I was still having counselling, and my counsellor was the only person I confided in.
My new flatmates were not understanding to say the least, even though they did know about my dad and how ill I was.
One Friday night I was going out with some people from the course I was on. On my way home to get changed for my night out I passed my flatmates and their boyfriends on the street. I asked if they were going to the pub. They said no, and I thought nothing of it.
But next morning I was awoken by the sound of boots going up and down the steps of our flat. Looking out of my window, I saw them loading things into a van. And then driving off. They had pushed a note under my room door, telling me that they had moved out. Without telling me, or discussing it with me. My so-called ‘friends’ had just left me when I was at my lowest.
Causing trouble for me
Further to this, I also got called to the office of the Dean of the course I was taking. He sternly told me that I was in real trouble as one of these girls had complained to her tutor about me ‘disrupting her studies’ and ‘making her upset’. This was the same girl that had lived with me in third year. A girl who, when she was ill, I had gone out of my way to get her copies of study notes. Sending them and copying them using my own money as she was my friend. Some friend!
The Dean told me he was considering throwing me off my degree course. Until I told him about my father’s illness, and my years of counselling and medication. The ‘friend’ had omitted to tell her tutor this, obviously. The Dean had no idea, and he was astounded that I had managed to keep my studies and performance so well considering all that had happened.
After that, the Dean just wanted to know if there was anything that he could do to help. But all I wanted to do was get on with my studies.
Living on my own
I lived on my own in that flat for almost a year. It was hard, living on your own when you are used to company is not easy. There were good times and bad times. But at least I didn’t have to share with selfish people like them. At first I even worried that I would have to move out, as I worried that I would have to find all the rent myself. But the contract that they had signed with the landlord meant that they were liable for their portion.
My dad’s cancer didn’t respond to the chemo, and he died at the end of my fourth year at university.
And then the time came to find somewhere new to live. I looked on campus for new house share notices. And found one with 6 other people. In my final year I moved in with a load of people that I didn’t know. Who were mostly in their final year doing a wide range of different degrees. I ended up falling in love with and buying a house with one of my new flatmates. We were together for 7 years and are still friends. I finished my degree with honours and started my career.
I never would have met that boyfriend and had all those good times had it not been for those selfish girls. When they left that morning I did not think that my life could sink any lower. But actually it all turned out for the best.
Life Doesn’t Always Go To Plan
I truly believe that sometimes things happen in life for a reason. Whenever I have been let down by people or things haven’t gone the way that I have hoped, usually something better has come out of the whole situation. Sometimes things turn out for the best even if you don’t think you’ve got the results you wanted.
Need to talk to someone? I used the Samaritans so much in that year on my own, when I couldn’t talk to anyone else. Do talk, even if it is to a stranger. Find their website here.
Do you have a story about how life doesn’t always go to plan? Over the next few Mondays, I am featuring guest posts from others who have a story to tell. Alice and Amber have their stories. About how they thought that life had all gone pear-shaped, but actually it was the best thing that could have happened. Check out my post here on how your story could be featured. I would love to hear it!