My life has been totally rocking lately and at times I totally pinch myself! I have been around long enough to learn that one can lose everything in an instant so I have been thinking quite heavily lately about protection and such to make sure I don’t wind up a “Casualty” again in life.
As I have been getting healthier in all areas of my life (which is great), I have been reflecting and seeing closure in my own mind as to the extremely painful experiences I went through earlier in life.
One issue that I have been resolving in my own mind (which has been very painful) was dealing with homelessness in my life. I have been homeless twice in my life. Once as a child (which was a sad mistake and error) and later on as adult due to some very bad decisions on my part.
I suffered quite a bit of shame in being homeless not too long ago due to some very bad thinking / planning on my part. What was interesting about this experience is that I have met other awesome / normal people that have been homeless like me. People on great salaries with great businesses who are kicked out of home all of a sudden – even with children and they are in a position of being desperate with no where to go.
And to make the first point too – mine was quite easy! I have known some amazing people (more often women than men sadly) who had it way worse than me. Children, no money, legal situations. Even though mine was painful psychologically, it’s nothing compared to many out there!
When I was a child (I was about 10 I think), I used to have a very normal life till about the age of 10. When my parents had problems, drug dealers threatening to kill me – like many children these days, my innocence was taken from me a bit earlier than one would like. With no fault to anyone (just circumstance) – during a mistake in transfer for me between housing, I was on the streets for about 3 days from memory (not easy recalling this). Fortunately it was summer (which is still a bit chilly even in Melbourne) and I slept in a park for the first stage. I remember meeting a group of very nice homeless aboriginals too that were very nice to me. They recognized I was “New” the streets, and they could tell by my affluent Eastern Suburbs Accent that I was a kid very much down on my luck. I faintly remember them giving me some of their fine “Fish & Chips” which was quite lovely. I think one of them did me a big favour, during the 2nd day of having no where to live a Salvation Army Worker found me (I think they tipped him off), interviewed me and I lived in a Soup Kitchen Safe House for a short while. Eventually I was reunited with my parents and then started leading a “Normal Life Again”. Quite lucky actually! I dodged a bullet on this one.
Later on in life, ironically when my business was successful I made some very bad decisions that left me with my awesome Cat Pandy, but no where quite to go. This was strangely more disturbing to my psychology than when I was a 10 year old. I remember that when I was a child, I could just blame people around me – but as an Adult, I was homeless due to poor thinking / decision making on my part. Considering that my ego was based on my fine track record, education and results – if you said to me 30 days before that I would be homeless, I would have laughed at you. It wasn’t too bad in that I had money (so could just book into a hotel if I had too), but just the concept of having no where to go and my poor cat with me – was very disturbing and shocking me to this day.
I have met many great people since my experience who have had the same thing. Awesome Mothers with a child booted out onto the street, Great Guys who one day come home to empty houses after business trips – and people who get sued and lose everything and start their lives again.
Being homeless later in life was quite hard for as well – it triggered my old Post Traumatic Stress Disorder condition (from my old Government days) – but I really focused hard on my business and kept my life going. It was an extremely unsettling condition for me and looking back at it now – it got me thinking about how I can coalesce my own pain into a positive outcome to help others. I bet that many reading this article has had it way worse than me – if you have, sorry that you went through that! Also Veterans (me being one) have a much higher percentage of being homeless than normal people, so that bit was freaking me out too.
So here is this article! Talking first hand about my 2 x experiences of what I will call “Light Homelessness” this from overcoming my own suffering:
1) Start Believing in God: Yes! Having nowhere to go and that certainty pulled yanked out from under my feet made me really focus on my Christian Faith for the better. I know pray many times a day and it was focusing on JC that made it much easier.
2) Make sure your Pets and Dependents are Safe: If you have pets or dependents, you may have to make some moves that are good for them and bad for you. My Awesome Cat Pandy rocks and I was ready to give her away to friends that I know would take good care of her. It would have hurt me in this scenario, but I was prepared to do it.
3) Find Somewhere Fast: I was lucky that I had money and a great network, so I had great friends offering me temporary housing and facilities. This point almost goes without saying! I have known some to even get spots in Caravan Parks to live out their homeless days.
4) Find Good / Healthy Food: More Easily said than done, but when you are in-between homes it’s normal to eat poorly and even miss whole meals. I lost tons of weight during my experience and got a bit sick. Vitamin Tablets rocked and I found Thai Places kept me going!
5) Look for Relaxing Places to Rest: Churches, Parks, Food Courts in Shopping Centres and even nice Cafes I found were good hide-outs. Even though it didn’t solve the problem, sitting somewhere quiet and forgetting for the moment that you have no where to go gives ones brain a chance to rest and relax.
6) Sleeping in the Car! Assuming you have a car (which I did) it was great. I rarely slept at night so it was my perfect chance to catch up on rest which I just needed. On a funny note, to this day I enjoy power-naps from my homeless days.
7) Don’t Tell Anyone! My favourite. Now my life is rocking now I am out in the open with it, but at the time I didn’t tell anyone anything. In fact, I told everyone how great things were. It was quite shameful, so great to keep it to myself and solve it my own way.
8) Accept the Failure: It was very hard me for accepting that I caused myself to be without a home. I kept trying to blame and justify. The moment I said “I did this” it made it much easier to cope with and got me out of victim mode.
9) Positive People: I enjoyed spending time with positive people (who were oblivious to what I was going through) and this kept me going and I loved it.
10) Your Purpose from the Pain: My big one, I knew my pain was temporary I was right! I also knew that by me experiencing such awful experiences it gives me the appreciation as to my life now and also I can now “Qualified” to help others.
Even though emotionally I still am dealing with the Fallout of what happened in my life, I am glad for the experience and I would do it again. Dealing with light short bouts of Homelessness has made me really appreciate God and also what I have today. Hence, I work way harder and I am non stop investing and reinvesting in my business and life.
So negative experiences in my life lead to an Awesome Positive Outcome which was all worth it!
If you have been homeless, I am sorry to hear it and hope my story helps you. If you are homeless now, hang in there! You will make it. If you have never been homeless and think I am crazy with my story – I hope it stays that way.
Thank you for the read and thank you from Edward Zia – Marketing Mentor and “Man of the Streets!”