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Down to zero, so the only way is up

If there's a way of doing nothing I will find it. I can be doing nothing while looking very busy. You just pick up the phone a lot and stare into space as if in deep thought but, really, you're staring into space.

I did a lot of that in past weeks, but then I realised I was doing far from nothing. I was back at the coalface deciding what kind of person I was and would continue to be. I came out of it laughing. Not a lot, but laughing all the same. If the phrase 'darkest hour before dawn' makes you respond, then you know that sometimes life is so sh*t you have to sit still and wait until it gets easier.

When you are brought into contact with people who would rob you for your eye and charge you for the eye extraction, people who turn lying into an art form, it can be difficult to believe you believe in anything at all having encountered them.

Sh*theads are not everyone, they just stand out. They give the impression that there are more of them than there are of us. There aren't. If you think about the amount of people that you encounter in any given day, none of them spat in your face, carved you up in traffic or stole your dog. But one might. That's the one we tend to remember.

That's what my deep thought was about -- how many more ratchets can be turned before I start screaming? I was dealing with unpleasant types, who want something for nothing and they got it, the trouble was they got it from me.

The turn-around came from the concern friends showed. Then, of all professions, a bank manager listened to my choices and said I had made all the right ones for family reasons. Another member of a profession not known for its concern gave me this advice: "Don't worry about me, you're the important one here. I deal in commodities, this is your life. Your priorities are about what kind of life you want to live, not what investments you may or may not have lost."


Then a friend called with another piece of wisdom: successful people allow their passion and talent to guide them in life -- they have an undivided heart. They don't get worried about anything but the important things. They have the courage to display themselves honestly and behave with the same.

"You've just been knocked for being one of those people," she said. "Get back into your own game."

A former student emailed me to ask if I knew how much her cohort respected me. I felt like the dominos had fallen in the right direction to bring me straight to the centre of things.

In the past week I have lost every cent I have ever made. But I have not lost anyone I love. I've felt foolish as I got mashed in between wheelers and dealers and came out naive. But I did not come out with regrets. I hope this honesty does something for all those thirty- somethings in my situation. Too many.

I was mashed and I love MASH, the '70s series starring Alan Alda. I have a quote from him: "You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."

Suzanne's memoir, Heartlines, which features some of her Herald writings, is published by Londubh Press at the end of this month and can be pre-ordered on their site