Thursday, 15 May 2014

Affirmation (the Stephen Sutton effect)

This wasn’t a planned post. I went for dinner last night and I planned to blog about that (which I will, tomorrow, so if any of you are sick of all this talking I’ve been doing lately, then don’t worry!) But the reason I started blogging in the first place was because sometimes I feel compelled to write, and because before I had somewhere to release them, they didn’t have anywhere to go, and that was the whole point of this really. And this is something I feel compelled to write. So here we go.

Stephen Sutton died yesterday. He had bowel cancer. He was only 19. I never met him, I didn’t know him. But I cried in the office when I found out he had died.

In his too-short life, Stephen wrote a bucket list and fit as much as he could into the time that he had. Rather than breaking down when he received his diagnosis, he said cancer gave him a ‘kick up the backside’, and he went to a music festival, met bands, went sky diving, went on television, met countless celebrities including the Prime Minister, and raised – to date – over £3m for teenage cancer (donate here). He has a legacy and I think, I hope, he died knowing that he changed things. To quote Stephen himself:

‘Unfortunately I haven't got much time left, but I just want to reiterate to you all what a great time I've had recently.
I don't really want to die, but hopefully my journey has influenced a lot of people for the better and taught people not to take life for granted. I think it has, and will hopefully continue to do so in the future, so in a situation that seems so unfair and without explanation, at least there has certainly been some purpose for me in my short time alive, which certainly helps ease the pain.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about negativity and people who seem to almost actively pursue it, complaining all the time, never happy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to get caught up in a bad day – it’s almost impossible not to. There’s no milk for your coffee in the morning, you drop your keys in a puddle, there’s traffic, you’re late, your boss blames you for something you didn’t do, you have a headache, oh god you forgot to buy the milk AGAIN… it just never ends!

Except…it does. One day it will end, and you don’t know when and you don’t know how, but one day you won’t get to wake up and think ‘Is it seriously raining again? And have I really had seven hours sleep? I feel more tired than I did last night. Oh crap, did I forget to iron a shirt again?’ So… as hard as it is, maybe we should all try to see the good in those things. Laugh at them. Or let them go and focus on the positives. Because someone, somewhere, wishes they could just wake up and be lucky enough to worry about the little things that make up your whole life.

It really should be a kick up the backside for all of us. If someone can have cancer and know they’re going to die and still think ‘right, well, I’m going to enjoy myself as much as I can,’ tto the point where on their deathbed they say life has been good…then really, we should all be ashamed of ourselves for getting so upset when we’re, I don’t know, upset because we don’t have any hot water or because our council tax has gone up (two things I will admit to having got really annoyed about this week).

So I want to take something from Stephen’s death and I hope others can too. Even if you just hug the people you love and be grateful, as you put your arms round them and feel their heartbeat, that yours is beating back. Or do something that make you happy, even if they’re just the little things, like eating a chocolate bar when you’re on a diet (f**k it, life’s too short) or staring at the sky, or reading a book late into the night. And appreciate that you get to do them and that someone else doesn’t and would if they could. Just find some good in things when you can.

I hope nobody thought this was too preachy or overdramatic – everything I write sounds like a bit of a cliché, but I wanted to write it anyway! 



  1. This was actually a really nice post :) It is important that people realise there are more important things in the world than a bad day. It may feel like the end of the world when it's happening but it could be worse, and people need to remember that! I know people have personal struggles and i'm not belittling that at all, I just agree that sometimes you have to actively avoid the negative and focus on the positive! :)

    Love Amylou x

  2. Very well said. But I might add, that not all "negative sounding" people are the same. There can be the ones, who are suffering of depression or another mental illness, who might love to be positive, but can not do it due to this reason. There can be the ones, working their ass off at work and don't get any recognition from their coworkers. What I am trying to say is: not all people who nag or whine are the same.

    I like your overall message though. It reminds me of the story about this youtuber/vlogger, who has brain cancer, and is also a musician or bandmember. I think it's brave and at the same time memorable to live life to it's fullest as they do. Maybe I'll try to put some more positive energy of them into my bitter "what about the future" thoughts :)
    (P.S.: Please don't stop with posting "talking posts"; I love 'em!)

  3. Such a good post!! Well done
    L x

  4. Fantastic post.
    Stephen was an absolutely inspiration, and he still is - what an incredible legacy!
    It makes me realise I need to think twice before complaining, and just grab life by the you know whats!

    Shannon Rebecca | Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle


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