“I met Judy during my first year of tech.  She was the first girl I ever loved.  I’d swung and missed so many times, it was odd having somebody who finally reciprocated my feelings.  I’d never been very comfortable with girls in high school. I didn’t have a core group of friends.  I was a mischief and an athlete.  And before I met Judy, the only thing I had going for me was my love for life adventures.  I was always able to make good out of bad —so I sort of clung to that.  I became a sort of free spirit.  I wouldn’t even sign up for classes because I didn’t think I could make the grade and spend most of my time running my car cleaning business. But Judy was not the biggest influence in my life. Before I met Judy I went out with Anne. She changed my universe. I met Anne after I failed high school and luckily before I met Judy. My results were so bad from high school that I got rejected from every university. So, I took a really bad job as an engineer’s assistant working for the government. I resigned myself to this failure and the life it was going to create. Then, I started dating Anne. She’d been accepted into a great law school, and was also doing Arts. She refused to accept that I was such a failure. I finally felt like a cloud was being lifted. Anne wrote to every Uni to apply for a “special one year rethink” Twenty or more rejections arrived by she persisted and finally I got into a low end Uni. But, I was in the top quarter of my class.  Anne and I broke up around then because she spewed up in the back of my car and her parents forbid her from ever seeing me again. I never saw Anne again,But during my final year, of environmental engineering, I got work experience in a factory and I had to drive past Anne’s house every second day. I felt so much love for her. She never knew it though. Sometimes I wondered what would happen if I stopped. But by then, Judy and I were married. Taking a trip to Anne’s parents’ house, would have been a bad accident.  I had three children with Judy but if it weren’t for Anne, that would never have happened.  I built four companies and lived all over the world, including New York, and if it weren’t for Anne, that would never have happened either. I find it extraordinary the sliding doors that make such a magical difference in our life. Thirty years later when the doctors scanned my spine for they discovered a benign tumour.  My back surgery was scheduled for the next week.  The surgeon told me to expect some nerve loss in my legs during my recovery, but it was much worse than I expected.  I was in so much pain, I wondered whether it was worth it. I was on a lot of drugs. Big mind numbing drugs. In this crazy space I’d ask the same questions over and over.  Sometimes I couldn’t remember conversations that happened earlier in the day.  But I remembered Anne, after so many marriages, Anne was still the biggest influence and she didn’t even know it. I ended up stopping the drugs. I needed to clear my mind.  Eventually I was able to get back to work, but eighteen months later the surgery failed and I had to do it all over again. And then another 18 months that second surgery failed. The third one worked.  It’s strange that, even though Anne was in my life for only three months, over the past thirty-seven years, it’s been a constant reminder never to give up. I think it was Anne who taught me the power of convincing myself that I’m actually normal.  To convince myself I’m still smart.  So Anne has been a total angel.  She’s always in my head convincing me not to settle for less.  And that nobody needs to be perfect.  Whenever I get down on myself, Anne tells me to stop comparing myself to means and averages.  She reminds me that she did not go out with me because I’m smart.  Or because I’m an athlete or entrepreneur.  She dated me because I’m a good person.  And I’m deserving of love on those grounds alone. Anne is the one who told me to send in my application so I could do what I loved.  She wanted me to tell the world about the environment.  I now work on the Inner Environment.  And I just wanted to send her thanks for always being there, in the back of my mind.”

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