"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." - JK Rowling
I've always been fascinated with the idea of hitting rock bottom. The point in your life where things cannot possibly get worse, anything that happens to you is an improvement upon where you're currently at. I think we often have this false idea that in order to turn your life around you need to some exogenous shock. Some significant event to take place before we realise the err of our ways and turn back toward the path of light.
For some people it comes with a medical diagnosis, the loss of a love one, financial bankruptcy, divorce or addiction can all lead someone to hitting rock bottom. But these events can often lead to the best things in life, when you turn everything around, the scales peel from your eyes and you start to look at the world with awe and astonishment. I think we used to have these sorts of moments built into the structure of life, particularly around coming-of-age ceremonies. Entries to man-hood or woman-hood often involved ceremonies in which the child departs, takes a new name and is born as an adult. They get a chance to leave behind their old characters and through the renewed perceptions of the community develop new ones.
These rituals must have been powerful events, they enabled people to take on new lives. To become the person their community needs. In the modern world we have few such planned events, moments to recreate one’s life in a positive direction. For me moving out of my parents’ house to the city for University was a significant moment where I had the opportunity to recreate myself.