7 October 2013 – three year anniversary

I was reminded this morning that it is the three-year anniversary of my accident. Truth be told, I hadn’t been thinking at all about the anniversary, and even now it doesn’t mean much. It’s not something I want to celebrate (yah I survived), but neither is it any more depressing than any other day.

I’m not even sure I have any pearls of wisdom to share – lessons learned in three years. But for what it’s worth, here is a random series of thoughts:

  1. I’m thankful for? Elly and the boys (and Kate) – and all my family, mum and dad (on both sides), Daniel, Troy, Kurt and all their families. my carers (Parvene, Angeline, Stephanie, the lender – and those who come and gone). They’ve walked this journey with me, and it would have been impossible without them.
  2. I’m inspired by? John Trefry, Sheree Hurley, Don Harrison – people who have lived (and flourished) with SCI for decades.
  3. I hate? my body, Internet pornography, sexism, – did I mention my body?
  4. I believe? In God and the power of love and friendship
  5. I miss? it’s been 1095 days, and not a single one has gone by without me longing for my former life. Mostly, I miss being independent, surfing , wrestling my boys, and other things best not mentioned on a family friendly blog.
  6. I enjoy? seeing my family succeed and have fun. quality Scotch. Movies that surprise and make you think. Sailing.
  7. I’m good at? critical thinking, research, and writing (at least, I’m getting better). helping students to open their mind.
  8. I’m bad at? walking, diplomacy. My wife would say “listening” – I get lost in my own world and fail to realise that Elly has asked me a question.
  9. I’ve been blessed by? The amazing generosity of people. Just when I needed it, people have blessed me with money, time (Neil), help. I have had work colleagues prepared to get their hands dirty – literally (Andrew, Narelle). People have gone out of their way to include me, my work place especially (Alphacrucis)
  10. I have learned? patience. As my mother could tell you, I’ve been a horribly impatient person for most of my life– utterly intolerant of lateness and inefficiency. miraculously, though, I have learned to take things in my stride, and not stress too much with the slowness of life with an SCI.
  11. the vice I’m embarrassed by? if I’m embarrassed by it, why would I tell you?
  12. the best experience of the last three years? The first time my thumb moved.
  13. recent moment of hilarity? Elly: “Jacob, can you feed the dog?” 10 minutes later, Shane: “Jacob, can you please make me lunch?” Jacob: “no, I’ve already fed my share of animals today.”
  14. The meaning of life? a story worth telling, full of Joy in the face of sadness, love eliminating hate, and faith and hope conquering hardship and evil.

I’ll probably think of more once I’ve hit the “post” button, but that’s enough for a meaningless anniversary.

About Author

Shane is an ethicist and theologian, Honorary Associate for the Centre of Disability Research and Policy, the University of Sydney, and Assistant Director, Policy, at the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation against People with Disability. Shane is proudly disabled, and an occasional blogger on


  • Val
    October 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

    a tear jerker Shane. I’m sitting here with Jared Mitchison and we are having a few tears

  • labalienne
    October 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    that surprised me…why do you hate internet porn?

  • Shane Clifton
    October 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Nice that I can surprise you. It is too easy to access porn that is demeaning for women and men, and unhealthy for young men. I have three teenage boys that I hope to keep away from it. But in this day and age not really a lot that parents can do.

    • labalienne
      October 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      You’re full of surprises Shane! You are right, there are some horrific porn sites floating around cyberspace, one click away. But there’s also some quality smut out there. Have you considered introducing your teenagers to some of the better porn films and erotic literature available? Feminist, cottage industry, queer, questioning and even organic…it might expand their options and give them a real language to engage pornography with a critical (and lusty) gaze. Make Love Not Porn is a great starting point. The Feminist Porn Book is also very helpful. And here I was thinking it’s because you’re not getting any…

  • Nikhil
    October 26, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Hey mate – read a few of your posts and just found out what had happened to you and was shocked.
    A few years back I was diagnosed with leukemia and since then I’ve had many similar thoughts hating my body and the effort it’s taking to get it better. But I realised after a while that going forward I had a choice. I could stay down and depressed about something I couldn’t go back and change or I could do my all to get better and do my all to be happy in life despite all I had.
    I know your accident is very different to what I’m going through and that it’ll affect you for life. But I hope my words can help you, and maybe even get you to realise that you can choose how you view your life, no matter how hard things get. Read about my journey and how I stay happy on my blog – at

  • jaymcneill
    November 2, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Wow… this is like reading the bible – confronting. Thanks for the mind shift Shane.


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