This night 19 years ago was the lowest point in my adult life. After six months in Sweden I had no job, no prospects & about three euro in my pocket. I didn't want to be here any more.
In truth, I didn't want to be anywhere any more.
I was a total failure.
I was very little use to her, financially or otherwise. I was still chasing the dream of being a journalist & writer, but it seemed further away than ever.
I remember the emptiness when I told her it would be OK if she just told me to leave.
Instead, she said it would be OK, and that was enough for me.
I put all my energy into learning Swedish, I pulled pints and waited tables and learned how to fix computers.
I was still broke & felt like a failure, if only marginally less so.
I drank too much. I struggled to learn how to be a father. I doubted myself all the time - but not about journalism.
With two young kids, that meant resigning from the first - and only - secure job I'd had in Sweden.
I couldn't resign fast enough.
The presents are bought, the fridge is full, and the girlfriend who dug me out of my deepest hole is upstairs asleep. She's now my wife, and has been for 16 years. Our two daughters are beside me on the couch.
I never, ever stop trying to find new ways to do what I do, only better.
But I'm older and wiser, and having done it once, I know I can do it all again.
You cannot fight their battles for them, but you can sure as hell fight them with them for a while, and that's worth just as much.
You'll get there.