The past couple of years, I’ve found myself writing a reflective blog in January. It’s become a bit of a tradition now.
Gone are the days where I put all of my hopes and dreams into one new year, declaring this is going to be it… “my year”. These days I am a little more practical. I know there will be highs, but there will also be lows. It’s all part of the beautiful package of life and my expectations are a little more realistic. It’s not pessimistic, it’s just being real.
I’m the eternal optimist and find it almost impossible to not to see the positive in every negative or challenging situation. I’ve been hard-wired this way ever since the day I lost my first born child back in 1987. Being ‘real’ about your expectations of all the things that are supposed to make you happy, is an entirely different thought process. I don’t lower my expectations of happiness, I just find it in places that many others don’t.
So 2015…the year that was. So many beautiful moments. My daughter married a most wonderful man, then came the news I am going to be a grand-parent. These two magical moments are definitely the highlight of not only my year, but my life to date. Nothing tops that.
Another surprising highlight was being nominated for Australian of the Year. Now I’m a small scale operator in the scheme of all the wonderful things people are doing in our communities on a national level, but the nomination itself reduced me to tears. Happy tears. Grateful tears. To be recognised by my peers for making a difference in the community is an absolute honour. It’s not why I do what I do. I’m not after accolades, helping others makes me feel good. Simple as that. But hey…I’m going to celebrate the sh*t right out of that baby come this Australia Day!
Some amazing opportunities (rewards) that came out of my community contributions last year were the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service fundraising trek to Machu Picchu in Peru and being selected to take part in the Ronald McDonald House Life Changing Adventures TV series (filming is coming up this year). Meeting so many wonderful people on the trek itself and through my fundraising activities for both charities throughout the year is something I would never have experienced, had I not chosen to do what I did.
All of those positives aside, I reached the end of the year exhausted and vowing to give up all my charitable adventures and concentrate on a career.. in what, I am yet to figure out. You see, some of the lows in 2015 revolved around my constant search for that elusive (so far) “do what you love, love what you do” job. The “find your passion” perfect scenario that will make you so damn happy. This search has been going on for about 3 years now… Maybe I’ll never find it but it hasn’t stopped me diving into the unknown and hitting the ground running in new environments. I’ve placed my faith and future in organisations that weren’t aligned with my values, with people I didn’t know, with people I did know. You name it, I’ve pretty much done it all… mostly with a smile on my face.
The beginning of 2016 for me has been similar to the past few years now. I’m still searching… but I’m much wiser and my expectations have changed. I’m slowing down and actually taking the time to enjoy the journey (as financially challenging as it can be at times). Listening to my gut has been the biggest learning curve. Understanding what my reactions and responses to situations are telling me and making decisions based on my level of comfort and what it is I feel is right. Funnily enough, it takes ‘guts’ to put this into action, but isn’t that what it’s all about?
As for my love of charities and helping people…I’m trimming a few branches to make space for myself and family but I’ll never stop completely. It’s part of who I am. Thinking about a life without it doesn’t make me feel particularly happy. I’m going with my gut on this one…