I have survived another year! And what a year to get through. Normal is no longer what I thought it was and any expectation I had about what I’d be doing was literally blown out of the water. Actually, what I’ve found in hindsight (a great sight to have) is that the year has been great – different, but great. Why am I sharing this with you?
Yesterday was my birthday and I was reflecting on an amazing journey of decisions, actions and experiences that have shaped the person I am now while reaching back into past thinking to remember who I wanted to be at this age. And guess what? Here I am.
When I reflect on this journey it reads a little like a “Ripping Yarn” or a Boys Own story (that may give you some idea of the age we’re at). There has been little that you would describe as settled, standard or straightforward over time as I took every opportunity to engage fully with Life and also then had to make the best of things when less than ideal circumstances forced change on me.
What I have learnt is that resilience is a tool that comes with experience and that those experiences that give us that are usually at the harder edge of living. The other thing that I learnt and only recently became truly conscious of is that those decisions and actions we take to get through those events have an impact on others and particularly those we are closest too. In other words, while the experience shapes our story, our story shapes others.
We all tend to live in our own version of the world and are usually unaware of the impact that we have on others and yet our paths are entwined in shared experience. In a radio interview I was listening to recently the person’s story was harrowing and she made the comment that “these experiences aren’t yours alone, we live them together”.
This really got me thinking about events I had survived as just happening to me and, perhaps because I was in such a reflective mood, it dawned on me how selfish I had been in not appreciating the true emotional impact on my family and close friends and how that has shaped our relationships together.
I totally understand why Rowena gets concerned when I start exploring a cross-Tasman sailing adventure (in cyclone season), going to trek in Borneo or doing the 1000km Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia or buying another motorbike to go touring with.
Rowena has seen me survive three heart issues including two heart attacks, one including death and resurrection, supported me through 12 months of chemo, helped me to recover over time from a deadly attack in PNG and is aware that when I lived on the boats up in the Gulf that we had driven a 65 foot trawler right through a cyclone with the eye passing over us and lived to tell the tale.
What I realise now is that every decision I take has a consequence for her as well and that in tempering my enthusiasm for life with a consideration for the impact on her it will only strengthen our love for each other and capacity to grow that love.
That’s part of my story as I celebrate today. What about yours and how your story impacts on others? Worth a thought?