Did I change my mind or is it my plan that changed?

I had a plan… it changed. My plans do change, often. I don’t think I changed my mind….

When I was a kid I had a dream to be a Nuclear Physicist. Ok, so I looked a book in the library when I was in grade 5 and I was fascinated by the crazy calculations. I didn’t think about it again until I was working in a job where I was required to study to be a Ionizing Radiation Safety Officer and remembered the little blue book I found on the library shelf while at the RAAF School in Penang, Malaysia. In hindsight, I think that little book had more of an influence on my journey than I ever realised. I applied to join the Navy in the early 80’s as an apprentice. I was so excited to commence my military life….then they asked what stream I would like to study? Nuclear Power was my response and that was the end of my journey to the Navy as it was only available to males as females were not yet posted to ships! I continued at school, my favourite subject being science. I don’t recall the year or the contents but I remember the lead box that contained something special, I never could have imagined that one day I would be the radioactive specimen in a lead box (in isolation following cancer treatment). I eventually to joined the military and pursued a career as an Electronics Technician working on radar. I left the military when I had children to care for as I could not longer commit 100% to serving my country. Time went by and I had a few jobs in-between but when an offer to work at a Navy communications station as a civilian safety officer was presented I had everything I could have wanted, working back in the world of communications, a military establishment, a civilian, a safety professional…and finally the opportunity to attend a course run by the military at the defence force university! A place that was out of my league when I was in the RAAF as I never graduated from high school.

I’m no longer working in the dream job having to leave for the sake of my sons education but that’s ok, things have worked out well and great opportunities continue to present themselves to me. Six weeks ago I was wondering what I would be doing now.

A friend questioned me recently when I was filling her in on where I am at, the changes ahead and my 2023 Grown-Up Gap Year that is being planned, ‘Are you still going to do that, you change your mind so often…??’. Six months ago I had a plan….but when I am offered a casual winter job that turns into a permanent job I changed my plan. I don’t think ‘I changed my mind’, I looked at the opportunity and went with what appears to be the best option. Who knows if it was…I will never know as I can only take one path at a time, one path that has plenty of intersections and options of directional change for me to contemplate.

One thing leads to another… it’s not my mind that changes.

What’s my plan…

I thought I had it sorted but a simple phone call changed that and now I am left wondering what road to take.

I have a dream to have a Grown-Up Gap Year in 2023 (GUGY2023) so whatever I do must feed that intention.

GUGY2023 is my celebration of what I have achieved and my reward is to be on the road with no commitments. It will be my 1st year of not being ‘legally’ responsible for my children with the youngest turning 18 in 2022, 25 years of responsible parenting comes to an end.

I never had a gap year, I finished school, went to TAFE and joined the RAAF, got married, had kids, lost everything, had cancer #1, got divorced…and have worked to keep a roof over my kids heads and give them a valuable education. There has been plenty of other ‘events’ during this time but I don’t need to bring them up until the time is right.

My life changed the day before my 40th birthday when I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I realised that I had to do my best for me and the kids. A couple of weeks later I separated from their father, had my surgery (x2) and follow-up treatment. By the end of the year I was well. I needed to go back to work and was on my way to Canberra with a Commodore and 2 kids when a mate from the surf club offered me a job to keep me here. I stayed, I loved my job and it was working well…..until redundancy was dropped in my lap. Within days I was delivering junk mail and back teaching swimming (my passion). I was offered a short-term job by a contractor who knew me through my previous work so I took it and I haven’t stopped since. In between jobs I have been studying at Uni which isn’t finished yet and I’m not sure it ever will be.

One of the jobs I had involved a relocation away from my partner. This was tough on both of us but I have always put me and my kids first as I promised I would do when I left their Dad. I came back 18 months later after my youngest son (JR) struggled with constant bullying at the school which had crossed over to after school. In a town with one road in and one road out and one school we had no choice. Thankfully, it was not long before I had a new job. This one was based in the city but had me travelling all over Australia for only a week at time. This was better than living 1376km from my ‘Fella’ but not ideal as I was relying on my family to care for JR. In addition, when I was home I was commuting 100km (1 hour) each way to the office and I hated that drive. An ad came across my feeds for a local job, so I applied and was successful. This was a company I thought I would never get a job at …but I did.  It should have been perfect. I was paid the $$ I had set as my dream number, it was local, it was on a site that I was familiar with and a scope of work that I knew well.

Hello 2020!

The year begins, JR is at boarding school, I have a great job, I’m on track until I get detoured….

I have always had my annual health checks, something that was embedded in me when I was in the ADF so late January it was time for my mammogram.  1st scan, 2nd scan, biopsy, breast cancer.

On the 12th of March the WHO announced that COVID-19 was a pandemic. I will never forget this day as it was the day I had by breast cancer removed. My treatment of 5 weeks of radiation was delayed until June due to COVID so I kept on working. I worked through my treatment but by September I was done. I was exhausted, fragile, had no tolerance and could not be bothered with the bullshit. In September I received a generic email from the Ed Department as they were short of teachers in several remote locations. I knew what I was going to do..  I applied, got the locations I wanted and quit my HSE job.  Kununurra, Meekatharra, Korda, Waroona, Boddington, Morowa and  Laverton were the towns I taught in for the next 6 months. The best medicine, I was out bush, in the water and doing a job where I was appreciated and passing on life saving skills. I don’t think it gets better than that.

The plan was set… I would teach swimming during summer and pick up contract HSE work during winter. Without a moment to spare the phone rings and I am offered a couple of months work on an 8/6 roster. I could manage being away from home for a couple of months but this roster is not what I  want to do long term. Then the tide turned, I’m on 5/2/4/3 and this job now extends beyond my expectations, potentially ongoing without and end date.

But wait….just when I think I might be able to do this until GUGY2023 I get the call.

I am asked if I am interested in a 6-month position with possible extensions, a local company, good perks, Monday – Friday. Sounds great, but then the Ed Department email comes through 2 days later for positions needing to be filled in Term 3! 

I wonder where I will be in a months time…

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus your own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.