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.
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…