‘No’ has never sat well with me. Some may call it a stubborn streak. I prefer to call it determination.
Growing up in the middle of Australia in Alice Springs, I decided at age 11 that I wanted to be a criminal prosecutor to lock up the bad guys, to protect the vulnerable and fight for the innocents. And despite most people from my school who thought I was just reciting child-minded “when I grow up” stories, I ended up doing exactly that. I finished my law degree and ended up becoming a professional project manager, go-to-girl, master of the impossible tasks. I created and craved a loud busy life saving the world one person or project at a time, and became an expert at solving everyone else’s problems. But it came at the expense of looking after myself and ignoring the biggest project to manage: My Life.
At the age of 30, I had a rock thrown at me – it was the early stages of bowel cancer. Thankfully it was caught in time to make a commitment to myself that I would put my health first and stop thinking of stress as a necessary fuel for my career and my body. But within a year or two, I became complacent and ran back down the rabbit hole. Then at age 37, a lump of concrete fell on my head – it was an emotional break down. I invested in myself like never before, took three months off work, then decided to uproot my entire life and move from Melbourne to Sydney to ‘start over’. But I found out the hard way that problems follow you, even across state borders. In an act of desperation to reconnect with friends and create more balance in my life, I moved again to Brisbane. But within a year, I hit a brick wall called breast cancer.
I’m now part-way through what will become nearly a year of treatment that will hopefully prolong my life, but more importantly to help me discover what my life could actually be by taking some time to breathe, reflect, and connect with all the possibilities that I am now able to create.