Today at a networking lunch, with the absolute legends from A Positive Move, I was asked to share the most ‘positive move’ I’ve made, and I had the pleasure of hearing responses from other members at the table.
I love hearing people share their stories; little snippets and tidbits of their life that have shaped who they are and what they do. The choices they’ve made, the serendipitous moments of happenstance that have peppered, or changed the entire course, of their lives. It’s the reason I’ll always choose reading a biography or memoir over a work of fiction; people – with all their realness and rawness – are the very thing that inspire me most.
My little tidbit was less focused on a singular moment or event, but rather the attitude I live my life by, which will come as no big surprise to regular readers or those who know me: to not let fear define my life or dictate my choices and to make my own opportunities, as well as take all the ones that come my way.
I shared a few examples of how I’ve applied it to my career so far – like when I was twenty-three and in the throes of my freelance writing career and I was offered a role as Editor of a magazine in Sydney. I was petrified. I had no idea what I was doing. So I naturally said yes. That was the catalyst for what came next, and what came after that, and where I am now.
Right now, in life, there’s a lot of good things happening. Really good things. It’s chaotic and hectic and, as my dear friend Steph has coined it, ‘off chops’, but it’s also wonderful and bold and at least twice a week I’m consumed by the feeling of a million butterflies clogging my stomach. I’m ridiculously content and awfully inspired and overly eager. And with that comes its own level of complexities.
If you ever want to know how good a true friend is, start killing it in life. Then kill it even more. Then soar higher than you ever have. Then get back to me.
I’m only just realising how difficult it is to navigate through the overlapping links of a friendship when you’re on Level 5 and the other person hasn’t even pressed the button to hop in the lift.
I’m only just discovering how crushing it is to watch someone completely veer away from any semblance of a good life and accept the very worst of a false one. It’s like watching a literal train wreck.
It’s harder when you care. It’s harder when your tolerance for bullshit is exceptionally low. It’s harder when you call them out. When you question their pathetic reasoning and falsities. Maybe it’s not the right thing to do. But I cannot do it any other way.
How do you ease the disconnect? How do you get the tracks to overlap and crisscross again?
A few days ago, I realised something, perhaps rather selfishly: it’s not up to me to sort out someone else’s life. And I definitely shouldn’t have to apologise for mine.
Last week, over a long lunch with a friend, I uttered something along the lines of ‘yeah, but we’ve designed our lives…’
And have I.
I recognise the ability to even do that in the first place comes from a position of privilege; privilege of being born in the best country in the world, privilege of being educated, and having opportunities, but here’s the thing: privilege only gets you so far. It doesn’t get you out of bed at 5am. It doesn’t make your choices, or your sacrifices. It doesn’t drive you, or motivate you. Privilege, if anything, cocoons you, it entitles you, it keeps you safe.
Should you ever have to apologise for being brave enough to trudge through your own muddy path?
I think not.
And maybe it’s the dry prosecco swirling about, or the gin, or the fact I’m typing this in the back of an Uber, but I’m not going to apologise for who I am, or what I’ve done, or the fact that everything is maddeningly, wonderfully, fabulously magic.
I don’t know how the tracks are going to crisscross over each other again. I don’t know how to make someone see that their misery is theirs to own, in the same way my happiness is mine. All I know is that it’s not really my problem – not for want of trying, not for lack of effort – and there’s something delightfully liberating about that.