Updated: Nov 16
Day 25, 27 August, 2020
I don’t fear much anymore. It’s not that I am reckless, it’s more to do with the fact that after 44 years on this earth, I am finally growing comfortable in my own skin. If we focused purely on the daily news, we would never leave the house (unless in coronavirus lockdown of course). The picture painted is one of needing to be constantly on high alert, hyper-vigilant against the many threats to our safety and way of life, the latest being COVID-19. These days, I minimise my consumption of news. Don’t get me wrong, the media has an important role in keeping us informed and holding others to account, but I now allow more room for positive influences on my life. Since leaving the traditional workforce at the end of June this year, I have found myself inexplicably waking up around 5am. In my 8:30am-5pm days, this would have caused me trepidation, but I now spring out of bed with energy and enthusiasm for the day. It doesn’t mean that I have smashed out several chapters of the biography in my first month, but it does mean I have the balance in my life that I have been yearning for, for many years. I feel the happiest I’ve been since moving to Cairns a decade ago. There is a big smile on my face, even when I put in a 16-hour day working on the book, delivering media training, producing media releases, marketing our video workshops, and filming for clients. Everyone around me has been sick lately, and it finally caught up with me earlier this week. I dutifully went and had a COVID-19 test (all clear) and gave myself the chance to rest. Thankfully, I was ill for less than two days, something that wouldn’t have happened in my previous life of just trying to push through. With renewed energy this morning, I decided to start my day with a bike ride down to the Cairns Esplanade. I pedalled hard towards the rising sun, appreciating the light show on the purple rain clouds before its big reveal. I made it to the edge of Trinity Inlet just as it peaked over the mountains, leaving a golden path across the water. My heart swelled with gratitude for this peaceful scene and the opportunity I have given myself to structure my day so I can enjoy these moments. Soon after, a big burly man, who looked even less of a cyclist than me, pulled up on his bike and we greeted each other. He asked if I’d like a coffee and I sensed there would be a good conversation to follow, so I took him up on his offer. The stranger, who introduced himself as Dave, returned with two steaming cups and we sat on the edge of the wharf. He was brimming with positivity and shared that he’d just been cleared, after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer earlier this year. We talked about both having lived in the Northern Territory, his wonderful treatment at the Cairns Hospital (where I’d worked until recently), the pros and cons of shift work and how great it was to be alive and living in Far North Queensland. We parted and I stopped again along the Esplanade to watch the pelicans chattering their beaks and making those endearing throaty sounds I fell in love with watching Storm Boy as a child. I spotted a juvenile jabiru among the sea of black and white. ‘Jab jab’, as a fellow observer named him, eventually walked quietly away from the group on his long legs. The bird reminded me of myself, deciding to walk a new path, my own path. I have been doing a lot of inner work on myself lately and I recently attended a Truth Telling for Truth Seekers workshop with Kirsty Spraggon, during which she asked, “What is it you fear?”. It occurred to me that I have carried two big fears with me since early childhood: a fear of rejection and a fear of failure. It felt liberating to finally name and acknowledge how these fears have shaped my life choices, perceptions, and relationships….and to let them go. It’s probably great timing, as I am sure in business and in book-writing, there will be many rejections to come. On my ride home, I also found myself taking a new path. Before I knew it, I was pulling up in Murray Street, where eight frangipani trees stand, honouring the eight children whose lives were abruptly and violently taken in the same place in December 2014. Covering their shocking deaths had a profound impact on me as a journalist and led me to where I am now, thankfully on the other side of darkness. I am so grateful to be pouring my energy into helping people share good stories that remind us we are all human.