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Is your soul wagging its tail?

Emma Grey

“Our minds would go wild with ‘what ifs’ if we lived every day as if it was our last, but I’m going to look for ways to shine. Ways to tickle curiousness. Ways to smile.

Mine hasn’t been over the last few months, and I realised why last week. After a few big deadlines, big family stressors and other distractions, I threw myself into a new novel draft, and fell deeply in love … not with the characters (though I do love them) but with who I am when I write fiction.

When I resigned from the public service in 2009, my boss tried to talk me out of it. Apparently, I was good at my job. I had an ‘outstanding service’ award from the CEO, which I still feel I didn’t deserve. I didn’t feel worthy because my heart wasn’t in it. Not at all. The CEO didn’t hear my thoughts. He didn’t feel my heart sink when I drove into the car park each morning. He didn’t see me watching the clock as I did the ‘right thing’ and performed in my job.

My second daughter had to choose her Year 11 and 12 subjects last week, and said, “This feels like the most important decision of my life!” No! No, no, no!!!!

I posted on Facebook about it, and my friends rallied like the angels they are in convincing her just how totally misguided that belief is. I wish I could include 30+ comments here, but here are some:

I say “choose subjects/friends/thoughts by one criterion: do more of what makes your soul feel likes it’s wagging its tail”. THE END.

I was pushed and pushed into doing my TEE (ATAR now?) so I did it, stressed myself out, missed out on doing things with friends etc and ended up getting a decent score but it wasn’t what I wanted. I thought it was the end of the world. Then when I didn’t get my first uni preference I thought my whole life was ruined. Well, I ended up becoming homeless at 17, working 16 hour days from 18, having a baby at 19 (and four in total by age 25), and after trying out FIVE different degrees I am finally settled on what I want to do.

When I look back on the last 11 years since I graduated, my subject preferences from Yr 11 and 12 rate riiiight down low on the scale of things that have defined my life so far.

So many opportunities available.. Have fun! Try something new. Do things you love, enjoy or pick one that you find easy… Just SHINE

I watched so many people go to uni because they thought it was the ‘right thing to do.’ Two years into the degree they leave and work at wherever. I will be telling my girls to have a year off after year 12. It doesn’t matter when you work out what you want to do with your life. Most people change a few times anyway.

Do what inspires you. I didn’t… and chose physics, maths and biology. Dismal fail on all counts except English and French… so wish I had known that years 11 and 12 would have SO LITTLE influence over my life beyond age 17!

Choose things that tickle curiousness. We chop-and-change all the time…I’d say, “look at what you’re passionate about…laughter, colour, humanity etc.”

Whatever makes her smile is a good place to start.

I was pressured to do sensible subjects by loving and well-intentioned parents instead of drama, which I loved… went on to do a degree in drama and literature… I loathed most of my last two years of school unneccessarily… and loved every minute of my degree… do what lights you up inside. Life is a grand adventure 🙂 Let it be filled with joy whenever possible!

These were all people dishing out absolutely the best advice to a teenager. But what about us? What about being 40-ish or 40-plus and still facing career choices, as we all do?

Today, I heard of a friend of a friend, and husband and father, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and has been given, completely unexpectedly, only a few weeks to live. Our minds would go wild with ‘what ifs’ if we lived every day as if it was our last, but I’m going to look for ways to shine. Ways to tickle curiousness. Ways to smile.

For me, it’s escaping into writing fiction, but what is it for you? Do you know, yet? And are you doing something about making time for it?

Our workshop, The 7 Mindset Gremlins That Mess With You Most (and how to get your stuff done anyway) is proving popular. Tickets are selling fast, and if you’re looking for fresh ways to get a lot more done, in the areas you love the most, you’ll love it! Limited seats. Early bird tickets available.

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Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

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