We are all so focussed on where we are going; the next goal, the next promotion, the next holiday, even our next home. This forward focus is needed to ensure we don’t stagnate, but, at times, we focus so much on the future we lose sight of where we are, and those who are on the journey with us. As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes need to stop at a point in the road, look at how far we have come already, and refocus with a renewed energy.
Above is the picture of one of my childhood homes. I say one of as my father served in the Australian Army for just over 22 years and subsequently moved around a fair bit as a child. At this point in our lives, we were a single income family, being my fathers. Our family consisted of my Mum, Dad, myself and a newly born younger brother. My father was a Corporal but while living in the house we would see his promotion to Sergeant. We didn’t have a lot, as the income of a serving member back in the late 80’s and early 90’s was less than desirable, but that didn’t mean that our childhood was lacking; we spent every day doing some kind of activity to stretch our physical and mental selves. I start at this point in my life, which I reconstruct much from stories and photos, for this reflective journey both because I have some memory of this house and because we have moved back to Rockhampton, the city in which this house is located.
Fast forward a number of years and many things have happened. We would move to Sydney and spend nearly 9 years there before moving to Canberra and really planting roots. My parents would finally be in a financial position to buy their first home, at 31 and 34 years of age. This meant that my mother would have to return to full time work and thus my brother and I would need to be far more responsible. With afternoons spent completing addition chores, cooking meals (where I found my love of feeding people), and finishing homework, it would be the foundation of my self reliance.
School would be school, where I graduated from year 12 and immediately began working full time in Fast Food. Jobs would come and go, and eventually I would secure a job with Employment and Workplace relations. This job would then enable me to secure my first Home. The years would go by, and the waist would began to expand. In 2008 I decided to join the Navy, and at that point I weighed 149kg and I had to be under 100kg to enrol in the Navy. I gave myself twelve months to lose 49kg and by January 2009 I would sign the bottom line, literally, and begin my basic training.
During my service I would reconnect with an old friend, Alinta. We would date, engage and marry, inside of 12 months. I was still serving in the Navy, and as most Navy people do I went to sea, two weeks after our Marriage, for 6 months. When I came home, my boss told me to enjoy the 2 weeks off, we will be going away for 11 months in the next year. Alinta and I both decided that life at sea, and being in the Navy was no longer going to work. In 2014 I discharged from the Navy, and set on new path to Ministry.
We would buy our home late 2014, move in and immediately begin making it ours. I would spend my time studying and working in the local Church. We would be blessed with our first daughter December 2015. Unfortunately, I would be laid up for an extended period when my bowel decided to perforate in early 2016. This period was painful, restrictive, and all round unpleasant. It did however give me plenty of time to think over where I was on the road and what I doing. My time in bed, or on the couch, would reveal that vocational governmental ministry was not currently in my immediate future. What I did need was a skill that was actually useful in the real world, as there isn’t a huge call for people to drive warships outside of the Navy… who knew.
So after much thought I headed down the path to become a Nurse. Firstly completing my Diploma, so that I could work and earn money whilst studying to become an RN. I am now studying my Bachelor to become the Registered Nurse I wanted to be. The skills I learnt in the Diploma set me up, not just to work, but for further study. I have felt, so far, that I have learnt more during the Diploma than I have in the Bachelor. The Bachelor does cover some of the “higher” thinking processes, but nothing a good seasoned EEN wouldn’t know or be able to work out.
I can honestly say that I love my Job. I love Nursing. Even at 2 in the morning when a patient has finally opened their bowels after 4 days, I still love my job. I look at the rest of this year and think that I have soo much left to go with my study. I sometimes feel like it is insurmountable. But I stop and look back on the road travelled thus far, I think about all the decisions that have lead to this point, I think about all the people I encountered and how every little word and conversation has shaped who I am. After reflecting on the road that has been, the road ahead doesn’t seem so bad. There are only 18 weeks left in the Academic year. 10 of those weeks I will be on placement. I graduate on the 8th of December, and I WILL graduate.
The past 30 years have culminated to this point, every person and very decision. The past 20 years have shaped how I look at others, situations, and deal with emotions. The past 10 years have been a crucible in which I have developed my attitude, my ethics, my values and my beliefs. The past 10 years has also bought me my family, my wife, my son, and my two beautiful daughters. The road thus far has seen some twists and turns, some speed bumps and seeming road blocks, but the road ahead seems slightly less foggy and confused.
Maintain the Rage