So I reached a milestone birthday today. I won't bore you with the details but there is a "0" at the end. A rather pushy journalist published my real age TWICE in the national press last year so it's no secret if you want to do a stalk and find out how old I am.
It made me start thinking about where I was in my life 10 years ago. And I distinctly remember writing down where I thought I would be right now:
- Be living back in Perth
- Be married to Monkey Boy
- Have at least one kid by now
- Not be working in TV anymore
- Something about yoga? Geez that one fell off the wagon.
That's where my list kind of ended. I knew I didn't want to be doing what I was doing career wise forever but I didn't know what it would be. But back then I could predict one thing about my future. I knew I wanted to be happy...
Just over 10 years ago, 10 years and 4 months ago to be precise one of my best friends committed suicide and it left not just me but the whole of Australia baffled. She had everything to live for, she was young, beautiful, had a fantastic fiance, the best job out of any of our graduating University year and she had the world at her feet. She was a newsreader for a commercial TV station, based in Sydney reading local as well as national bulletins and she was making a real name for herself. Then one day she just jumped off a cliff with absolutely no warning*.
At the time I made a spur of the moment decision and I now realise, I had discovered the meaning of life. I decided that I didn't want to work in "News" anymore. I did not want to go to work and look at all of the worst things happening in the world every day and help to broadcast this horror and sadness for the sake of ratings and selling advertising. To keep myself from crying in the workplace, I had to concentrate on doing things that made me happy. So rather than quitting my job working in TV news I just moved over to the other side of the newsroom, and I started working in Sports and Entertainment. I went from going to work and spending 8 hours looking at dismembered bodies in car bombings in Iraq to watching sport. I would go to work and get paid to watch tennis or soccer or movies all day long. This made me happy.
Working in sports had its perky perky chesty perks
It's not until recently a mate spent a shit tonne of money on therapy and came and told me: "I've spent thousands of bucks to find out the meaning of life, and it's just to be happy. So long as you're not hurting yourself, anyone else, or any property or the environment - just do what makes you fucking happy. I wish I still had 3 grand though."
So do I think you should quit your job that pays your mortgage and puts food in your families mouths because it doesn't make you happy? No you shouldn't quit. Because not being able to pay your mortgage or feed yourself will end up hurting you and your family.
But do I think you should start looking in to being a part time porn star, weed dispensary worker, NASCAR driver... etc hell yes! Make some small changes in your life every day, week, month, year that will make for a happier future.
Who knows, with enough small changes in 10 years time you could be writing uplifting emails to thousands of people every Friday and paying your mortgage with a globally successful Poo Themed Hot Sauce.
Now go and follow your stupid fucking dreams,
*Charmaine was misdiagnosed as depressed when she was actually Bi-polar. Which meant she was unnecessarily prescribed anti depressant, after anti depressant after anti depressant which lead her down a rabbit hole of making the lows lower. She did not understand why the pills weren't working for her, over a period of nearly 10 years. For such a contentious person this must have been hell for Charmaine. There was not a lot of information about depression and suicide back then. RUOK Day only started 2 years after Char's death in 2009. We really have come a long way in the mental health space in Australia since then. I like to think Char's death has helped Australia to wake up to mental illness. Aussies if you are suffering in any way please give Beyond Blue a bell - 1300 22 4636. Americans please call Lifeline - 1800 273 8255.