Make it Matter

The new job didn’t work out, but that’s ok because that’s what being adventurous is all about: finding stuff out about yourself and about the rest of the world, and using that new knowledge to forge a better and more exciting path.

I thought the job was really cool and I enjoyed the time I spent doing it. The other people were decent guys and I liked the camping aspect of it. I just couldn’t cope with all the driving. I didn’t realise when I accepted the job that there was so much travel involved every week and once I’d given it a shot I just knew that I would have a lot of trouble coping mentally with that amount of time spent in a vehicle.

I’ve come away from this experience as a different person because it totally changed the way I see timber harvesting in Queensland. Previously I thought it to be an unsustainable practise that pretty much wrecked the entire landscape, but I am forced to admit that the stuff I saw wasn’t like that at all. It was quite the challenge to accept that the long-held ideas I’d had about forestry practices in this state weren’t always 100% correct. And, if I’m really honest, I actually can’t even recall where my original ideas about timber harvesting came from. I’d certainly never questioned them.

This experience has made me wonder what other ideas I’ve got that are childish,old, silly, wrong, expired, rank, stupid and just downright idiotic; ideas that could be holding me back, ideas that could be telling me that “I can’t”.

I could have seen this whole thing as a failure: I couldn’t cope with the travel, I wasted everyone’s time, I feel stupid and useless and blah, blah, blah, woe-is-me,  but I chose to make it matter, and not in a crappy way that would eat away at my soul for eternity, but in a positive way that will allow me to build awesomeness for the rest of my life. Bad shit happens, dumb shit happens, and good shit happens too. That’s just the nature of being alive, what you do with the shit that happens to you is what matters.

Making it matter is your choice

 

 

New Job

I got a job. Yeah, I know, I can’t believe it either! This is the first time I’ve had a job in 9 years and it’s really the first “proper” job I’ve had since 2004. I’ll be working as a Ranger near a tiny place called Theodore. I’ll be living away from home during the week in a bush camp with 3 other rangers. Finally, I get to use my environmental qualifications. Yay! I’d pretty much given up on that ever happening. This is a big adventure for many reasons, but one of the biggest ones here is that I have to let go of the bitterness I’ve been hanging on to for so long.

Bitterness follows unwanted experiences—failures, disappointment, setbacks—that are perceived to be beyond one’s control (Wrosch, C. 2013)

See, I’ve always wanted to be a ranger. It started back when I was a little kid hanging out on Fraser Island with my parents. I loved the outdoors and I vowed I would live on Fraser one day and the idea that I could do that by becoming a ranger came to dominate the direction I took in life; being a ranger became part of my identity.

I did everything I could to achieve my dream, but it just never happened. I had to let it go and that really hurt. It was like admitting that everything I’d done in my life up until that point had been a mistake. Well, that’s how I saw it at the time anyway.

Letting go of my dream meant letting go of part of my identity. Instead of identifying with being a ranger I began to identify with the bitterness of not being one and I used that bitterness as ammunition against the world and against myself. I used it to justify extremely negative behaviours and attitudes, like substance abuse, misanthropy, judgement, anger and blah blah blah. I basically turned into a total shithead. Some people might think I’m still a shithead, but meh, whatever!

Anyway, what I’m banging on about here is that while I’d gotten pretty good at managing the bitterness, and despite the little stories I’ve been telling myself about how I’m not bitter anymore, and even though these days I feel like I’m driving my own boat, I have to admit that the bitterness is still there and therein lies the adventure: I have to rip it out and start again.  Basically, I have to construct myself a new identity. This is what I think I will probably look like on the inside when it’s finished:

karolina-szczur-504584

It’s ok to change the way you view yourself, the world and your place in it. It’s just not always easy, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it or that it’s wrong. Just because you’ve been doing something a certain way your entire life doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to do the same thing. If we are able to push ourselves beyond the concepts that we hold of ourselves amazing things can happen. None of us have to be narrowly defined by our beliefs and prior experience. If we can let that go:

We can do anything