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:
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