Every year, the first week in August is a time of reflective celebration for me.
I celebrate the choices I made and the mistakes I didn’t.
I take this time to exhale and be proud of my story.
The story begins with a young woman who said ‘enough’ – 28 years ago, on the 2nd of August.
She went on to start a new life – with a toddler, a typewriter, her resilience and a suitcase and a half containing clothes.
I should mention that this involved returning home from abroad after having moved to Europe in the prequel to this story.
She found a job, then a home, and was guided by her resolve to survive, and to do and give her best. She put her head down and worked, focused, and built a life.
During her initial job search, she caught the attention of a recruitment agency, who did not have a receptionist at the time and offered her the position on a temporary basis while sending her to interviews until she got the job she was qualified for. They were pleased with her, and offered her the position on a full-time basis. She declined, because she knew she could do more.
Soon after she got a job she was qualified for. She started there but in time applied for another position internally, and then another and then another. Each time she had to grow and learn, and a lot was self-taught. She often requested to be allowed to do some of the tasks as an unpaid extra to her current position and workload just to get the exposure and experience. She asked to be put to the test. She had to prove herself, and she did. In all instances she did not wait for opportunities to be handed to her. She was the determined and enthusiastic driver of her own progress and development. She attended many more training courses and learnt a great deal. She did all this while being a mother and managing life’s other challenges and demands. She is grateful for those 17 good years.
The next step saw her start a new employment chapter at another company in the same industry – which became a new journey filled with much learning, development and further experience. She is grateful for those 10 good years – but retrenchment in December 2018 terminated that chapter.
So where is she now?
At the time of writing this, she is busy working on building her next chapter. The ongoing effort is greater than the reward – for now.
She continues to be self-propelled by her relentless resilient resolve, and her default positive character keeps helping her up when she’s floored by Life’s punches. The thing about Life – she has noticed, is how it doesn’t politely wait for you to get through one big life change before dishing out another. Often when you’re just managing to come up for air after being knocked down, you get hit by another big wave that leaves you gasping, and threatens to drown you when you are already weary from your efforts not to sink. I don’t think Life aspires to the principle of ‘don’t kick someone when they’re down’. But there’s a positive side to that too – it means you don’t have your misfortunes dished out in equal measures. It makes you stronger fighting off multiple blows at once. And then the respite is all the sweeter.
While my story isn’t one of easy events or effortless good fortune, it is a significant celebration for me. When I go through a low, when I feel broken and crushed, people often remind me of who I am – that warrior who conquered her fears and challenges and has survived and thrived.
And I know that I have re-invented myself many times before – and I am confident that I can – and will – do it again.
I hope that sharing my story will somehow help others who are going through a difficult time to know that they too can overcome and survive.