Have you ever been watching or listening to someone talking and had a flashback to another time and place in your own life?
This happened to me last night. I was watching an online video of Anna Bligh (our former Premier) telling the people of Queensland she would resign from state parliament after she was so solidly beaten by Campbell Newman (see my blog 25/3/12).
In the video Anna spoke calmly and with very little emotion about her change of heart from the previous night when she had said she would stay on in Parliament. As Anna spoke of resigning, she remarked that she would now have time to be able to think clearly about what she may now like to do next.
Her decision seemed so sudden, so unexpected and I was immediately taken back to my own very sudden decision to retire (almost three years ago) after saying continuously that I had no intention of retiring! It does make one look at little silly yet I became aware as I watched, of a sense of excitement within Anna Bligh at the prospect of something new after such a defeat.
I recognised that I’d had that same excitement when I announced my decision to retire and study a Diploma of Publishing and find a new life for myself. And then the next thought came very quickly: I wonder if she has any idea that amidst all the excitement, this is going to be sooo painful?
At this moment as she leaves behind her old career, it seems like the whole world is her oyster – and I had felt the same way. But what I didn’t realise was that the getting from the resignation to the desired “new thing” is far far harder! Perhaps if I had seen the difficulties, I would never have set out? But I am glad I did … NOW … but not for an awful long time did I feel that way. I had a lot of adjustments to make.
This morning, I saw an image on my Facebook feed and it made me think of Anna and of myself and everyone else “out there” who may have made choices that were so exciting at the moment of announcement but which, down the track, have been far harder in the “doing” than they ever thought possible. I think it is a great line:
“YOU … can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to:
lose sight of the shore” (Christopher Columbus)
It reminded me of the time we left on a cruise to Hawaii in the late afternoon from the beautiful and serene Sydney Harbour. I had stood on the top deck with Geoff as we went out of the harbour and I was so excited about the 35 day journey ahead of us. If only I had known that within six hours, a storm would be in full swing and I would be feeling so ill that I’d wished I had never come on board! And within four days, our friends that we had sailed with, would no longer be speaking to us (as discussed in a previous blog).
Yet, when I look back on this amazing voyage through the south seas now – almost three years later – I feel full of joy for the wonderful time we had on that trip, the friendships we made and the islands we visited. Now, do you see what I mean about that saying? I am glad I had no idea what was ahead or else I might not have set out!
And so I wish to give some advice to Anna Bligh and to all those in similar positions. This decision Anna, will feel like the best decision you have ever made but do not despair if, down the track a number of weeks, you begin to wonder why you chose to do it. You MUST cross that ocean! You must go through the pain of leaving something you have known and loved (even if stressful).
You will miss your day-to-day friends. You will miss the routine that you have always known. But, you have set out on the voyage now, there is no going back. Somewhere in the middle there will be a storm and it will seem too hard but keep on going, for one of the many destinations you will face in life, is waiting up ahead for you. And once there, you will feel great; have made new friends and gained new routines.
IT WILL HAPPEN if you but PERSEVERE through the hard places in the middle and stop looking back at the shore.
Good luck to all of you that have the courage to leave the safety of that shore and embark on a new journey!
You must know in your inner being, that for you personally, it was the right time and the right decision … as it was for me.
Good luck Anna!