For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to do good and pushed myself to achieve this. By my last year of uni I had an impressive list of responsibilities and achievements to my name. People would tell me they were in awe of how I seemed to ‘have it all’, but in reality on the inside I was miserable.
I grew more and more conscious of the preciousness of time but for all the wrong reasons and sacrifices were made. I was a terrible friend and daughter, scheduling my life down to five minute intervals which did not involve them.
My health rapidly deteriorated. I lost a lot of weight from stress and it wasn’t uncommon for me to be visiting my GP fortnightly, sick and overworked but still working away on my laptop in the waiting room. I eventually saw a psychologist who gave me the same verdict as my GP: my strengths had become my enemies. My resilience and discipline had seen my mind and drive exhaust my physical body which was now fighting back, yet it still wasn’t enough to make me slow down. The voices in my head were loud and clear: you're not good enough, it's all your fault, everything is your fault, you are worthless. The imposter syndrome was and still is something I have a very intimate knowledge of. I also felt this suffocating burden of the world's problems on my shoulders and I was never doing enough about it.
Soon after, I developed intense, red raw rashes across my face. We tried everything but months passed and it continued to get worse. The day I finally saw a dermatologist she gasped from the shock of seeing my face. Not what you want to hear from someone who makes a living from treating skin conditions.
At first she suspected that I may have an autoimmune disorder but I was lucky that it wasn’t the case. The treatment was the most excruciating pain I had ever been in. I cried, but not just because of the physical pain, but because all of the consequences and lessons that were crashing down on me. It had taken the stress, the drastic weight loss, the huge emotional swings, family fights, losing friends, the GPs, the psychologist, the dermatologist and now this to do this. I promised myself never to push myself that far again.
What lights my fire? What gets me up in the morning? The damn good feeling of knowing that there’s another day where I can get up and make things happen. I am so lucky to have the privileges that I do, and I don’t take that for granted for one moment.
I surround myself with everything that brings me meaning including my friends and family. I seek out opportunities to be challenged, to learn and to grow. I get to do this through my work at The Timekeeper, as a management consultant, and involvement in a few organisations which support young people.
Right now, I am focusing on living in the present. Mindfulness is a constant learning experience, a muscle to exercise, and I still often get distracted or have my thoughts caught up in something other than what’s in front of me, but I enjoy the new quality it has brought to my life so I keep at it. I want to fully appreciate everything, notice things that I haven’t before, seeking out newness and awareness. I want to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, if you will. I enjoy the journey every day.
I’ve got lots of exciting ideas for what’s next. A quote I like by Ralph Waldo Emerson is “the only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
I want to see a world where every person has their basic human rights met and is able to fully participate in society, including equal opportunity to employment, education, community, family, friends, and to have their voices heard. Sure, I’m fully aware that alone I would have a very slim chance of achieving this, but I believe in the power of people as a collective to make this happen and will play my part in this.
At The Timekeeper, I am committed to seeing us through to become an impactful and sustainable organisation. To date, we have donated over $3,000 to our impact partners to help improve the quality of time in the lives of young people through education and support services. I look forward driving change and making a bigger splash, but ultimately I hope that one day organisations like ours no longer need to exist as issues such as these no longer exist.