Determined Yet Flexible

Numbers 6:24 – 26” The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.”

When plans don’t work out like we thought or hoped it can hurt but there will be something better for us, a sweeter dream for us to dream or maybe we need to wait longer making it more precious once it is achieved.

In 2011, when I started year 12, I had no intention to divide my work in half and complete year 12 over two years. But I struggled to keep up just doing the bare essentials thanks to Cerebral Palsy and Chronic Fatigue. So reluctantly I extended my time at High School. If I had completed year 12 within the year as planned I would have failed, no question about it, and I would have missed out on friendships when I went to university that I am grateful to have now, life wouldn’t be the same without them.

I am the queen of being indecisive. At the end of High School I was very excited I had finally decided to go to university in Melbourne and become a dietician. I was eager to shake my hometown off for a fresh start. I had finally been able to choose a potential career that matched my physical limitations and something I had a passion for. Previously I wanted to become a midwife, I don’t know what exactly drew me to midwifery except a desire to help and my love of babies. Sadly I had to choose something else because I wouldn’t physically be able to be a midwife which is the same story to so many of my career ideas. I guess what hurt most is Cerebral Palsy cancelled me out of many careers I had my heart set on; that it wouldn’t be just challenging but impossible. It is hard to change your heart. When I think about the degree I completed, a Bachelor of Strategic Communication; with its brainstorming ideas, creativity and in a PR agency setting – multiple varied projects happening at the same time, it lit my heart up differently and tapped into passions that had always been there.

Now I am back studying a new degree, a Bachelor of Commerce, after a year off. Some might term it a gap year and I suppose in a way it was. A time to press pause to work on myself and the baggage I had carried around for far too long.

Each of these changes to my plans hit hard as I struggled with my new set of circumstances. I was ready for a new beginning, a chance to reinvent myself. Not having an additional year of High School. I was passionate about health (still am) and excited to shake the past off; instead I felt the past still linger in the presence of shattered dreams. The possibilities are limitless with potential careers to Fighting Back against worry, stress, fear and anxiety that were strong enough to stop me even applying for jobs and going back to study sooner than I thought.

Panic rises up within me as I wonder what I want to do after university. A bit premature maybe but I am terrified of being in the same position of crushed dreams and shattered expectations. I have already been there and it hurts, striking you at the core of your very being. I will admit I struggle to bounce back despite setbacks. My determination has been mainly crafted through situations I have been in rather than a natural survivor tendency.

I think the reason I have struggled so much with changing plans, is that each plan I made had no room for flexibility and spontaneity, just pure determination and drive. Don’t get me wrong, you need determination to achieve your dreams but without flexibility you tend to hurt easily and lose hope (been there) when things don’t happen in your timeframe or your way.

Recently I was struggling with what to do after university and when to travel. My Mum suggested having an open – ended plan which blends determination and flexibility. For instance, I could after I finish my degree plan on running my own business, yet if I find a job opportunity that I want to pursue then go for it. In the same way plan to travel internationally within the next two to three years, but if someone gets sick and I have to cancel, it is with a new flexible mindset that allows me to rebook rather than lose hope. Each example I have planned tentatively, not definitely, which is totally new for me. It actually gives me hope for the future and joy for the present and less worry. Sure I don’t have a business idea yet nor have I decided where I would like to travel to. But that’s the idea – have a plan that you are aiming for but don’t hold on too tightly so if plans change for something more beautiful or just postponed you will be able to thrive in, not just survive, the change.

Love,

Cathryn

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