I Don’t Care

I was originally planning on writing about melancholy, an emotion I experience with pleasure every time it arrives. I am sitting in The Botanical Gardens on a gorgeous Autumn day, however, and it just doesn’t feel right. So I’m just going to wax lyrical and see where it takes me.

I am feeling particularly lucky of late. Not only am I fortunate to live in such a beautiful city, in a lucky country and be blessed with a beautiful family, but I also enjoy relative prosperity political freedom and the right to express myself how I wish. And despite the recent budget and current government in Australia, I do believe we’ve got it pretty good.

And yet there is another reason I have been doubly blessed, and that is in the most unlikely way. I nearly lost my life a few years ago, and it would be accurate to say that since then things have taken some unexpected turns. I’ve been through possibly the toughest period of my life to date, despite which I am still alive and well, privileged with so many things in life, and about to embark on a new adventure with my family, who are without doubt the most incredible blessing in my life.

It is as a result of the challenges of the past few years that I find myself in a unique and unusual position. I don’t care.

There was a time that I worked really hard, for long hours, and expended huge amounts of emotional and physical effort, in order to fulfill my ambition. I wanted to be a CEO of a listed recruitment company by the time I was 35 years old. I wanted to live in a big, beautiful house, I wanted to drive a flash car and wear a flash watch, but now I don’t care.

I have been blessed with the kind of perspective that often will only arrive after a near death experience. People who survive cancer, or a heart attack, or a serious accident, seem to be struck with an amount of clarity that usually doesn’t occur without a major trauma. Why we require trauma in our lives to realise what is really important I don’t know, and it is a question I will continue to seek the answer to.

It is clarity I possess, and I feel more rich than ever before. Because I have time. I have time to pursue my passion, to spend time with my children, to pay attention to my wife and work out what would make her really happy. I have time to explore different work options, to pursue varied paths, and to be patient while deciding what to do with what remains of this one wild, precious life.

MARY OLIVER

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