I am in the middle of a trip of a lifetime, touring Australia before I give what I hope to be my best keynote talk ever in Melbourne next week. Yesterday, I was thinking how fortunate I was to stare at the glowing blue waters of the Hamilton Island marina, feeling the cool breeze under the café patio, downing oysters blanketed in a sweet mignonette chased by a cool Semillon. Ah, life is good.
Something snapped me back 30 years. “You lucky dawwwwg! Daaaang!” I remember yelling that so may times as a kid when one of my friends would get a new bike, or go on a vacation, to a better uni, or basically one-up me in one of the million ways possible. Some kids just seemed to be luckier, prettier, smarter, had more money to spend at the mall, had cooler parents who would send them to dance lessons, had more than two pairs of shoes per year. Kids who just all around had it together, with a bangin' air of wisdom at the ripe old age of thirteen. I seemed to be … well, the gangly, slightly jealous kid who let things happen to her, rather than the other way around. I was always a bit ashamed growing up, that I didn’t have much substance, or experience, or beauty wit and polish, and was always happy to take a backseat because truthfully I didn’t know how to be downstage. My school books always smelled like cigarette smoke. And I didn't smoke.
After three or so decades of a string of (sometimes godawful) mistakes, like a necklace made of pumice stones, I finally learned that a person mostly controls their own destiny, and not the other way around (another blog). Yes, of course, as a hopeless romantic I absolutely love and gobble up those stories of fate and sheer romantic destiny, and voodoo, and all that sweet, sticky jazz, and yet I hold firmly to the belief that we sow the seeds of our future destinies and adventures by what we do today. Seeds we deliberately plant, tend to, care for, and clear the path for by the weeds we continually pull from our life gardens. Sure, without attention, a rogue cucumber might spring up, but one lonely cuke lends itself to a lovely martini, not a season of sustainability. We don’t grow fine gardens by watering them with magic fairy luck.
I can’t say I have it all together. I do have those moments in which I go along for the ride, not sure where the coattails may take me. (Spontaneity is definitely underrated!) But for the most part, for the things that matter, I remain in control. While the Instagram photos may appear that I’m living large in affluency’s playground this week, well, I sort of am, but I also am not. I am dialing in to client calls at midnight, working on my speech, writing this blog. Constantly thinking of my next move, my next workshop, my next iteration of an exercise of activity to enhance learning and uptake. Just… thinking. My mind a hamster, scurrying around a wheel of what’s next. It never shuts off. The next play, the next flight, the next conflict, the next stage. Those photos aren't so pretty.
So yes, I’m lucky to be here. Absolutely, without a doubt, blessed and fortunate, in that sense. But I also can’t chalk it up purely to voodoo magic. There is, without a doubt, tens of thousands of hours of work, anxiety, failure, successes that led up to this moment, somehow helping me prepare for this fine amassed circumstance. I’m on this stage because I rehearsed and auditioned. And won the part. The next audition truly excites me… a feeling that the pumice stones turn to pearls near the clasp of this profound life's necklace.