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How to handle the jandal when things keep not quite working out how you hoped

Resilience

Two days ago I had a mini-meltdown at what seemed like the 20 millionth thing I was excited about falling through once more.

A couple of months ago Bloody Good Bloke and I were discussing moving to northern NSW (to be warmmmm, and in nature, and around more happy, chill, incredibly friendly people), and it was looking more and more like we were going to be able to make it work with his job.

I’ve been returning to Byron Bay and the surrounding areas for years, always saying I couldn’t wait to move here, but unable to commit because of my previous partner’s job (and also, his mistrust of hippies!)

I can’t tell you how excited I was that my dream might finally be possible, that I could move up to near Byron with new(ish) my partner in crime, and be back around some of my closest friends who have moved here over the past few years too.

I’d begun researching and planned a trip up to do a reccy mission and see how we could make it work, being that all of Australia appears to be moving here at this very moment, and accommodation is scarce! But I was determined to make it work.

A few weeks later, BGB got offered an un-passupable job opportunity. The kind of job that you couldn’t have written more perfectly for him. One that had hundreds of applicants, working on a groundbreaking study on anxiety.

Based in Melbourne.

When he told me, I felt a strange combination of incredible excitement for him with his new job so perfectly aligned with his passions, while simultaneously devastated that my hopes had been foiled by the epic-job gods!

While his dream came true, mine got sidelined.

I was faced with the not-so-ideal choice of moving without him and doing long distance indefinitely, or staying in Melbourne, where I’d been feeling less and less comfortable.

I have LOVED living in Melbourne for many years, but have been noticing the impact of living in a busy city more and more. For the past few years, I’ve been feeling more and more drawn to living somewhere a lot less hectic and concretey.

Being unable to leave the city for most of last year solidified it for me – inner-city life no longer feels good for me, at least not unless I can escape it for half the year, which I had been doing by traveling and working overseas for many months every year, pre-covid.

When I realised my dream was no longer going to be possible, I was torn between acceptance and guttedness.

Pre-mindfulness I’m certain I would have gone into full victim mode and moped in despair.

Post-mindfulness me moved pretty quickly into acceptance and started working out what was possible instead. But then I also relapsed into a bit of victim, poor me story mode. And then back to acceptance. But still with some “argh why isn’t it working out for me” ego moments sprinkled in for good measure.

Neville began to compile a well-researched (if a little biased) story that things weren’t working out in my life anymore and that things I was excited about kept getting “taken away” at the last moment. I’m sure many of us have felt that way in the last year.

Neville ran through the archives of my brain pulling out evidence that things were no longer going to keep working out.

  • The epic contracts I had worked really hard to win with big corporate clients that got canceled or postponed indefinitely by Covid.
  • The 22k I lost within 3 days of the Covid second wave hitting Melbourne.
  • The holiday with BGB that was canceled by the second lockdown the day before we were heading off.
  • My awesome new flatmate who turned out to be a triggering creep.
  • Christmas spent completely alone with BGB after yet another set of Covid restrictions meant we couldn’t leave Victoria to join BGB’s family for Christmas (and unable to get to NZ to see mine for the past year)
  • New Year’s eve driving away from our friends at 10pm and instead bringing in the new year in a 5-hour queue of sleep-deprived drivers panicking to rush over the border of NSW and VIC to avoid another 2-week quarantine.
  • The small but very painful surgery I waited 8 months to have that now has to be redone because it didn’t work.
  • And now, my hopes of moving to Byron also scrapped.

BGB and I concocted a plan to see if we could spend some of the time living in a tent/van set up in Byron (cliche, I know!) and some of the time back in Melbourne, which was starting to feel like it was all falling into place.

Miraculously, a friend of BGB’s had a van he was happy for us to borrow and stay in as well as two big tents, and a friend offered us a beautiful piece of land to live on near her house.

But then when we got up here, the van broke down before it made it to Byron, and then the friend’s land also fell through!

Neville melted down once more.

But this time, I’d recently seen a friend who’d said something that really stuck with me.

“Ah life eh, isn’t it so great? It never works out how you think, and it’s so great because it shows you even better things that our limited minds can’t even imagine possible!”

A day later I got an email from a meditation teacher that said:

“May you never get what you want and may your wishes never come true!

Because your potential, and life’s gifts to you, are so much more that you could ever possibly imagine.”

Take that, Neville!

The next day I found a great studio for us to rent near a beautiful beach, and the owner said she’d hold it for us for a day while we worked out one thing.

Then she gave the lease to someone else without giving me the option.

Disappointed slapped me in the neck. But this time I was equipped with my new perspective.

Sometimes life not working out is the greatest gift.

Or as my mate the Dalai Lama puts it,

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

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