For the rest of you? Sit back and (for added effect), play this track- because even though I heard many songs on the night in question, this is the one that still lingers from that moment in time:
It’s New Years’ Eve, 2010. I’m standing on the rooftop of the friend of a mates’ place, just near the Storey Bridge in Brisbane, people around me, waiting for midnight to strike and the fireworks to shriek and crackle across the city skyline. I look up at the starry sky and think of what I’ve endured these 12 months just gone.
Not only do I work full-time in a retail job I have no desire to go up the ranks in, but the stress of the Christmas season rush has left me fed up- and if I ever hear young Michael Jackson’s rendition of ‘Frosty the Snowman’ again I will break something!. On top of that? In less than 10 hours from this moment, I’ll be opening the store to cater to people who need alcohol at 10am on New Years’ Day. A job I don’t care about had stopped me getting here until 10pm- and less than 12 hours later I’ll be forsaking sleep to go back there…
It isn’t just my job. I feel unfulfilled in other ways- I have plenty of friends on the scene and most weekends or even weeknights I’ll be out doing something. But beneath that happy, often drunken face in the camera flash I feel like a largely unlovable, unattractive person with little to show for my life’s efforts or the talents I apparently have. Sometimes I’ll grab a six-pack on the way home from work mid-week, put on some tunes when I get home and drink the lot just because it numbs the anxiety. I’d gone through a period in the middle of winter where I’d wake hours earlier than normal, a balloon knot in my gut and a heavy weight in my chest, thinking that this was about my level. That despite my frustration and anxiety, the life I had was the life I deserved, with no idea how far off I might be from having a chance at actually getting my shit together and feeling comfortable enough to do life my way- instead of feeling like the only way I’d ever get where I wanted, was by living my life as somebody who didn’t match the voice on the inside.
I’ve overcome the worst of that by now, though. The last couple of months, more or less the time since my birthday, have brought a few reminders that I’m not too far off the familiar track. So I’ve worked my way back, Christmas has come and gone and now here I stand, watching the night sky with friends and waiting for midnight to strike.
Soon enough, people count down. The sky lights up and the boom of fireworks echoes high above the Brisbane River. I get a feeling like I’m on the very edge of something. Like turning on the TV to a commercial break and you don’t know what’s coming but you feel it. I find myself thinking of what I’ve been through the past 18 months, how far that is from how I want my life to be, at heart.
Whatever it takes, whatever I have to do these next 12 months- I’ll do whatever I have to do to get where I want to be. I’ve had enough of this. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve had enough. I'm done with it.
I decide then and there. There on the rooftop, I feel free and uninhibited. I feel as if there was a record with my name on it and my reputation and all these awful truths about the state of my life and who I “really” was- and now it’s all been wiped clean. I suddenly feel that, from here, I could become anything and take any direction I want.
I drive home early that morning. I still have to rise and head off to work to open the store hours later. My life doesn’t become a constant highlights reel overnight. But in those next 12 months, steady, definite changes take place. I quit my job, start at a new one, I meet new people and form stronger bonds with people I already know, I move house, my parents move house. New things began to manifest in my life. Since then, so much more has changed further- the state of my life, how content I am, the things I appreciate and recognise, the quality of my thoughts and how I spend my time and the way I feel each day. It didn’t all manifest straight away. But the entire journey since that night? It all began with just that one decision, on the rooftop that Summers’ night at the end of 2010.
This (like my decision to build my dream railway at the age of 6) is an example of what manifests in life when a person makes a firm decision. There is weight behind a decision that has far more power and momentum than we might think to begin with. There are things you dream of that can translate into reality, to the point where you almost take it for granted. There are great opportunities, ideas, experiences and people you haven’t even thought of- all waiting somewhere down the line, on the other side of you making a firm, resolute decision- one way or another.
Whatever you dream of, whatever your heart goes out to- I encourage you to answer that yearning, that desire that won’t sleep. As soon as you know it?
Make a decision.
Make it so clear and absolutely that you remember it. You won’t believe the journey it takes you on…