2. This Extraordinary Life - A Beginning
Updated: Oct 24, 2019
I revealed to myself in my latest writings, that haphazard rush of tangled ideas and broken grammar to itchy fingertips on the keyboard, that the question of purpose was once again rolling around in my mind.
I created a purpose in my youth.
I designed a reason to be singleminded and driven and elevated above my peers by the adults that held the reigns of our lives. I would fly fast aircraft, I would be piloting advanced machines all over the world, sorties and missions, living hard and fast and sharp. This became my purpose, firstly to be accepted for training, then to qualify, survive and finally excel. This created purpose, a design of my clever brain after sifting through (my understanding of) the alternatives, results in lifelong choices from what I understood of the world at 13. My comprehension of the world in which I lived, the choices I thought I had available to me in the fabric of all my possible futures, set the course of my next twenty years. From the age of 13 I had cast the die. Who can tell youth that they don’t yet know enough…to have patience? That they cannot even imagine the things they do not yet know, not in the deepest wells of their consciousness could they understand the possibilities that may exist, if only you live first, think long and then choose.
My 13 year old self never questioned the gravity and importance of my education. I would work hard at school and then I would get a good job. This was as natural and unquestionable as the fresh country air I breathed on the wild south coast of Western Australia. To study, to work, to enjoy a well rounded childhood, this was the only way to get ahead in life, to ensure security, comfort and perhaps even luxuries such as travelling the world later in life. A job was just the fabric of my future, as it was for my Dad: a schoolteacher born of generations of farming family, my Mum a lifelong professional whose father had supported their education with the sweat and blood of his labour. They worked hard for their salaries, earned more money than they spent, bought a home. We had a comfortable life, our house in the country, more travel than most and a well rounded childhood filled with cubby houses and bush walking and team sports on rainy Saturday mornings in an innocent country town, untroubled by global events and big ideas.
It was an idyllic childhood.
It’s true, I reflect. I chose myself an amazing future.
An Air force pilot, a female one at that, emerging from a small country town on the south coast, travelling the world in service of Australia, excelling at her missions, making waves amongst her peers: an unavoidable side effect of gender and personality, making headlines for better and worse wherever she flew. Finally settling back in Perth at the instructional school, above average of the top percentile, to pass on her expertise to the next generation of military aviators.
She schooled them as she was schooled, work harder, more efficiently, mercilessly exposing character flaws: reshaping, redesigning young personalities, using their own ceaseless drive and single-mindedness as the ever burning driver of their motivation to be better. Better operators. Better humans. Sharpening, ever sharpening them into something that could and would be used at the tip of the spear, the pointy end of the Australian Air Force, a weapon of the political elite. This human weapon, reprogrammed to reproduce the logical, sequential conclusions of the computer, ensconced within the machines of war, would be used to measure and decide on life or on death, the ultimate consequences of being a master at the profession of arms.
It was a fast and sharp twenty years. There are many stories to tell of it that shaped the human I became, that I am now. The shaping was at times painful, and many times unnecessary to the end result as an operator. There was sexual assault, rape even. There was deliberate social isolation, as if gender alone was not enough to separate me from my peers, alcohol fuelled parties and social norms that must be met regardless of the cost to individual. Yes, even as I write, the joy of flashing low and fast past cliff faces and coastal surf at 400kph is mingling with the shame and grief of some of the rites of passage, some of the miscalculations and betrayals that I survived in that testosterone and ego fuelled life. My memories come with an emotion that wells up into the surface of my skin and a heaviness that sits on my heart as I think of that young woman who did everything within her knowledge and power to survive, to persevere, to emerge a victor and above all continue to learn to be a better, wiser, more inspired version of herself, always repairing the damage underneath. Healing deep chasms in her soul as she grows in wisdom and consciousness. There are chasms still to heal. I push down the lump in my throat that always rises when I dive deeper than the surface of my career.
It was an even more difficult divorce. Leaving the Air Force was like leaving pieces of myself behind, the self I had created that I knew by now was not my true self or my whole self, but it was hard to be sure. What even is a true self?
And so you see, this blog is only partly about property and wealth. It is more truely about the side effects of wealth, the space and time to live a life intimately designed by self and for self. The space and time to begin to understand where I have been, and to consciously, deliberately plan where I am going.
And so now I sit here and write about purpose, true purpose, and yet this can not be distinguished from the memories behind me, and from my current location, lifestyle, choices. The freedoms that are unfolding as money makes money and working hard becomes unnecessary to my day to day existence are giving my space and time to think and engage my creative brain. Purpose, as yet just an inkling, a nagging deep in my consciousness, now leaks into my every day.
If its true that I don’t need to work hard and swap time for money then the whole premise of the decisions that launched my last 20 years are flawed. If I don’t have to work for money to have comfort, security and travel, then what can I do with my life? Who do I have to BE, to DO what I want to do, to HAVE everything I ever wanted? Can I even just decide to have anything and everything and it doesn’t have to come at a sacrifice of body or mind or time? It is nearly impossible to comprehend the enormity of this paradigm shift that is occurring deep inside my consciousness.
Who do I want to to be?
This freedom is actually daunting. The boundaries with which we surrounded ourselves are now seen as false walls, visions only placed there as a result of the limits in our minds. If you would be anything, if work was not part of the fabric of your future, then who would you become and what would you do? There are no limits, except your own self. And so now you must face the limits in your own mind to move forward. This is harder work than any job can be: more difficult and more frightening, more emotional and infinitely more rewarding.
I thought flying fast aircraft would show me the way to discovering the very edges of myself, to learn what I was capable of, what I could endure, what of the self I could control, and in part I was right - I found some edges, and they nearly broke me but I rose and I will heal in time. Truely this journey, the journey into ones own darkest mind to discover truth and purpose is the hardest journey of all, and it is our most urgent imperative.
It's an extraordinary life.