Keeping the end in mind helps me visualise where I intend on going and define fluid boundaries to focus my energy. It also keeps me to stay motivated and ignore the chaos of our world. I like to visualise keeping the end in mind as having selective blinkers. I think with age and grace comes wisdom to powerfully choose where to I want to sink my energy and where I want to spend my time, and with who and for what. Although, at the same remain open to unforeseen expectations and opportunities you sometimes just have to grab and sprint, while stay calm, think more and relax more often than expected.
For the last 10 years I have been saturated in the grassroots of coastal community action. This has seeded a flourishing outlook for life and set an understanding for what’s actually possible. It has encouraged me to be daring, test different ways of doing things and learn the notion of negotiation with many different people, cultures and communities.
If you read my last tangent you would have noted that I have gone back to university to study a PhD in coastal management. It’s a far away possibility from where I first thought I would end up post bachelor degree days. I once dreamt of being a coastal ranger. Now I see myself to be a Director General in Government for an environmental department, an important decision maker. Someone with the keys to our environmental future. Not because for my hunger for power, but for my hunger for change.
So, how will I get there? I have an idea but I am allowing my fluid boundaries to mould and open opportunities and possibilities. First step, is completing the PhD I have set to sail. To sail into the Pacific and watch sunsets.
Sounds romantic. Sounds like a dream. Sounds like the letter I wrote to myself on graduation day. It sounds utopia, it’s my utopia. It’s my future and it’s real, raw and I would like to think, actually realistic!
The look on my dad’s face said it all as he gave me one of his warm, safe hugs and tried on my floppy hat. He had always wanted to try one on, so I guess I made a dream come true for him too. I know he is proud of me and has so much love for me. I bet he shed a tear as I walked across the stage to accept my Doctorate of Philosophy in coastal management.
What a journey it has been. I remember my first day of university as if it was yesterday. I had ambitions on being a Park Ranger for the QLD National Parks and Wildlife Service to help save the bilbies from extinction. I couldn’t be as further away as I am from the desert plains of south west Queensland, but I couldn’t be more happier and proud of my achievements and opportunities.
My PhD was a wonderful experience, far from what other people had warned me about. It wasn’t a walk in the park. It was more like a hike through some of the most windy, lonely and crooked trails through the most majestic mountains to reach where I was always supposed to reach. To where my supervisors were guiding me, to the best views!
And I surely did get to experience the best views. I was fortunate to deeply engage and discuss the role of the coastal profession, what hinders progression and how to trigger change to understand what it means to be a coastal professional for the protection and management of Australia’s coast.
This experience opened doors and networks to meet with some of Australia’s most prominent and up and coming coastal professionals. People of influence, people who influence change. I also got to explore similar concepts overseas to broaden my horizon and ideas.
I received a scholarship to visit the California Coastal Commission, where for a month I explored the role of citizenship in coastal management decision-making processes. This opened up the opportunity to secure a Post Doctorate position at the University of California (LA) with the California Coastal Commission to study value systems for coastal leadership.
What gave me access to this opportunity was being present and staying focused. Publishing my Honours research was a huge stepping stone and looking back what I would do differently is spend less time sweating about the local environmental causes I would consistently get wrapped up in. And spend more time reading, writing and publishing. Publishing 5 papers is definitely a great outcome, and running a Nurturing Coastal Professional workshop at Coast to coast 2018 was definitely another highlight.
Falling in love with my Google calendar was the best thing I ever did and registering for the multiple workshops and writing courses has equipped me for what’s next. After Christmas I am moving to California to undertake a 3-year position at the University of California (LA) with the California Coastal Commission, where I hope to network with Think Tanks, Coastal Design Studios and join the local Coast care group.
Joining the local Coast care group will fill my love for Landcare, as I have since stepped down from Intrepid Landcare, although I am on the advisory panel to continue to drive a thriving and successful organisation for young people to act and lead with Landcare.
I knew from the beginning undertaking a PhD would be one of my greatest life achievements. Yet, falling in love with the man of my dreams and inspire and support him everyday to achieve his greatest achievements is even better. I can’t wait for us to take the next step, and that is to live and work in the US and watch sunsets over the Pacific.
So, who wants to go sailing with me? Much love, xox