Updated: May 5, 2019
I'm sitting here, on my first day of being 54 (yesterday was my birthday), and I can't help but reflect. Blogging is not something I've done before, but apparently I'm getting old (how did I get to 54?), and this old person is starting to feel the need to journal. Who does anything with paper and pen these days? Certainly not me! So, I figure if I'm going to journal then I may as well blog. This is not anything I've done before, so here we go...
My thoughts today are about the life events that came together so that GSL could be born. Isn't it amazing that out of the worst times, the best are born?
Over the last decade my life's work has come to fruition - well, at least that's how it feels to me. My passion, my purpose, whatever it's called is social equity. More specifically, it's kids; kids who are born with or acquire a disability. I know 'life isn't meant to be fair', but wow, how early does this life lesson need to be taught? All the exclusions, judgements and discrimination just isn't fair. How on earth can a child grow up with a healthy sense of self with all this going on? I have a family and my kids are my world, so my feelings extend to parents and families and all that they bump into when disability touches their lives. The hurt that any parent and family feel when something happens to their child, or when their child is hurting.
Somewhere around 2009, or 2010 I lost my way. Our kids were in primary school and Rudolf was establishing his teaching career. All was fine, but that was it; everything was just fine. Not good, not spectacular, just fine. I looked to my work for direction. For the entirety of my career my work had been a source of achievement and satisfaction. I felt I was making a genuine difference in people's lives and that felt important to me. I had never really worked for the income (naive I know) but somewhere around this time work became work. I was driving into town to work, and driving back out, without any sense of purpose or fulfillment. I started to question whether anything I was doing was any good; I started to doubt that anything I'd done in the past had any value; and, I started to see all the holes and gaps in the 'system' I was working in. I couldn't help but question that even though there were many like me working hard in the sector, nothing seemed to be changing. Everything felt shallow and meaningless. All that hard work - what was the point? This was a very difficult time in my life and depression crept in.
Rudolf was there for me. He brought balance to my perspective when it became too dark and he loved me better when I cried. I went through a period of months when I wasn't enjoying being in my own skin. At some point in that haze I went to the doctor to get some help, we planned a family holiday to get away and I tried very hard to imagine a different reality. I'm not sure when I happened across the quote: 'anything that is, can be otherwise' and I'm not sure why it resonated, all I know is that I believe it to be true. Somewhere in all of this haze, pain and darkness, I applied this quote to my doubts and cynicism about what I could do to make a difference in our sector (at least in my little corner of the world) and an early concept of GSL started to form within me.
I spent some time writing a concept paper so I could explore what I was thinking and I shared it. Others listened and I could sense their positivity about the concept. While we were on holidays, Rudolf and I talked about the concept. He listened to my dream and tested it against reality. As I pondered on what he questioned and explored with me, I could feel flickers of hope and purpose.
That holiday was in the September school break of 2010 - just after the Easter of 2011 we opened doors. In the six months between, I got busy setting everything up. The sticking point was money. I went from bank to bank trying to raise some start up funds. None was forthcoming. I was incredibly naive about being an entrepreneur; I wasn't even aware that's what I was doing. I had no business experience and it didn't occur to me to learn. In a way, I'm glad I didn't because the odds of us succeeding were so ridiculously low, I didn't know we were almost destined to fail. At the time, all that was driving me was the concept.
I couldn't secure financial backing and I didn't know how to start without it. I was completely committed to GSL by now and Rudolf was completely supporting me, so we risked everything and raised what we could in credit, in our own name. This is absolutely and unequivocally something I would not recommend anyone doing. We risked our house, our life style for years to come, and we risked our children's future. In hindsight, it's the most spectacularly stupid thing I have ever done, and yet, here we are!
I suspect there are many blogs to follow with stories of how we got started, our ups and downs along the way, and of the remarkable people who have shaped GSL along the way. For today, and for this blog, my thought is: 'wow, what a ride!'.
I read somewhere about all life experiences forming dots, and it's for us to form lines between the dots to make meaning of these experiences. My dots come from my work, my family and all the places we have lived, and the lines presented me with GSL. Who knew it would become 'a something'. I am so proud.