Friday, 1 June 2012
25. Everything happens as it should..
As you may have previously read, when I was younger, I charged through life like a bull in a china shop. I really lived by the maxim: “nothing is impossible if you are not afraid of hard work”. And I was fearless.
My favorite aunt used to be a flight attendant for Singapore Airlines. To my young eyes, she was the most elegant person (especially in uniform!) and lived the most glamorous life. I used to think to myself, “How wonderful to jet-set all over the world, meeting amazing people and experiencing extraordinary adventures!” Yes, I REALLY had no idea! I never got to sit down with her so she could reveal how impossibly laborious the job was. All I saw was the romance of the job and never contemplated the elements of the post which I now, as an adult, realize.
And of course, I had it all worked out. I was going to be a singer AND a flight attendant! Brilliant plan, no? So, the minute I turned 18, I spent a good number of years (I think 3!) going to interviews. But I kept getting rejected. I couldn’t understand it. I was personable, friendly, helpful and, though wet behind the ears, enthusiastic (like a puppy!) – all the perfect qualities of a flight attendant!
But airline after airline kept sending me rejection letters. I never even made it far enough in the process for an interview! I was crushed. And a small part of me kept nagging, wondering if life was trying to tell me something but I was being a bit slow in catching on. But I brushed that thought away with another credo: “NEVER give up!” And so I continued trying. Until one day, I finally received a letter inviting me to an interview! I was delirious with happiness and was sure that once they met me, they would be bowled over by my infectious enthusiasm and hire me on the spot! I was already planning all the wonderful places in the world I was going to get to go to. Ah, the ignorance of my youth.
So I turned up in my ‘Sunday best’ on the appointed day where I charmed, participated in group activities, smiled, spoke clearly, led and worked as a team. But after the third round of all-day activities to cull the acutely over-subscribed list of eager beavers also wanting to become ‘flighties’, I didn’t make the shortlist. I was devastated. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t make the cut. And as I walked to my car, I struggled to hide my disappointment as I mentally went through the day and wondered where I went wrong. And the question replaying in my head? “What now? Do I keep trying?” And then I got my answer.
I spotted one of the assessors from the interview in the parking lot and plucked up the courage to ask why I didn’t make the ‘grade’. He told me he was surprised they had let me go but shared that one of the other interviewers ‘red inked’ me because she thought I was “too shy”. Me? ‘Shy’?!? I think that was the first and ONLY time that term has EVER been associated with me. But, it did give me cause to just stop and think. That maybe, a life in the sky just wasn’t meant for me. And maybe I needed to face the reality of it and what that meant. A few months later, I was offered a contract to sing on a cruise ship in Japan. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, there have been countless instances where things have not worked out the way I hoped. Some heartbreakingly big. Some thankfully trivial. But time and the magic of hindsight have demonstrated that things ALWAYS fall into place as it should – with a bit of hard work, trust, patience, AND the ability to be flexible and open to NEW possibilities.
1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer once said:
“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.”
This is an adage I have wholeheartedly embraced over the past decade and it has allowed me to be kinder, more patient, more flexible and a little less stressed – most of the time.