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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.


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