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A Reserved Space

May 2017

Everyone has a virtual space reserved in their lives – that longing for success. We wait and watch on the shores of life, searching the horizon, seeking, scanning, craning our necks and standing on tippy toes. Generally nothing appears except the odd straggly cloud or perhaps a hungry seagull hoping that we’ll toss it a few cold, soggy chips. The sand crunches under our feet as we bide time, and we dodge the occasional discarded syringe, or ragged aluminium can. Sometimes we find a sheltered spot out of the wind, and sit peacefully enjoying the late autumn sun. Other times we face the waves, tossed and rumpled by an angry wind, our eyes streaming as we defiantly look forward. We wait and we watch and we hope.
Eventually, some of us turn away and forget about this space. We bury ourselves in work, sport, writing, gardening, running, church, socializing, volunteering and hope that this will be enough. We let our dreams go and focus instead on the mundane, daily tasks of life. Driving, working, driving, eating, driving, sleeping. Texting, email, FaceBook. Annual resolutions, check. Annual work review, check. Birthdays and Christmas, check and check. Annual holiday, check. Medical check, check, check, check. And the years tick by. Our children grow up and move away, and we suddenly see an older person in the mirror – clearly one with a healthy appetite – and the suddenness with which the last 20 years has disappeared hits us like a medicine ball in the solar plexus. What are we doing!? Were we only created to populate the freeway during peak hour? I think not.
Every now and then, we return to the shore of our lives and stare out to sea. We may be blessed with a stunning sunrise, or purple rain, or the magnificence of a storm-front brewing ahead. Life brings changes, that’s assured. And in these turbulent times, where there can be four seasons in one day, just like Melbourne’s weather, we have learned to grasp the beautiful moments – the happy exchanges over coffee, watching our children grow and develop, even if it is on Instagram, a quiet sunny morning with a book, a deep, satisfying sniff of the roses, or that moment when you lay your head on the pillow and drift off to sleep. These moments of peace and quiet fill our souls and prepare us for the storm-fronts and thunder that would otherwise derail us. We stay the path.
Then one day, we find ourselves unexpectedly at the shore as a distant shape forms on the horizon. We stand on the nearest seawall for a better view, and fossick around for the old binoculars that we know have been stashed in a drawer somewhere. We juggle them to our face and nearly poke out an eye as we fumble with the controls. The shape becomes clearer as it glides across the sea, engines thudding faintly in the distance. We look at the others around us and wonder if it’s for them. We start heading to the dock, slowly at first, then speeding up as it comes closer. It moves into the harbour, then the marina, the bow-waves rocking the other craft rhythmically in their moorings. We race to our space, the one with our name on it. And we stand there, with growing triumph, exalted, still in semi-disbelief, and with justifiable trepidation, as our ship finally comes in. Let’s hope it comes with a manual.

A Reserved Space: Work
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