What happens when you feel you don’t exist anymore?

I want to write about things that real people struggle with.  This one is a BIG one for me, and perhaps some of you struggle with it too.

So, let’s go back a few years.  I was in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, a land I love.  I had great friends with whom I could laugh and cry, and to be very honest.  I’d just landed a job managing a $38 million project doing something I believed in…orienting Agricultural Research for Development.  I know the Agricultural Research Institutions in PNG (and elsewhere) hold great power to bring people out of poverty.  I loved my team and couldn’t wait to work with them daily.  Do you get the bright sparkle of this scenario?

The only thing missing, my friend challenged me, was a love life.  I was 38 and had experienced many amazing things on my own, something I would have loved to share with someone else.  Riding on a banana boat in crystal blue Pacific waters on the way to see some landowner teak plots makes you feel like an adventure is about to happen.  Like standing amid a group of people who are jubilating from having a source of protein other than frogs to eat because of a project we supported.  Unique moments in time that take your breath away.

So I took up her dare to be more adventurous in looking for the one my soul desired.  In a short amount of time, there he was.  He is the most amazing man, and our hearts’ desires synced very well.  Rapidly, I decided to acquiesce to his wishes to return to Australia and marry.  The first time I’d favoured a personal passion over my career in a very long time.  And so I departed PNG for Australia.

The wedding was fun, stressful, beautiful, and memorable (I might write about conducting a wedding in flood another time).  Then it was down to real life.


I’d returned to Australia and just settled in when a very wet winter set in.  I HATE winter, and I hate the lack of sun.  Give me the tropics any day!  The house was dark.  I was alone for the 8+ hours a day.  I had no friends.  I’d been away from Australia for 15 years.  (Talk about reverse culture shock!) My family was busy getting on with things, used to my absence.  I tried to establish a consultancy, but the timing wasn’t great after the GFC, and I didn’t know how to do it.  There were a host of other pressures I hadn’t anticipated either.  It all led up to:


I was going under fast; in fact, I did go under.  When I had placed all my identity value in what I did, I could put on the strong and confident mask.  When that value was gone, I had to face my raw self.  To be honest, I didn’t know this person very well.  I was not sure whether I even liked her.  I had to look hard and long into myself.  Fire burns away rubbish.  Refining fire produces pure gold.  I was blessed to have some people to care for me, speak honestly (turn up the fire) and help me navigate the process.

I know that my gold is a lot more pure these days.  Indeed, much hotter fires have come since the first, and I suspect still more are required.  The stuff that wasn’t important to who I am and my calling is going.  I will remain close to those who speak the truth with compassion.  I will continue searching for that gold and become a beautifully crafted piece.

You are in the fires, too, and if you aren’t right now, you will be.  You are gold that needs to be tested by fire.  You need to shine so brightly there is no mistaking who you are.  I pray courage for you and people to stand with you in the flames.

About the Wayfinders' Blog

The Wayfinders’ Blog helps individuals, teams and organisations discover and develop their unique strengths. I provide valuable insights and practical tips to my audience empowering them to develop their talents into strengths and achieve their goals.

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