Tag: career

Good Riddance 2016

2016 – Definitely Not an Odyssey

Well, 2 days into the new year and it feels largely the same as 2016!

I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking that by some kind of divine intervention, the coming of a new calendar year is somehow going change them (new year, new me). Or that it may  bring them some kind of different life. As though there is some kind of divine being in control of their fate, a ‘Sky Wizard‘ if you will!

I’m not about to start waxing lyrically about how I’m a pessimist, or a realist (of which I am neither) or any other kind of ‘ist’ really. If I was forced to choose one like my very existence relied upon it, I would be somewhere between optimist and opportunist.

For me, I strongly believe that we are in full control of our own destiny. We are our own Sky Wizard, and as such, it’s up to us to get about fixing the things we don’t like. And let me tell you, there was a lot about 2016 that was not to like. I’m sure everyone has their own list of reasons that 2016 could fuck right of and your probably damn well happy that it has!

However, on the other hand, there was a lot about 2016 that was to like, a lot!

2016 was a year of change for us in the Edge household. The first half was pretty mundane. Work was pretty straightforward, Mel was plowing through her pregnancy (and bags of chips) with flying colours. Lucas was getting in trouble looking under the toilet doors as school (to see people wee), and we were fostering rescued Greyhounds. By all accounts, most likely an average 6 months in an average Australian family of 3.

The second half of the year was where things got interesting.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the highlight of my (our?) year was finally getting to meet Flynn. You can read the story of his Birth here. He is an incredibly sweet, calm and easy going little boy. He has brought a sense of calm to us both that we didn’t know before, both Mel and I love him dearly. As we do both of our sons.

Mel had made the decision to take a full 12 months maternity leave after Flynn was born. A decision that had (and still has) my full support. When Lucas was 6 months old, Mel made the tough decision of returning to work. Even though things have worked out fine, has always felt that this was the wrong thing to do.

And you know what, even though money is tight, we shop at Aldi, and no longer eat meat, things have been great! Both boys are thriving, Mel is a lot more relaxed (most days) and she has an incredible bond with the boys that is completely different to mine.

I reckon anyone that claims to be a perfect father is fooling themselves, but not fooling anyone else. Parenting is hard work! It’s the hardest bloody thing I’ve ever done. And it’s a heck of a lot of responsibility. I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way? It’s our job, to care for, nurture and mold this person into the kind of adult that will be able to function in an ever changing society. That’s some heavy shit right there! I’m flat out most days just getting myself to do the things that I need to to get through my day. Brush my teeth, shower before work, no sugar in my 4th cup of coffee for the day. And that’s before 8am.

For my brother and I, we grew up in a pretty typical household. Dad worked (a lot), Mum did the household stuff, and we went to school. Both my parents are fantastic. They sacrificed everything to bring us from the UK to Australia in 1989, so I’m not about to get on my soapbox about how my childhood was hard, and that it’s not my fault that I am the way I am. But it is you see. Yes, Dad was quite authoritative and at times dictatorial, but we were kids. Pushing the boundaries, testing the limits and creating chaos wherever we went.

Do I want to be that kind of parent to my boys? No. Am I? Sometimes, yes. And it’s not until it’s too late, that I realise that I am slipping back into learned habits.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking ‘Why the bloody hell is he banging on about his daddy and 1989 when this is supposed to be about 2016?”. Well, I do have a point, and I’m getting to that (Shush Mel, my stories are important, however meandering.)

Back in October, we had Lucas assessed by a pediatrician. A pediatrician that charged us $400 to have us and his teacher do all the work for her. (I’m definitely in the wrong line of work.) Long story short, she came to the conclusion that Lucas has symptoms that suggest he has ADHD. I say suggest because I’m still not convinced, or i could just be reluctant to label the boy. Nonetheless, he does behave different to other boys his age and has issues recognising boundaries and when Mum and Dad are feeling the pressure of a constant barrage of begging for the tiniest morsel of our own dinner. Coincidentally exactly the same as his.

He can be an incredibly sweet boy, and has an amazing zest for life that i think all adults forget. Life has a nasty habit of making us get way too serious about things, and we can sometimes forget to have a sense of humor.

And here it is, the point of the last few paragraphs is that coming out of 2016 and in to 2017, we’ve had a lot of changes in our household. Quite significant ones at that. Most notable is the obvious additional mouth to feed (good on you love, you’re boobs are doing a great job!), we’ve had a significant drop in income while an increase in expenses and lastly. We’re having to completely redesign the way we parent. And it is unquestionably more of a lesson for Mel and I than it is for Lucas.

So here I am, jumping on the bandwagon that is full of people that proudly chime “Fuck off 2016!”, as we launch into what I’m going to call “Fuck yes, 2017!”

That’s all for now. I’d love to hear what you have said goodbye to in 2016! I’m sure you’ve got your own stories to tell.

If I’m not back in 5 minutes. Just wait longer!

Wife of a Navy Sailor

It is approaching my husband’s seventh year as a sailor for the Royal Australian Navy. One thing I have learnt during these six years of our relationship is how I have developed resilience, patience and a thick skin. Because let me assure you, that it has not been smooth sailing.

It began six years ago in Melbourne. Where Chris and I chatted online, met and we pretty much instantly fell in love with one another. Chris was approaching the end of his trade training period and during our first date was quick to let me know that inevitably he was going to move. There were a couple of destinations on offer and Perth was his first choice. I had an open mind and was willing to see where it led. When the time came and he was arranging the move I jumped on board. Shortly after, I gave up my job, said goodbye to my family and committed to moving to a new state.

We had moved, settled into our first home, I got a new job and yep I fell pregnant. It was completely unplanned. We were just a couple of horny people who sucked at contraception. Again, we rolled with the punches (sometimes figuratively as those hormones were wild) because it would be unavoidable that he was posted to a ship. Not long after I said farewell to Chris when I was about half way through my pregnancy with Lucas. Chris went on his first overseas trip to support those requesting early leave, and I think he was gone for about five or six weeks. Peace of cake!

It wasn’t until Lucas was born that shit got real. Chris missed out on so many of Lucas’s milestones, especially during his first year. Sadly he didn’t hear Lucas say his first words, or see when he first crawled, and the worst was his first birthday. Because Chris was absent from his life, even when he was home Lucas only ever wanted me which just put further strain on their bond.

Our first real deployment, back in 2012 where Chris was absent for three months..

So to put things into perspective, there is a belief that family members are only absent during a deployment. Wrong! The preparation can be just as long as a deployment. At the beginning of 2014 Chris was absent from his family on and off for a total for 18 months. Yes 18 months! During this time there were weekly running’s, a combination of training drills and assessments. Chris and his crew were sent to search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, making matters worse. As it was a delicate matter there was little to no communication. Families would only receive a weekly email from the captain of the ship to advise that morale was high.

Lucas was not ready to say Goodbye. Our last 2014 deployment.

Later that year, they deployed for the middle east and three weeks into the stint I became incredibly ill.  On my 30th birthday I developed cholecystitis and pancreatitis caused by a gall stone attack. I had been having these attacks for a couple of years, but oddly thought it was just a bit of heartburn so I never addressed it. I was hospitalized after tests concluded that I was really sick, and I was a mess. There was little to no family support and I needed to care for a demanding two year old. I was knocking on my neighbours door in tears because I needed help, and once I was spoke with the surgeon it was inevitable that I would need surgery.

Now began the daunting task of getting Chris sent home. I can assure you that it was the most stressful thing I had ever experienced. We were told over and over again that it was not considered serious enough to warrant a flight back home. I was on a strict no fat diet because I could not risk another episode, because lets face it pancreatitis is something you can’t mess with. I lost several kilograms and developed an anxiety disorder.

Chris was doing everything at his end, but no one was listening. He has even threatened to get drunk in every port just so that he could get sent home. I remember speaking with a woman from DCO’s hotline. For reasons I don’t know said to me that my friend’s would feel honoured, yes honoured, if I asked them to care for both me and my son. My mouth gaped in disbelief, did she actually say that to me? I wanted my husband and it was his responsibility to care for Lucas and I.

It wasn’t until I received support from a Chaplain that the seriousness of the procedure was fully realised. Thankfully Chris was sent home, I had my surgery, and thank the heavens that he was posted home as I spent three days in ICU and later transferred to another hospital for a follow up procedure. Since then I have not been able to cope with my anxiety, and now require medication to keep it at bay. Another stress inducing episode of Navy wife life, is the Navy wives.

It was like high school all over again, friends left as soon as they came. And what I mean by that is when your husbands were no longer working together on a ship, friendship was void. This had happened several times, it was so bloody upsetting and infuriating. I am serious about friendships and lets face, it we’re all far too mature for the dramas that lie within the circle of their lives.

Chris spent further time away in 2015, and during this time we started having our first home built. Something always went wrong when he was away, it was like Murphy’s Law or something. I always relied on the support of other people to ensure that the house was up to scratch. Another hole to add to my bucket of anxiety. Thankfully Chris has now been posted ashore for over twelve months, and good thing too otherwise we would not have been able to conceive with our gorgeous little man Flynn. Not long now until discharge and we can gain better control over our lives.

That’s all for now.

Much love

Melanie xx

A Few Words From The Captain

Why the name change? Well, a change is as good as a holiday, right? The kids have got their own nicknames, and besides the standard ‘love’, Mel and I usually call each other by our first names in front of the kids. Something that my Mum and Dad never really did. They usually called each other by Mum and Dad, unless they were having ‘a talk’, then it was Bill, Will or William for Dad, and Di, Did or Diane for Mum.

I kind of feel like a captain in a lot of regards anyway. Not so much at my day job, where I pretty much get told what time and how to do just about everything. But with just about everything else, I feel like I’m in control. And I like that. Not that I’m a control freak, or some kind of neurotic micro managing pain in the backside. Possibly quite the opposite. I leave a lot of the day to day running of the house up to Mel. And that, I think, is part of being a good Captain. Recognising when someone is doing a good job, and stepping in only when needed.

A Captain should know what course he wants to take, crew his ship with the right kind of people that can help him get there, then go about his business of making sure they have all the tools and resources they need in order to succeed. Too many so called Captains rely on his crew supporting him, not realising that the true act of leadership is servitude. For if a Captain is to be successful in his endeavours, it is much more beneficial for all concerned if he were to support, encourage and empower his crew to achieve, rather than use fear or a position of a hierarchical nature to get the job done. I’m sure that not just people enlisted in the Military encounter both terrible, and excellent leaders, as leadership is something that can be displayed by anyone, at any time no matter what the circumstances.

What am I trying to say here? Not sure really, maybe I’m a little too tired to be getting all philosophical. Especially since I’m deleting a lot of sentences and starting again. Also, it’s already 10.30pm, and I’ve only got 16% left on my laptop battery. One thing is for sure though, you’re still reading and that means I at least owe you something of value. Which is what I try to do when I write a ‘blog’.

I’m still trying to work out this whole blogging business really. I find it quite difficult to get my ideas to come out of my fingers and onto the screen in such a fashion that it actually sounds like me, not some kind of Pulitzer wannabe. I’ve never really liked writing. Creative writing was always a struggle and I hardly ever turned up to high school English, and as a result, my final mark was 38%. I can remember walking in to my HSC exam, sitting down, writing my name on the test and walking out. I didn’t see the point in attempting something I knew I was going to fail and had no interest in what so ever. Fast forward 15 years (bloody hell!!!) and here we are! Funny how things work, right?

I can honestly say I was one of those kids that hated school. Didn’t understand the point of learning half the stuff we did, and if the teacher couldn’t give me a good enough reason then I just wouldn’t do the work. Yep, I was one of those kids. If i liked the subject (woodwork, metalwork), you couldn’t get rid of me, In fact, all of my other teachers knew where to come looking for me if i needed to be in class. I just couldn’t see the attraction behind learning a whole bunch of stuff, so I could get a job and go and work for someone else for the rest of my life, then retire and die! Seemed completely pointless. Still does to this day! I also hated being told what to do, so at the grand old age of 26, I joined the Navy. You must be thinking ‘this guy is an idiot’ by now, so let me give you some insight; I was 26, had just left a long term relationship, had NO qualifications OR money to my name. I desperately wanted to get out of Newcastle and make a drastic change to my life. I knew the process I needed to follow in order to make a change.

No matter how hard I tried, the Industrial Age model of ‘get a good education so you can get a good job and retire at 65’ had done it’s job, and I was very much focused on having a ‘career’.  These days I’m focused on not having a career, it’s a habit I desperately want to quit, and I know that I’m headed in the right direction to achieve that. I receive regular coaching and mentoring to achieve my goals. The primary goal being a free man by the time I’m 35. Kind of makes it sound like a gaol sentence doesn’t it?

If I may offer one major piece of advice that has helped me to filter out all of the nonsense ‘advise’ that people seem so ready to offer. That would be to only take advice of people that have what you want, or and headed in the direction of where you want to be. That may not be the person you’re currently taking advice from. It makes no sense at all to take fitness advice from someone in poorer health than yourself, or financial advice from someone that has just as much, or more debt than you. Yet we often find ourselves in these positions.

Anyway, that’s enough ranting for now. I’m going to get off my soapbox and go to bed.
Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best.
Chris