The other day I tweeted that a year ago I was freaking out at the prospect of major surgery, I was very single and stuck in a job that I really wasn’t enjoying (with people who made me feel miserable).  I was scared and the future didn’t look especially bright.

This year, couldn’t be further from a year ago.  A lot has changed (and some things still stay the same).

So why are things so completely different?  Changing jobs probably has a lot to do with it.  I think it’s safe to say in the last 4 months (it’s only been 4 months! feels like longer) I’ve barely stopped.

Having been asked to talk at a conference (run by the company I work for), I was sort of pushed onto a metaphorical stage with some incredibly respected peers who are known globally for what they do.  For a while I was thinking, ‘there’s all these people, then there’s me…’.

I wouldn’t say I was concerned about talking, a bit nervous as I’d never spoken in front of so many people.  I knew I could do it (any woman that goes through a hysterectomy at 36 on her own can pretty much achieve anything… I’m just sayin’).  Plausibly the problem was going to be – would anyone either understand or like my presentation.

Long story short, they did.  I always overlook any talent I’ve got, possibly because I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal, it’s part of who I am.  So I overlooked that one thing I’m really good at is taking complex ideas and explaining them in a way that others understand.  Which is what I did.  I enjoyed the experience, and I want to do it again.

Well, having attended the conference I’ve made a whole host of new friends, specifically a wonderful woman named Bern, and in an incredibly short space of time we’ve submitted a proposal for a conference in Minneapolis next April.  Which probably isn’t the big bit that excites me (weird I know).  It’s that we’re going to be doing primary research into something that I’ve pondered over for quite some time.

I’m not going to share all the details right now as we’re still planning our research.  When we’re ready to launch I’ll post more on here.

The thing that makes me feel like this is different is that last year my future was very bleak, being 36 and never being able to have children made me think that I’d never have much of a future (even though I didn’t really want children – it’s weird can’t really explain it).  To this year realising that I have a very real opportunity to give something back that may stand the chance of making a difference in people’s lives.

Light equals hope, I’ve gotten hope back.  Hope that the future is not going to bleak that I’m working with great people during the day, doing great things and that’s afforded me the luxury of making friends outside of work and exploring things that I probably would only have dreamed of.

Life takes you in all kinds of directions if you’re open to the possibilities that what is expected doesn’t have to be the path you choose.  As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and I think I’ve finally started making those steps.

Links: Interact 2014 Storify (NB I’m on day 2 so a bit of a scroll)

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