Life is unpredictable

It’s weird how everyone [who isn’t immuno-compromised] was completely terrified by COVID-19 one minute, then totally blase about it the next.

It’s still raging through the community, but we’ve decided to get on with the business of living.

While we no longer fret about daily COVID-19 numbers and hardly anyone wears a mask, it’s irrevocably changed us.

Well, I shouldn’t generalise. It’s changed me.

It has crystallised that I no longer want to climb the corporate ladder. I crave different kicks.

Many of the articles I read online suggest a lot of people are reassessing what they want from life.

It means the median house price in many regional areas has broken through the million dollar barrier as Aussies flee the cities to seek sea and tree changes.

“The Great Resignation” also continues to gather momentum around the globe, it’s even luring Aussie leaders.

The day after the final NSW lockdown ended, I wrote a blog post about McKinsey research conducted in five countries – Australia, Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States – that has found 40% of workers are likely to leave their jobs in the next three to six months. It was dubbed “The Great Resignation”.

Two-thirds of those workers said they would quit without another job lined up because they “are tired, and many are grieving. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work.”

No one is immune to that feeling, not even our leaders.

My eyes widened with surprise when I read that Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner stepped down yesterday. In a shock announcement, Gunner said his head and his heart were “no longer in the job” that he’d held for almost six years.

Fighting back tears, Gunner – who had a heart attack in January 2020 – said the time was right for him to walk away.

“I don’t need another near-death experience to know that life is unpredictable and can be cut short,” he told reporters.

“Forty-six is young for a pollie, but it is pretty old for a father of a newborn and a toddler and that’s who I want to spend more of my time with now for as long as I can.”

His announcement follows Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein shocking the state with his decision to step down from his role after leading the Liberals to their third successive election victory.

On April 8, Gutwein revealed he had “nothing left in the tank to give” after steering Tassie through its last lockdown.

“Unless you can give 110 per cent to the role of premier, you should not be doing this job. I can no longer give 110 per cent,” he said.

Gitwein said he needed to step back – and also resigned from parliament – to spend more time with his family.

I’m with Michael Gunner. Life is unpredictable. I can feel the years taking their toll on my body and I want to make the most of its mobility while it still gets me from A to B with relative ease.

I want to swim with the dolphins in South Australia and the whale sharks in Ningaloo. I want to see the stromatolites at Shark Bay and float in the aquamarine waters of the Cocos Keeling Islands. I want to sail the fjords of New Zealand and climb Malabar Hill on Lord Howe Island to watch the sunrise.

Oh and so many other wonderful things.

I’ll get there, it’s just a question of juggling responsibility and finances with desire. Your mid 50s are a balancing act when you arrive late to motherhood. Having a second child at 39 and becoming a single mum at 46 have complicated my decision making.

I can hear Kenny Rogers singing in my head …

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run

For now I’m holding onto my cards, hoping I’ll know when to fold them.

Song of the day: Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”

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