My home town is a little place called Narooma on the South Coast of NSW and has spent most of the summer months surrounded by fire. Thankfully, the town itself hasn't been hit, but old acquaintances have lost homes, friends have fought fires and the community has been rocked.
For the first time, I realised how precarious my pathways are. Because, before this summer, every time I imagined the pathways of my future, one of them would stand out stable and shining gold. If terrible things happened and my world came crashing down, I knew that Narooma would always be there. That I would have family to go back to and that I could live out my days swimming in the ocean and looking after my parents.
But after the fires, that pathway is burnt and blackened. My last stable anchor has changed in an instant. Now when I look at all my possible pathways, some end in World War III, some end in climate change, some end in red-tape politics — and my lifeline is currently in the midst of snapping. Before I had options, now I have a void.
My voice is still there, telling me that at the end of the day I'll be okay. But it's fainter and is starting to sound a little bit like a question.
On top of that, this is the first time in my life where my decisions greatly impact another person. I have to stop thinking that I'll be okay and start wondering if we will be okay.