I went to Melbourne recently for an event to promote my books, raise awareness about anxiety and depression and share some of my story. It just so happened to coincide with the start of the Australian Open – what perfect timing. Travel, books, well-being and tennis: these are a few of my favourite things.
Beauty and wonder
So one fine evening a couple of weeks ago I took a plane across Australia, across this sunburnt country that has now been my home for 20 years. I love flying. I love the feeling of being suspended in mid-air, of time standing still for a while, a chance to think and reflect and disconnect, even for a short time.
From west to east, the plane flew through a wondrous sunset, through purple haze and pink filmy clouds, the deepening burnished orange of the horizon stretching endlessly across the Great Southern Bight. As I gazed out the window I felt a deep sense of awe at the beauty of this planet and the mysteries of the universe. I was transfixed, transcended.
When I looked around, the passengers near me were staring down at a screen of one kind or another, taking advantage of the in-flight entertainment or the free hi speed wifi, binging on Netflix or scrolling endlessly through the information overload of the day.
Fingers (and thumbs – I’ve never mastered that) were moving at lightning speed on keyboards and keypads, reacting and adding to the daily diet of trivia and newsfeed we can easily be tricked into thinking we can’t do without.
Like most people, I’m constantly trying to find a balance in my use of technology, to control it rather than allowing it to control me. The time spent on a plane can be the perfect opportunity to catch up on work or correspondence, and the tedium of many a long-haul flight is transformed by a few good movies.
But we mustn’t let the beauty and wonder and joy in the world pass us by because we spend a large portion of our lives looking down at a screen. We must remember to lift up our heads, look out the window, gaze at the sunset, take in the view. Disconnect and reconnect.
Darkness to light
A few years ago I’d stopped looking up, not because I was staring at my phone but because I was staring into the abyss. Slowly I began to raise my eyes and saw the world in all its glory, as if for the first time. I came out of the darkness and into the light.
The event last week was a joyous occasion. I met a group of strong and beautiful women, told some of my story, listened to theirs, and, as an added bonus, sold quite a few books. Once again, it was a powerful reminder that everyone has a story. Stories matter, and we must never stop sharing them.
You can read the full story of my journey through anxiety and depression, from inky blackness to a rainbow of colour, in Changing Lightbulbs, available on my website, through Amazon (print and Kindle) and other online platforms. To book me as a speaker email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the link below for reviews and testimonials about my presentation skills. https://suetredget.com/speaker/