It’s always easier looking back and seeing the turning points in our lives. We rarely see the corner coming and odds are we never accurately predict what that corner will bring.
The big ones are pretty easy to recognise and semi-prepare for – leaving home; getting married; having children.
I never saw the dissolution of my first marriage coming … although looking back, it seems pretty goddamn clear that it was years in the making. Likewise, my second marriage was a bit of a surprise but a really good one.
However, it’s the almost inconsequential happenings in our lives that often bring the most surprising results. Take as an example the story of how a dedicated librarian turned into a graphic designer …
We moved often in my first marriage – partly because he was in the Army for the first 7 years of it, partly because the man could not sit still to save his life. And library jobs are hard to come by. As any good librarian knows, you have to wait for someone to die or leave town before an opening comes up (preferably the latter … otherwise it’s just awkward).
Hence, in my not so huge working career (three kids are a handful on their own without a work schedule demanding your attention as well) I have completed a Bachelor of Library Science and a Graduate Diploma of Info/Library Science plus worked as: weekend Cash Office for Woolies; Learning Centre coordinator; Barmaid; Canteen convenor and Casual Typesetter/Graphic Designer for two local newspapers (not at the same time) in between the rare and precious library jobs in a primary school, private high school, TAFE college and public library.
I think the varied experiences and different locations made me a better librarian – at least, I was able to relate to people from many walks of life! But who would have known that the first stint in a newspaper doing Graphic Design (which I got because I’d done Colour Theory and basic brochure design as part of my library technicians course) would, 12 years down the track, put me on the path to being a qualified Graphic Designer?
And the second step in that road would be feeling trapped in a library management position plus the misery of multiple miscarriages forcing me to find something to distract myself with and looking into online study courses. Initially I was going to do Bookkeeping (methodical, controlled, useful) but Graphic Design popped up … and that was that.
I’m struggling to finish the Diploma in time as I’ve had a wedding and a long honeymoon in the middle of it to totally distract me, but there’s the option of extension and I already have clients that are happy with my work. How awesome is that?
If someone had told me 18 months ago that I would be happily married, out of the management role, working freelance and enjoying all aspects of my life, I would not have believed them. But looking back … well, it seems inevitable.