BY JOANNE FRIEND | WRITER
“One didn’t really believe till one saw it demonstrated that giving one up completely to art, to emotion, to enjoyment, without planning for the future or counting the cost, produced dreadful disabilities and bankruptcies later.” – Edmund Wilson
Over the last few days I have been in a position of watching my daughter handle and attend the death of her young friend, 12 years of age. While I was watching her go through this traumatic time I was informed that a friend of mine was murdered doing what she loved; helping others that were in a very vulnerable position in their lives.
During these few days, I could not be with my daughter as she went through this heart wrenching time. I also couldn’t sit in a quiet place myself and grieve for what my friend went through; for what her family and friends were going through, the grieving of losing someone dear to them. Last night I sat with my special mum as I watched my daughter sleep. I felt lost. I felt I had let my daughter down. I wasn’t with her at this most important life changing time for her.
You see, in my life I have made critical decisions; some good, some bad, thankfully most were good. Being absent was a decision I made years ago, before I had a daughter (only recently adopted), it was for me to acquire and run my own business. It was not only to be a business, but to be successful in every way. To do that I had to count the cost concerning my life and what I was prepared to give up to achieve success. When you sit down and say, “oh yea working 12 hours a day, no problem” or “cutting down on my social life, no problem”. Everything was ‘no problem’, because I wasn’t facing any issue that may challenge me at the time of making the decision.
A wise old man told me when I was in high school, “The decisions you make today, you will see the results, 3-5 years further down the track”. I thought 3-5 years, that’s so far away and I’m only in high school. Surely decisions I’m making today aren’t going to affect me way down there into the future. I learnt quickly that not only decisions I made affected me, it also affects other people that were/are close to me.
“Who you hang around with, will dictate how people see you and what opportunities come your way.”
I knew someone from high school who had a lot of opportunities. If she had of just stayed away from people that didn’t have her best interests at heart, then this girl would be a very famous person today. She took bad advice, never counted the cost and turned into a compulsive liar. As a result, people lost their trust in her and it went from maybe becoming famous to just serving coffee. There is nothing wrong with serving coffee, but if you could have traveled the world making a difference in people lives, which would you choose?
Making decisions and counting the cost.
“Don’t do the right thing for the wrong reasons. It is the “why” that keeps us committed to our choices and defines our character.” – Shannon L. Alder
My friend, the young woman that was murdered, was also in the position of making decisions and counting the cost. She made a decision to leave her home, to start up a place of refuge that would feed women and children involved in domestic violence and sexual assault.
The decision she made was one she knew would come at a cost. Away from her family and friends all the things that she knew and were near and dear to her. There were many things she had to work through, e.g. finding accommodation, learning the language. She had to find out what the laws and street rules were for sexual assault, rape and domestic violence. Street rules are very different to laws and are dealt out by the people in the street.
One issue we would chat about often, was her safety and the safety of her clients. I would talk with her about the violence in the area; the violence from husbands and boyfriends that could happen at any time. This was a cost she was not willing to consider. She decided to start up this organisation, she had funding and clients; “What could possibly go wrong? … they love us in this community!”. Well, a few years down the track, she is dead, with her body being transported back to the States.
Yes, she made the decision to ignore safety concerns, but she didn’t work out the cost. In life, you can never work out the cost of everything, but violence should have been high on her agenda. She had staff, her clients and herself, so protection should have been right up there in the cost and decision making. Now, that decision she made a few years back, has cost her life.
Making decisions and counting the cost.
The reason I couldn’t be with my daughter … I was working three 12 hour days. When I made the decision to start my business, I knew the cost. When I adopted a young girl, I thought I knew the cost. I’m finding out not everything can be planned, but I can adjust.
As females, we are strange. We can be dictated by our emotions, by culture, by friends and by what we see in the press. To be business women, we need to consider the hours we work, looking after the home, having children and making sure our husbands are alright.
Why do we not break the glass ceiling?
Usually this is because we don’t do the things the men do and when we do, we are told “Oh you’re not a good wife” or “you’re not a good mother”. Why is that? I have found, as women, we do make a lot of emotional decisions in our lives. We are not as ruthless in business like men. Plus, we always seem to be living up to a role model that is 50 years past its use by date.
Please if you want to succeed, make the decision, but always count the cost. Whatever you do, can you live with the decisions you make? Can you pay the price if you make the wrong or right decision?
“People always say in the end you only regret the choices you didn’t make, but I really think you also regret the choices you were foolish enough to make.” – Melizena