Tuesday 28th June 2022

Women of Courage Series. #15. Deborah. 90/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #15. Deborah. 90/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

I have followed Deborah, who is 51,  on-line for some years now. I am pretty sure I found her blog: “diet schmiet” (made me want to read as a serial diet/no diet woman) and then via other social media. She blogs about books and her life these days living away from the ‘big smoke’.I really want to sit down and have a cuppa with Deb (as I call her!) one day. I reckon it would be the best. Her story is here and I am so glad she decided to be courageous and share. 



What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

I think there have been a culmination of things – brought on by myself and circumstances – that have seen me again and again questioning my sense of self and my identity.

I’ve always been single and don’t have children. Work pretty much defined my life until I was in my early 40s. I kept assuming I’d have what everyone else had (love, family) but it didn’t happen.

By then I’d already had a number of career and life-path changes, some of which had been  pretty dire. I’d worked in the social sector in Australia, then international development in developing countries. I was then a diplomat before settling back into life in Brisbane in project management and government.

But I couldn’t imagine my world continuing as it was. I’d been waiting for the life I expected to start; I felt like I’d been biding my time, and suddenly I was confronted with the fact that half of my life had quite possibly passed me by.

So (at 44yrs of age), I took a redundancy package and made a seachange. I moved to a beachside town near my childhood hometown. I hadn’t been there to support my mother as much as I’d liked when my father was ill before passing away and I wanted to be there for her.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

It was like a huge weight off my shoulders. I’d felt very restricted by my previous existence. Before ‘life’ was something I savoured for a few hours in the evening and on weekends.

Suddenly I felt free for the first time I could remember.

Of course at the same time I realised how much I’d been identified by what I’d done for a living. I was no longer sure ‘who’ or ‘what’ I was.

I’d also assumed I’d find it easy to get a job. I’d already decided I no longer wanted to be guided (or bound) by ambition. I love(d) writing and hoped to pursue my creativity now that I had more time and head / white space.

Of course, since then there have been ups and downs on the job front. I’ve secured some employment and found it unfulfilling, so leapt into something more substantial again… only to regret that and resent its impact on the rest of my life.


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

It occurs to me that although I’m still going through some existential crises in relation to my values; and for me there’s a constant struggle between financial security and wanting to live a life that feels more authentic. To become the ‘me’ I’ve always wanted to be.

However, while I may not know exactly what it is I want… (and isn’t that why they call it a midlife crisis?) I’ve realised I’m learning what it is I don’t want from life. And sometimes that has to be done by trial and error.

I still have an image in my head of who I think I ‘should’ be. I still feel guilty that I would much prefer to not-work than to work. I mean, women in previous generations fought long and hard for the opportunities I had (and still have).

But, I’ve now made the tough decision on several occasions to step out of situations that aren’t serving me. I would never have done that before. Responsibility reigned supreme in my world. I’ve done some weird and scary things and there’s been risk involved but it’s always been very measured risk. I’ve always had a safety net. Well… until recently.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I feel like I’ve failed. Or at least not succeeded. Others don’t seem to think I’ve hit rock bottom, but it’s felt that way to me… and yet I’ve survived. I haven’t given up.

I have some contingencies in place. I’m deflated each time I miss out on an interview or by the lack of opportunities, but if life has taught me anything it’s that there could still be something around the corner.


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

I’d never recommend anyone take a leap of faith as I think our paths have got to be ones we’re comfortable with, but I think sometimes we can give fate a little nudge.

I’m prone to overthinking and overanalysing EVERYTHING but it means I know myself pretty well and I’m a strong believer in ‘gut instinct’ (though I believe the pros call it ‘intuitive decision making’). We often know when something doesn’t feel right.

This has been the biggest learning for me. I don’t always know when I’m happy. But I know when I’m not.


Thank you Deborah. You make me think about quite a lot in my life too. Your story is one for many I am sure.


Blog/Website: https://debbish.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/debbishdotcom

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/debbishdotcom

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debbish/


Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

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