Just over two years ago, I was honestly living my best life. I just didn’t know how good it was at the time.
I finally had the money to go on a short holiday with my husband without the kids. I was well, relatively speaking. I was surrounded by lots of love and friendship. My kids were happy and healthy, and my husband’s job had been made permanent. I finally started to allow myself to look forward.
However, I can see now with the benefit of hindsight that, quietly in the background, when I wasn’t paying attention, 'survival mode' was slowly activating in my brain.
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I have been living in survival mode since then, and for a while that was okay. But not anymore.
In late 2019, much of NSW was on fire. It was the worst bushfire season on record. It felt like everywhere in the state was on fire except the Sydney basin, and we were being told it was just a matter of time. It was very hard for me to believe otherwise.
Having lived through multiple significant bushfire events as an adult, bushfires are a big trigger for me. This was the moment that survival mode was activated for me.
What we didn’t know was that there was a bigger threat on the horizon. I was just too busy with all the exciting things that were happening around me to pay attention.
In February 2020, just as talk in the media of coronavirus was filtering into Australia, my husband and I boarded a cruise ship in Sydney. We had a fantastic time. We met new people and relaxed.
Unexpectedly, we later went on another cruise, sailing out of Sydney for four nights on March 13, 2020. That date is significant because this was when COVID-19 was really starting to emerge in Australia. The cruise we left Sydney on was the last one to sail out of Sydney before the world as we knew it changed.