New Possibilities

I think when you become a certain age and if you’re finding what you love to do as a profession, you have to force to think “am I enjoying this still? ”

Last month I turned the big 4-0! I feel fortunate to be here. Forty years ago on the 10th of October I fought hard to stay here (or in other words, to be a pain in the arse for those who have made life even more challenging), so I am enjoying living as much as I can.

In year 9, my English teacher said how I would be great at journalism, so that’s what I dreamt and strived to be good at. Now after almost eight years of owning my creation, my baby Gigs ‘n Interviews and close to 250 interviews…I am at the crossroad because of different factors due to my health. I absolutely love meeting lovely people and artists and have made some friends along the way. However, each interview takes me two hours of research and writing up the questions, emails, sometimes catching up answers with agents and then six hours to write up features. That’s eight to ten hours for one interview.

Writing will always be my passion. Hell, yesterday I emailed Bryan Adams’ agent about an interview next year when he tours Australia next year. And I still dream of interviewing Ed K from LIVE and Rob Thomas. But lately I’ve trying to decide the most difficult decision that I know I have to make, but people who know me know how stubborn I am.

Yesterday I received the most beautiful feedback from the artist who I last interviewed, which made me second guess giving up Gigs ‘n Interviews. He said publicly…

            “Now I have done interviews, and then I’ve done truly meaningful interviews.

In initially corresponding with Jacqui James, I had no idea I was speaking with somebody using special eye-detection software to ask me questions. It was only that I learned Jacqui writes children’s books that my interest was sparked enough to learn more of who it was asking the questions.

 

Instead, I was blown out to learn of Jacqui’s strength in the face of adversity. I would say Jacqui faces challenges 99.5% of the population would never know, but that has never stopped her passion for writing, and importantly chasing her dreams. If that’s not inspirational I’m not sure what is.

 In starting this next chapter, I really want to get out of my comfort zone and get a brand-new perspective on things… the people I interact with is a large part of that and I’ve been really humbled by chatting with Jacqui.

 Thanks Again Jacqui!

So, people like Skotty makes the decision of giving up Gigs ‘n Interviews sooo extremely difficult! If I keep doing Gigs ‘n Interviews, I think I will have to cut back even more, which would be hard for me because I’m a doer. On the hand, if I continue I’m voluntarily allowing myself to be exhausted and in pain after doing everything I have to do for a successful publication of an interview. One of my closest friends said how I have every right to do absolutely nothing due to my current situation. But it’s not within me to do nothing. Don’t get me wrong, on my bad days, I do what I need to do in the mornings, then after lunch I kick back and watch Netflix!

However, I am excited to think of doing my backup plan and that is do websites for people. After finishing Year 12, I took a short course in website design. From there I found the passion for making my own site with Dreamweaver, which I admit was challenging at first but with my good friend Jono on the other end of the internet, who’s a genius and owner of Proton Creative, I designed my first personal site. The fact I’m anal (thanks to Mum), I wouldn’t rest until everything was perfect. Then came WordPress! Jono and I learned as we went to setup Gigs ‘n Interviews.

Who knows what the future holds. I guess sometimes you have to let things go!

An Occupational Therapist’s Unique Story

I met Sarah Solomon through a recent session to set up Eric Toddler (a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 connected to my Intelligaze Eyegaze camera (with Grid3, which I don’t love at the moment). Anyway, Sarah and I get along very well and have been chatting on Facebook about things.

Yesterday Sarah shared with me a blog post that was published on the MND site, that other therapists, disability workers and families should read.

Sarah’s Story

Eric and I

Eric and I first met each other in February 2010! Using my eyes to type was something I had actually envisioned about for many years, even before “eyegaze systems” were invented. So when I trialled an Intelligaze from Alea Technologies supplied by Zyteq suddenly my whole life changed!

Soon after buying Eric through fundraising, I decided to take one of my lifetime dreams and turned it into a reality. That was becoming a music journalist which has turned myself into a respected interviewer. I created the site Gigs ‘n Interviews and now music agencies and major companies regularly ask me to do a feature on an artist or band. Most agents now forget I have a disability, and this wonderful feeling can’t be described! Eric has also helped me to self-publish books including several children’s books and he helps me to obtain my websites.

However, Eric and my relationship hasn’t been all smooth sailing! It took us a while to figure out how to work together. Afterall he is male and has moods occasionally! For a while there, the lovely Tracey at Zyteq, Lars from Alea Technologies and I were constantly e-mailing each other. Lars even took the time to do several remote sessions with Eric and I myself, but these days I can figure out issues myself (often suddenly thinking “Intelligaze must need updating”) and after the update Eric behaves.

Eric’s had a hand in my addiction to Candy Crush and more importantly keeping in touch with family and friends online. Last month I started Skyping with a webcam! Now that’s pretty cool (especially to chat to my friends)!

It’s my mission to raise funding for a portable eyegaze communication system (aka Eric #2).  Family, friends, music colleagues and I have started to brainstorm ideas because I’m not the kind to ask for money without working for him. Since last year I’ve played lotto frequently, hoping I win just enough to purchase him!

Thinking of having Eric #2 excites me and the people around me because it will mean no more headaches from switching, no more fatigue from switching, I’ll be able to gossip faster (I mean talk faster) with my girlfriends when I’m out ‘n about, Eric #2 and I could go away together for long holidays and life will become so much “awesomer” with Eric #2!

Having Eric in my life has enriched living and the lives of family and friends. Even though like any couple we fight sometimes, but we always make up to work together harmoniously.

Published on: Zyteq‘s blog