Crabs while not the savant of the crustacean genus, are a deft claw at picking bait from a hooked line. Crabs have been moving sideways from their knee ‘joints’ since emerging from primordial waters. Unable to bend from the hips, they are undisputedly the king of the sideway scuttle. This skill has, however failed to prevent them from swimming in garlic butter or bathing in chilli.
Humans have an evolutionary linear progression mapped out in evolutionary based text books across the globe. In simplistic terms, our body hair decreased as our capacity to stand erect was mastered. There is some academic contention regarding the difference in size of our brains to our primate cousins and the measuring of intelligence based on the type and complexity of our hunting tools. I’ll leave it up to the experts to battle that one out, but the gradient increases in an upward projectile.
We are encouraged to reach for the stars, to achieve the highest score, to pursue excellence and to challenge ourselves with greater intensity. We are conditioned to compete with others and with ourselves. Remaining stationery, maintaining the status quo, living in mediocrity and similar states of middle ground are not encouraged or rewarded.
The art of reinvention is applauded, regardless if it is obvious plagiarism, like Lady GaGa’s bower-birding of Madonna’s iconic bullet bra, reproduced from a 1940’s corset catalogue, which structural form is based on an earlier automotive petrol funnel. One could argue that we all recycle in one way or another.
Perth couture designers recently decried the constant pressure applied by competing retailers for innovative design ideas for an ever increasingly shorter seasonal period. The open lament of the demise of extravagant purchases of quality classics, is perhaps a slight delayed reading of economic climate change and a fear that the fountain of creativity may dry up. It was conversely a rejection of the pressure of perpetual reinvention.
Like many 50 years olds, I have found myself, close to the summit of my career projection. My journey started late at 30 and in 21 years, my résumé is atypical of an over-achieving A-type personality. I am proud of my achievements, a battle against the odds, made more challenging by being female in traditional male dominated leadership roles and a sole parent, without economic or immediate family support.
Post cancer, a new approach is essential, for striving for the summit at all costs, may result in the loss of newly regained health and subsequently my life. The view from the top is not worth the cost, like other mountaineers attempting Everest, I will need to make my way back to ‘base camp’ before the ensuring storm. It is time to shift the focus of that which once defined me. The heavy mantle of leadership has been lifted these past eight months replaced with an iron cloak of cancer diagnosis and treatment. I am cancer free, but like the crab I am in a state of ecdysis, softened by the moulting of the old shell, awaiting the new to harden. It is time to learn the art of moving sideways.