[Image: Self Reflected in White Light | © Greg Dunn]
I've recently found myself involved in a project focused on the neurosciences and some of the amazing world–leading work being undertaken in this field at The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH).
Now every project I involve myself in has to be something I strongly believe in, and I certainly believe in the importance of rapid advances in the neurosciences – not least because of the impact Alzheimer's Disease has had on my close family over the last two decades.
The work itself is satisfyingly complex and intellectually challenging, but, whilst I was fully aware of the likelihood focusing on mental health and the neurosciences would awaken some memories of my late father and mother, I was less prepared for the impact being around a hospital for an extended period of time would have.
Both my mother and father were in the medical profession, so I spent many days in hospitals and clinics when growing up, whether that be waiting for my parents to finish work, or due to one of the hospital holiday jobs that I was encouraged to take up (possibly as a way of encouraging any latent interest in a medical career).
The memories of those times came flooding back the more I explored the slightly dilapidated corridors of the RMH, as did the vivid recollections of my last visits to witness first my mother and then, a decade later, my father succumb to the cruel mental erasure of Alzheimer's.
The vivid memories of my parents' fading have been, at times, overwhelming as I have dug into the wonderful world of neuroscience and all that is currently being done to try to prevent what happened to my Mum & Dad happen to others in the future. However, in spite of being occasionally overwhelmed, the work has slowly made me reflect more on the likelihood that I too will one day face some form of mental illness, whether Alzheimer's or one of the other neurodegenerative diseases.
And whilst this self–reflection has not been comfortable, it has re-energised me to get on with pursuing the desire I have for my wife and two little–uns to 'have more adventures'. To get out of the routine of day to day life and find more ways to enjoy the time we have – whatever the future may bring.
And when it comes to the work I do, to keep finding ways to help the organisations I believe in to make the world my kids will inherit just that little bit better.