Wellcome to the FINAL Everyday Heroes article. Firstly, I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by, and if you are connected with me on social media then you would have seen that this week I have been looking back at all the wonderful interviews that I have had the pleasure of capturing this year. From tears, to laughter to eye opening moments, these interviews are so precious to me, so thank you to everyone for reading, supporting me [and!] of course to the wonderful women whom I’ve interviewed!
Without further ado, I introduce to you all: Komal Singh! Komal is an inspirational young nurse with a passion for life, an undeniable game changer and a daring individual who I know will make [even more] positive waves in her life! Free thinking, bold and fulled with positivity, read on to find out about Komal and the motivational life lessons that she taught me:
Okay! Let’s begin. So Komal: if you had to describe yourself in three life-defining moments, what would they be?
[Thinks] Hmmm… I think the moments in my life that have most defined who I am today are:
Firstly, when I got chosen to travel for my nursing career [and then travelling afterwards]. I was studying the last year of my degree at Monash University, and there was an option [if you wanted] to apply and do half of your final year in a location abroad. So I applied for it, [it was a long shot] but I thought hey: let’s just do this and see how it goes!
They then called me on the day of my exam [they try to put you in that position on purpose, and see how you cope under pressure]. So I had the interview, I waited outside and then they told me: you got in!
So I had my placement in Stockholm, Sweden. I then thought [considering that it was my last year] that I would travel after my placement as well. Travelling to Paris and New York after my nursing position in Sweden was life-defining because it enabled me to see so much, [and] it really forced me to open my eyes. I travelled by myself, and I found that to be the best things to do. You discover who you are, and you are just there for you and no one else: oh, and you don’t have to impress anyone! [Just yourself]. So, after finishing in Stockholm I took the train to Paris and then from there I went to New York!
My second life-defining moment was getting the job where I am today in Oncology. Most of my prior experience as a nurse was in Palliative Care.
And for those who may not know what Palliative Care is?
Some people have the opinion that Palliative Care is the ‘End Place,’ and yes to a degree it is, however people can always come out of Palliative Care and ‘recover’ so to speak.
Do you think Psychology plays a big part in that?
[And] Lastly moving out of home has to be a life defining moment for me! That has made a big impact in my life, and it almost takes me back to when I was traveling because I do my own thing and in my own way!
This is just out of curiosity, but what is the trigger that makes you ‘make’ decisions in your life?
The trigger for me is that ‘yes,’ it’s essentially that feeling that you get. I think all of us [have insecurities], and a lot of people self-doubt themselves, but once you reach that level when you’re like ‘no,’ I want to do this: that’s the trigger. So you can do it, but ultimately it’s all up to you!
Amazing! So Komal whenever I see you, you always re-inspire me. Can you tell me a little bit about how you stay so emotionally energetic?
Well I’m very much a social butterfly, so I think for me being alone is a totally different experience [laughs] but when I’m with friends and family it’s sort of like: that’s what I sponge off almost. That was gives me the drive: being social, or otherwise I’m just sitting and staring at a blank wall. It’s about knowing what you need, and I need to get out, go, talk and socialize. So that’s what pushes me and gives me my drive.
I also try to think a lot of positive things [as well]. Working within the field that I’m in, in [Oncology] you see now days a lot of younger people in their early to late twenties who are starting to pass away quite quickly. My biggest advice to my patients on their deathbed would be to keep smiling and never have any regret. So my profession wakes me up quite a bit everyday. Looking at people in that state has taught me to admire little things and appreciate life a lot more.
This next question has a little bit of an interesting analogy to it, so bare with me. So: if you imagine all the lessons in your life that you learn have a price or a set amount, what would be the most valuable lesson that you’ve acquired? [And at what price would it be set?]
I think it would be patience and commitment. Both of these lessons have brought me to where I am today, and they both go hand in hand. You need commitment to wait, and waiting can be one of the hardest things to do in life.
How do you accept and learn that, just by waiting? [Laughs]
Yeah! I know if I’m determined, the commitment to pursue whatever I want will follow, and it finally happens.
Again going back to my job, you need a lot of patience to look after people, and being in a rush isn’t either practical or helpful. It’s worth a lot though, I almost can’t put a value on it as I rely on it so much now!
And what do you get out of it? What is the benefit?
I think I get answers. It’s helped me a lot, you know when I was growing up I would bottle everything up, but now it works in my favour and it’s made me rethink situations so much more.
So now on the flip side though, what’s the most worthless thing you’ve learnt in your life that’s not even worth five cents?
[Thinks] The most invaluable lesson that I’ve learnt is to never invest in someone who has a narcissistic personality and opinion on life. It very invaluable to me because my mind is flipped [because my profession requires me to be the complete opposite]. So I learnt this lesson the hard way; I took in this narcissist personality, and after I came out of it; it grabbed me. It grabbed every single bit of me, and I just remember thinking that I could not live like that. So it’s worth zero!
Okay! So being a nurse, you have this privilege of speaking to many people before they pass away. I know one day you’ll write a best-selling book about all the lessons that you’ve learnt from your patients, but are you able to share with us one story that has touched you the most?
When I think of the patient who has touched me the most, it was during the stage of my life that I was learning the lesson of not investing in someone who has a narcissistic personality. This patient was amazing, and so young [in his late thirty’s] and his story still impacts and inspires me still to this day.
So, with all my patients I treat them like real people; so naturally I got close to this patient and his family. We joked a lot and bonded, as he was diagnosed and undergoing treatment. [To give you an idea] he had an acidic tap [because after extensive treatment there is a lot of toxicity in your body, your immune system is weakened and as a result you can experience multiple comorbidities, or additional disorders]. [Thinks]… It’s interesting because throughout his whole treatment, I was going through a rough time in my relationship too. Ironically, it was almost as toxic as cancer.
So, this patient could really relate to my experiences and as he got very ill we had to take him to Monash Clayton ICU and he basically died there in ICU. Then, they resuscitated him and he came back to life, and then he came back to our ward.
That day I remember him coming to our ward, and I had just had the worst day of my life. When I started my shift I remember going to him and just looking at him, and I remember telling him “I’m glad you’re alive,” and I then just started balling my eyes out to this patient. His family even had the respect to wait outside as he talked to me, and he essentially told me to get rid of my problems, and live my life. I just had a different connection with him, and he told me things that I still think about today, and that makes me think “He went through this much,” and he passed away. But the life lessons that he told me: I can still make that change, I can live my life to the fullest and I can live without regret.
So very true! Alright so this is the last question, and the last question for this series, and that is who is your Everyday Hero Komal?
My Mum. My Mum is my Everyday Hero because she is a woman who has pushed me along so far [and even through the times where I didn’t have the patience within me and I was like “No!”]. She was, and still is my rock, and I can’t find anyone or any man that can be there the way that she has. I know that there are many people out there who can have that relationship with their parents, but this is like a real friendship. I know friendships also have there up and downs, but she always tells me the truth in the end. Mum knows that ins and outs of me and I really thank her, because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be where I am today.
- Komal believes in the power of believing in yourself and the significance of time in every individual’s life. Dedicated and free-spirited, Komal hopes to one day open up a clinic to support family and friends through their journey of loosing significant others in their lives.
- Komal has decided that if this interview would have a soundtrack, it would be ‘Superhero’ by The Script, which you can listen to by clicking here.
- Komal urges all those interested in making a positive change to donate to the Cancer Council.
- Komal’s interview concludes my segment ‘Everyday Heroes,’ subscribe to The Knight Life to be the first to find out all of the exciting things that are happening this [and] next year!
- Here is a little snapshot of our coffee date. I had an iced latte, and Komal had an iced chai [I had a sip, it was delicious!]
- Here is a snapshot of Komal and I on the day of our interview: