**N.B. This venture is NOT a ‘disability-focussed’ venture, it never was, and this is not my intention. Sure, I live with spina bifida & hydrocephalus plus other health complications which means disability is visibly touched on from time to time, through sharing my adventures with you (and of course through the fund/awareness-raising aspect of my venture) – but I am simply Tania, a woman Chasing my Dreams in my own way!
Everyone, no matter who we are, has Goals and Dreams in life…and it took bringing my biggest and most sentimental Dream to life, for me to realise just how valuable these Dreams are, in making them happen!
Hi! My name is Tania Sherley, I live on the Sunshine Coast in Qld Australia. Thank you for taking interest in my little venture…a venture which I am very proud of – its changed my life – and it humbles me to say, its helped change others too!
I was born with Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus, as well as having other associated effects from these disabilities.I rely on a wheelchair to get through life. I’ve always been someone who gets out there, and tries to achieve what I want to in life ‘in my own way’. In the years preceding mid-2011, there came a point in my life where because of many ups-and downs (we all have ‘life stuff’ that happens to us, right?) as well as the depression which has taken presence in my life, plus the effects of PTSD which, at its worst, manifested in such a way when I was younger, that I just couldn’t make my way to my own mailbox at the end of my driveway – I just felt lost and disillusioned with life itself…not because of my disability itself, but with other knockdowns that just kept happening,. I just didn’t know how to get out of the way of my own mindset which was sabotaging my happiness, I was not able to trust in life itself…..
…UNTIL, a magic day in August 2011 that turned my life completely around!
Three-and-a-half minutes on a racetrack with Steve Johnson from Dick Johnson Racing. That was all it took for me to feel absolutely fulfilled, fired up to get out there and experience life to the absolute maximum!
You see, I was raised in a ‘racing family’, but I missed out on joining them out on the racetrack because of my disabilities. When I was growing up, there wasn’t the means and ways for a young girl with a disability to get out there amongst it, and joining in with the family with their racing just wasn’t encouraged (now with modifications and an awesome growth in society in the area of inclusion, there is ways to get out there onto the racetrack, which is amazing for people like me, who have the ‘need for speed’ inside them!)
Growing up having to be content with sitting on the sidelines, knowing that it was literally ‘in my blood’ to race, yet not being able to get out there was like I had a hole deep down inside of me, in my spirit. I believe this was a big part of why I felt so lost for so long.
But, this all changed – through the great man, Dick Johnson – Australian racing legend, inspiration, and just a very special man, I had the opportunity to get out onto Queensland Raceway, Ipswich Qld Australia, to co-pilot his son Steve, in a V8 Supercar! This opportunity came about from a simple conversation I innocently had one day with someone I had met, about my racing passion…which (completely unbeknownst to myself until I received correspondence from Dick Johnson Racing!) flowed down the line to Dick himself – and the rest as they say, is history! You just NEVER know what can come from having a conversation with someone – and it was my first lesson in, ‘share your dreams and goals with others, put it out there’ – because you just NEVER know what may unfold from doing so!
I was completely beside myself in the days and weeks leading up to this day (I had a 2 months wait from the initial correspondence till the magical day itself!)…but I had NO idea how much it was going to change my life.I had the absolute honour of meeting Dick Johnson and members of his race team, and the next thing I knew, I was INSIDE the race car, sitting beside Steve Johnson himself, ready to race around that track…
Steve started up the beast…I couldn’t believe it, I was about to RACE! No, I wasn’t driving the car, but I was out on that track, racing around an actual competitive race track which the Team had raced on just two days prior, at speeds up to 240km/hr…. it was insane (but SO much fun!). Sliding around that track I was having the absolute time of my life…I was racing!
As we were heading back into the pits area I suddenly felt this most amazing ‘click’ inside of me, I had never felt anything like it in my life. It was such a delicious feeling of true fulfillment. In that moment, I had changed, I just knew it….I felt it.
I got out of that V8 Supercar with my mindset and inner being SO charged up, it was amazing and so surreal to experience! At first I thought it was just the adrenaline, but then I realised….this was not ‘just a ride around a race track’. This experience was bringing to life something which I had felt the loss of deep inside of me for practically my whole life.
I had now ‘raced like my family did’…in my own way!
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine I would have the sensation and experience of doing something I was ‘born to do’ (racing) – but, I had done it…MY way. I climbed out of that beautiful racecar literally, absolutely, mindblown!
After an incredible day out at the racetrack bringing this very special Dream to life, and spending time with Dick, Steve, and the incredibly passionate and hardworking Team and family behind Dick Johnson Racing…. I was back in my hotel. I thought ‘RIGHT that’s it, time to get going in life…no more ‘wanting’ life to be different…no more sitting on the sidelines of life wishing I was living a life of adventure’ (which was something I’d always envied in others who were out there REALLY living!)…it was time to MAKE it happen, for me!
So I sat down with pen and paper, and started to write a list of all the things I wanted to do. Some of the things on the list I didn’t even realise I wanted to do, or was even able to do, but now I KNEW I could experience them.
Before I knew it (it was as if that pen and paper took off on a life of its own, the ‘list’ just kept growing!), I had a page full of Dreams that I wanted to chase and achieve – and then it hit me – ‘Chasing my Dreams!’…this is what I was born to do!
My Bucket List has now evolved to something truly magic, and is almost 300 ‘Dreams’ long. I have had so much fun, and so many life-enriching and changing, experiences along this ride!
I have also added to my list those things which I have strived for in the past, and achieved. It is very important to look at your achievements in life, they are a brilliant motivator. At those times when you just don’t feel that motivation to achieve something new, or challenging – you can look back at the things you HAVE achieved in your life, and know that you CAN do it!
Since that magic day in 2011, I have been on an amazing rollercoaster ride, bringing so many goals and dreams into my life ‘in my own way’.
Along with a number of HUGE Dreams and achievements, many which I have had to reach deep down into myself, and way out of my comfort zone to achieve – I have also had a lot of fun. I have achieved so many things thus far which, before this journey began, I had no idea how I was going to achieve them…or even dared to have them reach further in my mind than just a passing thought
Everyone’s goals and dreams are different. They are as unique as we are – jus because someone else may have a Dream of travelling to a different country for a year, doesn’t mean that our goal, even if it is a much smaller one, is not important. If it’s important to you…it is worth striving for!
Striving for, and achieving your Goals creates a incredible ‘wave’ effect on the rest of your life. Every one of my goals and dreams that I have brought to life since I started ‘Chasing my Dreams’ and living life the ‘Bucket List’ way, has taught me about myself, about life itself, and about the world around me. This now flows into how I live my life every day. It is not about just ‘ticking something off a list on a piece of paper/screen’, my life happens BECAUSE of me and what I’ve created – it doesn’t happen TO me!
Even life’s knockdowns are easier to deal with now. My ‘life stuff’ doesn’t seem to affect me quite as much because I now have goals and dreams to still strive for! As I often say “I can make my way back to happy”, and my goals and dreams are ‘My Happy!’
Whenever you find yourself saying or thinking ‘I’d love to do that one day’… strive to make it happen….believe that you CAN do it! Even if it’s going to take a while to achieve, or a lot of work to do it, if it is important to you, you can find a way! YOU are worth it. YOU are worth the effort!
Through Chasing my Dreams, I am also striving to ‘give back’ to SBH Qld (Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Qld) for all the vital work and support they have provided to me, and hundreds of other adults, children, and families throughout Qld, for so many years. I strive to connect some of the Dreams on my bucketlist, to raising funds for SBH Qld, through my SBH Qld Everyday Hero fundraising page I have set up for this amazing organisation.
I will forever be so grateful to absolutely everyone who has supported and encouraged me along the way since Chasing my Dreams has begun, and evolved into something truly magical! Especially grateful and forever indebted to the man (and his son Steve who drove me to my Dream!) who I now affectionately call “My Racing Dad”, Dick Johnson – and how a simple ‘hot lap’ (like him and his Team have made happen for so many people out there in this world) completely changed my life…it took us both by complete surprise!
ANYTHING is Possible…in your own way!