Recently my husband applied for a job overseas. It was one of those 'follow your heart' dream opportunities. The application process was long and arduous. For weeks we lived in an uncertain limbo world, unsure of whether we were about to pack up and leave, or stay and continue life as usual. After 7 weeks of planning to leave, just in case, it all fell through. The End.
Then it dawned on me. We’ve been living differently since we thought that we would be leaving soon. Life has not been the same. Now everything will go back to normal, at least it probably should, but I’m not sure that I want it to entirely. The stress of the uncertainty in the weeks of not knowing has been exhausting. However, I can look back and see lessons that I have learned that I may not have learned any other way.
Because we thought we were about to move to the other side of the world:
We’ve been getting things done. We have found the time to get some of the jobs that have been sitting on the list completed. Murray and Jesse have done a lot of driving, getting the learner driver hours completed. Little jobs around the house and in the garden have been worked through. It’s amazing how productive the family has been when we thought we had a timeframe to work within.
Our time together as a family was more valuable. We have been inclined to sit together to watch tv instead of spreading out around the house. There was something a little bit more special about our family dinners. The girls have invited us to join them, and we have included our kids in things we would often just do ourselves. Times together have been a bit more precious, thinking that it might come to an end soon.
We have had some significant conversations, saying things that need to be said, talking about things that need to be talked about. The important things that easily go unsaid in the normal routine of life. We’ve been saying “I love you” a little more often, and meaning it a little more.
We have been throwing away excess stuff and finding the things we really love and value. Considering what will we take with us really made me evaluate how much I really like each piece of furniture, each picture hanging on my wall, each book in my bookshelf. We have either given or thrown away so much stuff in the last month it’s been surprising. I didn’t really think the house was over cluttered with junk, but the thought of downsizing to a small apartment and taking things to the other side of the world helped me ask the question “Do I really need this? Do I really love this?”
We’ve fixed up our home. The house often looks it’s best just before you sell. We have new taps, new door handles, and new toilet seats. The gardens are in beautiful shape and the painters are still booked for next week. None of the value will be lost no matter how long we stay. We get to enjoy living in our house looking and working its best. Most of these things would not have been done if we weren’t planning on selling.
I’ve been collecting photos of special memories and special people and putting them together in a format that preserves them. I’ve spent time sifting through photo folders on my hard drive, picking out my favourite memories and getting them together. I’ve played with apps to make posters and photo books and started putting them together.
We’ve been doing the “One day I would love to…” things. We stayed at the Meriton for our anniversary, just because it may have been our last chance. We’ve been cooking recipes we wanted to try, going places we had wanted to visit.
We’ve been noticing things that we would miss. Spending time with people we love has been more precious. I’ve been noticing sunsets, birds, flowers. Savouring favourite foods and appreciating favourite spaces. Evaluating every little thing with the constant “I’m going to miss…” thought. This just makes every day such a blessing, every conversation, every meal, every memory.
I discovered how much I want to write. I’ve had to answer the question, “What are you going to do?” When I quit work, leave my home and my children and everything I fill my life with, what would I do? What would I love to do? It’s been such a blessing to have the opportunity to ask this question, hypothetically for real. It’s been exciting, to the point where I was just as disappointed for me as I was for Murray at the thought of not going. So, I’m going to try and do some of it anyway. I’m going to start writing. I’ve gone and purchased a domain name. It only cost me $20, but it still feels significant. I’m going to start my blog and work on my book and just do it anyway. I don’t know if I realised how much I wanted to do it until I had the chance of having no other options.
I’m still disappointed that hubby didn’t get the job, and I still hope that we do get to go someday. But, I’m glad we got to spend a month getting ready to go just in case. It’s been good for all of us.