Progress is impossible without Change

Hello Friends! I’ve got so much to share but don’t know where to begin. It’s been a while since I actually sat down with my laptop to write anything and I’ve missed it terribly, but time has been very scarce and I’m sad to say, my priorities have been forced to shift over the last few months.

Firstly, our Summer has been dismal. It rained and was windy and very un-Summery throughout December. I can handle that – just about, because the relief, sunshine and heat that normally arrives in January is always something to look forward to. Unfortunately, the Weather Gods have had other ideas. The weather seems to be reflecting my life at the moment. Or perhaps my life is reflecting the weather…I’m not sure, but both have been incredibly changeable, calling on inner strength, resilience and a positive outlook to face whatever each day has presented to us.

You may recall that in August last year, after months of deliberation, prayer, consultation and introspection, we decided that my husband would leave his well-paid but highly stressful corporate job. SCARY! I am so proud of him. He isn’t a shmoozer or politician. He doesn’t “network” to further his own purposes. He refuses to build his own empire by creeping, running, climbing and back-stabbing his way through other people’s dreams, careers and ideas. He is honest, hard working, loyal and has the utmost integrity. He believes in good old-fashioned values, which sadly, these days, are severely lacking in today’s society. So what next we wondered…would he look for alternative work? Would we buy a business or start something up? I was working part-time and about to begin studying, and although our little man is getting bigger and more independent by the day, we still need to be able to provide a stable home, school and social environment for him, with all that that entails. The plan was set in motion. Well, a basic plan but a very open-ended one with so many opportunities, stresses, challenges, decisions and outcomes; some we expected and others we’ve discovered along the way.

Over the past 6 months, we have dreamed together, laughed together, cried together, stressed together, talked, talked, talked and talked. It has been an amazing journey and we still have so many unanswered questions. Thankfully we have alternated our “good days” and “bad days”, pouring energy into being positive and supportive of each other, but by being honest, patient, kind, tolerant and understanding, we are getting there. Sharing our fears, concerns, joys, dreams, wishes, beliefs and allowing each other the space and opportunity to rage, release the negative energies that build up over time and grieve as we’ve had to make very tough decisions, has been enlightening and uplifting.

For someone who has been in a corporate environment for 30 years, suddenly having the time to ponder what he actually wants to do with his life has been therapeutic and devastating at the same time, as it has opened up internal discussions about lost dreams, talents and time. Learning about who we are and what is important to us and what we actually want to achieve in this life, means asking ourselves, and each other, some very tough questions. Taking stock of physical possessions and how we feel about them, what they mean to us or represent in our lives; the sacrifice required to maintain them, or the implications of releasing some of them – wow! It’s like ripping the very face off yourself and staring into your heart, your inner being, questioning everything about who we are and what is important to us. Enriching, enlightening, eye opening.

In order to help us along, I gave up my part-time work and was lucky enough to find full-time employment closer to home in a role which allows me to grow professionally while utilising what I’m studying – and they’re really nice people. It’s been tough. Deciding to walk away from afternoons with my boy, after school activities, school pick-ups, etc. was heart-wrenching but I have been incredibly blessed to be able to do this for almost his entire life. Now, for the first time, my husband has been able to enjoy school pick-ups, class trips, after school activities. He is learning where the tupperware or cheese grater is stored in the kitchen; how to make the perfect toasted cheese and tomato sandwich; which way to position a karate Gi and how to tie the belt. I’ve watched my husband laugh again. His skin has changed colour, becoming a healthier shade as it breathes in the simplicities of every-day life and leaves the automaton life behind. We’ve had to cut our cloth accordingly which is a very humbling experience, taking discipline to an almost tangible level.

And we’ve decided to sell our home. Our beautiful, much-loved, recently renovated home. I love my home. This is our first home we lived in on moving to New Zealand. It is the longest either of us has ever lived in the same home, ever. A year after renting it we made the decision to buy it, sacrificing much and both working full-time to achieve our goal. And then our beautiful baby boy arrived. Bringing him home that day was exciting and daunting. We’ve watched him take his first steps, heard him say his first words, experience first Christmas, Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny within these walls. It was here that I learned that my beloved sister had lost her battle with MS, where my father called me to say my brother had been killed in a car accident. It was here we were told of the death of my wonderful father-in-law, a generous and kind man. We’ve experienced 3 pregnancy losses here. Cars have come and gone, the lawn has been mowed season after season. One much-loved family pet, our dear Ozo, is buried in the garden and friends and family have travelled from far and wide to spend precious time with us here. This has been the toughest decision of all of them for me. But in order for us to achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves, we need to do this and I admit, I cried after the estate agent left. I cried when the For Sale sign went up outside. And I’ll most likely cry those horrible, embarassing, raw kind of tears when we eventually pack up and leave, but I’m hoping that another family will come along and love it as much as we have. We’re often told that our home feels happy. And I’ve realised that that is partly because of us and the love and happiness we share as a family, not only because it truly is a beautiful home. We’ll take that with us wherever we go.

Things are looking positive for my husband, partner and friend of 21 years too. He is itching to get back to some kind of work and has been able to work out where his strengths lie and what he enjoys doing. There are a few opportunities on the horizon for him too. What seemed very fractured a few months ago all seems to be falling into place, piece by piece. I like to think it’s all about timing. Good things happen when we’re open, positive and honest. I’m still a little nervous about the next few months but excitement is setting in. And I promise I’ll be sharing a few more recipes in the coming days. Delicious salads I’ve made throughout January, even though the weather continued to be annoying. We had a few weeks of pure glorious Auckland Summer but then that disappeared in a deluge of rain and cloud again this past week but sometimes we have to make our own sunshine.

To special friends and family who have been generous with your guidance and emotional support, we love and thank you. Your texts and messages of friendship at unexpected times are worth millions. It’s been a Hull-of-a-Summer :). Watch this space. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without Change”.

Have a great weekend.

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