Moving to Australia… Changes Abound!
Yesterday morning Al Jazeera TV network called me to do a live studio interview in their D.C. studio, via satellite from their Qatar headquarters. I jumped at it. Living in Washington D.C., and indeed America, has been packed with cool opportunities and new experiences. Life here has been nothing short of amazing. So choosing to change where I live isn’t all easy.
The packers arrive today. They will bring boxes, tape, paper… lots of it.
In a few days my life as I know it will be packed away and loaded into a container bound for Australia.
I know moving back to Australia will be wonderful on many fronts. But there is something about the very nature of change that makes it difficult, even when it’s change we choose and change that holds much to look forward to.
The photo above is one that I took of a former village consumed by the sands of the Sahara Dessert in southern Algeria many years ago. It’s message: Nothing is permanent.
The fact is that all change, even change for the better, is hard. Sure as one chapter closes, another begins. But there’s something about the closing that brings up a sense of loss, grief even.
I’ve felt an abundance of mixed emotions since my husband and I decided to move back to Melbourne earlier last month.
None of them are bad. Though some haven’t felt so good.
I’ve felt sad at leaving so many friends whom I’ve grown to love so much.
I’ve felt anxious about choosing the right place to live, and getting my kids into great schools.
I’ve felt overwhelmed at the thousand things we’ve had to do to close down our life here and set it up there.
I’ve felt delighted about living close to the beach, and closer to my parents, brothers and sisters.
I’ve felt touched by the outpouring of love from our friends as they’ve shared how much they will miss us.
I’ve felt perplexed by the fact that some really cool opportunities in TV-land have come just as I’m getting ready to go.
I’ve felt scared that maybe I will never have life so good again.
And I’ve felt excited about the opportunities that I will create in Australia… opportunities I’ve yet had time to even imagine. Haven’t had the time!
I know that I am not my emotions. I also know that every emotion is valid in its own right. I don’t have to let my emotions consume me. I don’t ‘have to let them dictate who I will be, or let them set up permanent residence in my psyche.
Every time I’ve felt any of these emotions listed above, plus many more I won’t even list, I’ve done my best to acknowledge it, sat with it, and try to embrace it. A few tears have been shed along the way. I know that life is a roller coaster of emotions and right now, with so much going on in my life, the roller coaster is at full tilt!
Amazing new adventures await. Yet I know the next few months won’t all be easy. Learning the ropes of my kids new schools, relearning my way around our old city, getting set up with new orthodontists and sitters and hair dresses. Mundane stuff like that can sometimes be taxing. Then, come later in March when those containers arrive off the ship, unpacking them into the home we hope to find in the interim.
The funny thing is that had I not said YES to moving to America in in 2001, with three tiny babies (and to Dallas no less!!), I would never have come to experience all that I have here. And so I know that while change can be hard, even change we choose, it is also ripe in opportunity and the experiences which make life rich.
When the ground beneath our feet shifts, as it is for me right now, it’s only reasonable that we feel a bit unstable. How can our world tilt on its axis without us tilting a bit with it?
While all change can challenge us, it is also what makes us grow and adds new dimensions of richness to our lives. So in the days to come, I will will trust in myself that I have all the resources within me to handle whatever changes and challenges lie ahead… one day, one hour, at a time.
As I’ve said previously, I am not leaving the US forever. In fact I will probably be back here within a couple months to speak at conferences and events. But when I step foot in America next time, it will be as a visitor, not as a resident. And something about that new reality will feel strange. Not bad. Not good. Just different.
Such is change, right?
Whatever changes you have coming your way in the year ahead, I wish for you to know that whatever their nature, you have all the courage, resilience and resourcefulness within you to meet them. One day, one hour, and some days, one minute at a time.
The photo above of the former village in the Sahara being consumed be sand tells a profound and timeless message. Nothing is permanent.
And so it is.
Life boldly, lead bravely, love deeply.