I can’t do this anymore…

Can’t do this anymore? Can’t even pretend to enjoy a life that is ill-fitting and uncomfortable? Does escaping into movies, books, theatre or travel seem like a more desirable alternative than living the life you have? Do day trips on ferries, trains and buses make you giddy with joy because you get to leave your problems behind? My friend, life isn’t mean to be like this. It has to mean more. It is altogether horrid to feel a knot inside your gut and anxiety return at the mere whiff of the need to return to everyday life.

I know people who are putting off medical check-ups because they are scared of what will be revealed. They cram their calendar so that there just isn’t the time. I know people who are so heartbroken that they escape to the big city any chance they have so they don’t have to deal with awkward chatter with the strangers they live with. Strangers that they once married and thought that they knew. I know dear folks who hate their jobs and homes, towns and circumstance. One dear soul burst into tears when upon a chance meeting, I inquired as to how she was. She asked what she had done to deserve such misery, explaining that she had done everything in her power to turn things around. “You and I both know that you have,” I replied. “You have done everything a human being can possibly do. Now, you have to let go and wait for the answers.” The answers don’t come by holding on to a life you have outgrown. It doesn’t come by running away, sedating yourself or procrastinating. It comes by doing everything you know shall assist you to obtain a better future, and shaking up your world, oft terrifying yourself in the process.

A dear family I know are going to Europe for a year. They are artists, and have outgrown the life they had been living. They don’t know the language and have never been to these particular countries. They don’t know anyone there. If they don’t do what their soul yearns to do, they will wither. Everything must change. I have friends who are giving up apartments to travel Australia and then the world. I have friends who have bitten the bullet and had niggling health concerns seen to, hence saving them a world of heartache long-term.

There comes a time when the pain of staying; of procrastinating, far outweighs the terror of leaving. When that time comes, you must shake up your entire world. Do what you can, then wait for what was meant for you. It will come. A rule of physics is that a perfect vacuum is a place devoid of matter. Emptiness can’t exert a force on objects travelling through it. It is being taken someplace. The getting there can often suck (pardon the pun), but you will find yourself planted soon enough. The worst that could happen is staying unhappily where you are. If the thought of your life remaining as it is five years from now fills you with horror, it’s time to think about what’s required to reframe the picture. This life is too precious to settle. It is akin to dying on a daily basis. You were built for more than that.

I remember when it became clear that my child needed more than what her school could provide for her dyslexia. I came home and opened a bottle of red. I felt despair and then allowed myself the luxury of unleashing my imagination. I gave myself a year, to prove I could  home school my daughter. Now in her fourth year, she is a voracious reader, has acted, sung on stages in front of thousands, climbed the tallest tree in Australia, and is a confident eleven year old. Oh yes, I second-guessed myself, and fretted that I was doing the wrong thing. It got to the point that even if it did turn out to be a disaster, at least we had tried. We simply couldn’t have kept going as we were. What is the worst that can happen? A disease is picked up early, you fly by the seat of your pants, you now know what you want to do, or what works by discovering what didn’t? At least you know how it could have turned out. At least there will be no regrets when you are eighty.

Dream outrageous dreams, and think outlandish thoughts, then change things. Take charge and then let go.

The Move-A Saga of Crooks and Christmas Wonder

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Last week, we moved house. It has been a long time coming. Five years in one home was a record for me, and it wasn’t even comfortable. It didn’t feel like a sanctuary. You get “stuck” in a place or situation without realizing it, and the thought of moving… Friends dropped boxes off throughout the past six months, and I slowly packed them and moved them into the garage. I thought I had de-cluttered sufficiently. We organized mover’s and cleaners so that we wouldn’t have to ask anyone for help. I geared myself up for the inevitable pain I would face with the rigours of moving, and my spine didn’t disappoint. A few days before, I lost control of my right arm and my bladder. Half of my spine went numb; the other portion was agonizing. I was amazed at my ability to peak before the main event! I told loved ones that I would sort out the new place within four days then have a good rest. After a period of a week, I would return to society. I was rather pleased that I had a hired team and wouldn’t require any assistance.

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The day arrived, and I couldn’t wait. I had swept up all my memories, and was taking only the good with me. I went to the new place early, imagining where everything would go. I noted that the movers had put some boxes in the garage, and remarked to my friend that they were “lovely young men.” They didn’t make a reappearance and I was told that they weren’t at our old place either. We rang their mobile but it was switched off. “They must have gone to lunch,” I kept repeating to myself.  We rang their boss who informed us that they had left and weren’t coming back. They had taken their fee from the credit card! Crap!!! We had a full house of furniture to transport and half a day to do it in. Hurriedly hiring a truck, we asked if anyone was around who could help. A fellow listened to our tale of woe at the reception area when we got the truck, and would you believe he turned out to be one of our new neighbours! He insisted on helping. Mums, children and men gathered, and the moving began. I burst into tears when I saw more friends alight from cars. Some brought food and cold drinks. An elderly fellow around the street from our old place was one of those who offered. It was a heat wave and I was astounded when they brought in wall units and fridges with a big smile on their sweaty faces.

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I kept saying “thankyou,” until they could bear it no longer and demanded I be quiet. I heard the children laughing and playing together in the garden. We had a gathering of good people, sitting under a fan, sharing their lives. An elderly man told me about being a ward of the state and growing up in an orphanage and how he is shy and lonely. “You are doing okay with this group!” I assured him. He mentioned what lovely friends I had, and I nodded. “They’re the best.” They brought in our old tattered furniture with great care, the last of the group leaving at 11pm. The next day, we informed the movers that we would go to the Department of Fair Trading if the money wasn’t put back in our account and begrudgingly, they relented.

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Beautiful furniture was left at our door-gifts from a dear friend- and food was delivered. What a dichotomy, to experience scoundrels and angels on the same day. I went out to the garage and looked on in dismay at the multitude of boxes stacked to the ceiling. Why had I kept so much? I could have halved it before the move! I felt overwhelmed as to where to start. A little dog from across the street broke away from its elderly neighbour and ran into my garage. It lifted its leg and peed on a box. I laughed and laughed. Maybe it was a sign?! I organized the house within four days, and then crawled into bed. I am about to re-emerge from my cave.

We couldn’t have our Christmas Tree up at the old place as there was no room. By a miracle, it was the first box we unpacked, and we set about decorating it. As each ornament was slid onto a branch, we gave thanks. Thankfulness for new beginnings, a beautiful home and for the best friends anyone could have. I have learnt that it is okay to ask for help, and that whilst there are scammers and shysters’ creeping around, waiting to pounce, there are more good people in this world. On the 1st December, I felt the power of the Christmas Spirit. It is love, kindness and servitude. It blessed my new home with its presence.