In the time-strapped world we live in today, it’s easy to get lost in the constant demands on our attention.
Bosses nag us about the latest deadline; the kids have to be…somewhere. I can’t seem to remember at the moment. We take things for granted. We lose sight of what’s really important in life. The wake-up call usually comes with bad news, like the loss of a loved one.
I’ve lost both my parents.
Rich has lost his dad. My Mum passed away 14 years ago. My Dad, just over 3 years ago, two months after we lost Rich’s Dad. (Yeah, that was a rough year.)
I miss them all every single day. They all touched my life in ways that words will never convey.
With the death of my Mum, it rocked me to the core. It’s still hard. I went from planning a holiday to see her to ‘get on a plane, she has a week to live.” I missed her by hours. I wasn’t able to say goodbye.
What I realized in the years that followed was how short my own time was with my own daughter. It prompted me to travel with Natalie, to show her the world, to make her see that you should pursue your passions in life.
After the death of our Dads, I was just going through the motions. When I looked at my life, as death tends to do that to you, I realized I had slipped into ‘easy.’ Sure, I still travelled, but life had somehow become about my job. I had become my job. It had consumed me.
I would get up, go to work, slog through rush hour (again), hoping to get home in time to make dinner, or to help with homework. The highlight of the evening would be hour upon hour of television. Even when we did socialize, more often than not, TV would dominate the conversation.
What kind of life is it when you’re simply existing?
I used to tell people about my dream to travel the world. It was just talk. My dream remained a dream because I was full of shit. I embraced the easy instead of working for something that I had wanted for my entire life.
It was time for change.
It was time to quit the jobs we bitched about day in and day out. It was time to stop amassing the material items we had. It was time to get on with our lives. It was time to reclaim our family.
I have no doubt that losing our parents has had a massive impact on the decisions we’ve made, especially in the last 3 years. Life is short, too damn short.
Since our reality check, we’ve made some major changes in our lives.
Just in the last three years:
We purged our stuff. We sold the house, cars, and other unessential material items keeping only the things we truly cared about.
We moved from Austin, Texas to Sydney, Australia so that both Rich and Nat could get to know my family and see what living in Australia is like.
We’ve enrolled in courses that have made a difference in our lives, to expand on the things we are truly passionate about: Travel!
I’ve drafted a piece of fiction that has been floating in my heart and my head for years.
We’ve travelled. A lot. We’ve taken a few road trips up and down the NSW North Coast. We’ve driven the Great Ocean Road (and got a speeding ticket.) We fell in love with Tasmania. We’ve discovered parts of Sydney I’d never been to, even though I grew up here. We’ve explored bush-walking trails all over NSW. We’ve camped the south coast of NSW a few times and had some relaxing day trips south of Sydney. We’ve been to the Snowy Mountains… you get the idea. We’ve gotten OUT and done things!
For our future, we’re planning a trip to New Zealand this year, and beyond, we ‘re making plans to travel Australia and the world when Natalie heads to University. It’s all finally happening.
It all comes back to connecting.
Life is short. In the three years since making the change, we’ve become closer than I ever imagined. I’m closer to my husband, closer to my daughter. Moving overseas is a huge change for all of us and it’s brought us closer because we are all in this together.
Just as importantly, we have time to pursue our travel dreams. We have time to take road trips. We have time to explore places we never did. That’s because we reprioritized our life. Our life is worth more than a career in corporate America. Our life is worth more than a television show. (Note, since moving to Australia, we don’t own a television.
It’s time to start living.
We shouldn’t just exist in our lives. We all have dreams.
It’s time we all start pursuing those dreams, before life cuts us off at the knees.