I am in my 20’s, I love long walks along the beach and staying fit… oh wait, this is not an internet dating site – I can tell the truth!
So who am I? That’s a good question. I am in my 30’s, successful career, well-travelled, fun. What else do you need to know? Currently living in a small town – wait a minute; a small town? How did that happen?!
Yes, I have of late found myself in a situation I never thought I would find myself – living back with my family in the small country town I was raised in and left as soon as I finished high school. Why am I here? Isn’t that the eternal question!
Well there I was living the high life in London town – great career, great money, lovely home, travelling often, fabulous clothes, opportunities galore – when my world turned upside down. My beloved dad in Australia was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was due to fly to Australia for Christmas holidays 5 weeks to the day I found out the devastating news.
I found myself faced with a decision – stay in Australia after my holiday, or return to London? It was a difficult decision to make. On the one hand I loved my dad to pieces, he had always been my go-to man, and I spoke to him every single day (often twice a day). I couldn’t imagine getting on a plane back to London knowing I might never see him again, or at least, not have much time with him.
On the other hand, I loved London. It had been my home for almost 6 years and it was the place my heart yearned to be; it was part of my soul. I was due for citizenship in just under a year, and if I left the country for more than 3 months, I would lose my right to citizenship. And I definitely did not want to spend too much time in my home town. There was a reason I hadn’t lived there or with my family for 18 years! Besides, what would I do to earn money? Where would I buy clothes? And doctors can be wrong; right?
Everyone had an opinion on what I should do. It was a confusing, stressful and emotional time. But in the end I followed my instincts and chose my dad. I knew I could live anywhere in the world, but I would never get the chance to spend time with my dad again. So I gave up my job, my home, my money, my life; put my fabulous clothes into storage in shipping containers to ship back to Australia; gave away many of my possessions that I could not justify shipping back to Australia; and returned to the town that I vowed never to return to 18 years ago. For how long? Who knew?
My family was very blessed as my dad held on much longer than the doctors expected him to. But sadly, just over 7 months after his diagnosis he lost his battle and our family lost a wonderful man.
It has been a difficult road since I left London; but it has also been rewarding. Adjusting to life in a small town has not been easy, and 10 months down the track I still yearn for London and the life that I left behind. But the time I got to spend with my dad was worth it and provided lifelong treasured memories. We shared many laughs and special times and I will be forever grateful I chose him over my more selfish wants. My heart continues to yearn for all that I gave up, but I don’t regret my choice.
And now my dad has gone (gone fishin’ as he would no doubt like to say even though he was a terrible fisherman!), I find that I am still here in this town. Why? For many boring and complicated reasons which I won’t go into now for fear of boring you to tears.
Some days I know that being here is the right thing, at least for now. Other days I feel like a caged animal who needs to be set free. So what to do to appease the animal? Of course, here it comes – why not commit to a challenge to stop me from jumping off a bridge from the tediousness and humdrum of my current life situation. And so here I am.