They say change is as good as a holiday. I find that so funny.... they. I was at a conference recently and it struck me how often the presenter said "they say...". No disrespect because it was a great conference, but littered with all these they's! And I found myself distracted with the thought of Who are they? Why do their opinions get dropped into daily conversation? Why does everyone care so much about them? It's one of those things that you're not aware of until you are and then it's everywhere. Just watch, now you too will notice how often "they say" is slipped into conversation.
And because Nick and I always do what "they" say, we're heading into a period of massive change. Ok, well, not actually, because if we listened to a lot of what "they" say we'd probably be continuing on our current treadmill because that's for sure the safer option. But that's not how we roll. Nick says to me all the time "if this was easy, everyone would be doing it". So we're doing it - we're throwing caution to the wind, packing up our entire lives and moving away from the big city. And we're doing it in less than 3 weeks!
Why? Why move away from everything we know, the community we've built, Sam's cousins, Aunts, Uncles & Grandparents, from our GP, hairdresser and quiet cul de sac street? Why do we want to risk starting over, building a new community and heaven forbid let someone else dye my hair? Well, from my perspective (and luckily I think we're pretty aligned on this as we're both jumping into this together) the main reason is... time. and the ability to have more of it outside the city. Following on from that, stress, and the reduction we'll have with lower living costs and wide open space. And finally simplicity. Having gone through this tumultuous journey over the past 3 years, I have a much better appreciation for the simple life - for having time in my day to think, meditate, create meals, do yoga, grow my own vegetables, have quality family time. Simple, but not boring. Nick and I have always been home bodies. We enjoy company, and we love hosting people, but we're not good at going out. And over the past 3 years, with my health going up & down, it's limited the energy both of us have for going out so we've appreciated more the joy of good company, of peace, of spontaneous family games and cuddles. And when you've faced some of the darkest places your mind can go and some patchy health you start to appreciate that life is more than money and possessions but about good quality time with quality people.
We've been contemplating a move away from the big smoke for years, looked a various locations. We were always nervous to move away from our support network and from the medical professionals I've relied on. And we've also been concerned about furthering Sam's relationships with his cousins, an important bond for an only child. But holding back on living our potential best life for a few concerns has seemed silly and for myself personally I've felt trapped, in limbo. for a long time. I have known strongly since we returned from Europe that I was unhappy in my current life but felt unable to change anything because of all our excuses. And after doing the My Good Life course last year I learnt some key things about myself - I thrive in wide open spaces, I can feel closeted and claustrophobic without being able to see the sky. I also need time in my day to be alone with my thoughts, a rushing busy job is not going to be for me, and I am not a morning person. Knowing these key traits were not being addressed and feeling trapped on a hamster wheel not moving forward had really got to me and I was frozen in a state of malaise. And similarly, for Nick, the traffic, the long cycle to work taking his life in his own hands, coming home stressed from work and not catching the best moments with Sam. It all added up to us being done. And as much as we love our quiet street and bush outlook, it actually feels a bit dark and depressing at times, dare I say claustrophobic even. And Sam's cousins are all so busy with their own lives it's hard to find free time in their schedule for play dates anyway. And my health is on an upward trajectory. I think the rest of my journey is really one only I can complete, so the need for professional intervention isn't really an issue any more. And grandparents will visit... so the excuses didn't really seem important anymore.
So with much soul searching we kept coming back to a special place for us - the Rotorua Lakes region. My Dad and Nick's Mum both grew up there and my family still have a property right on Lake Rotoiti, which is our spiritual home. We feel at peace when we're there, calmer and like everything is going to be ok. We both have family in the area and we like the pace of life and the ability to raise Sam more simply with a focus on outdoor pursuits.
So the decision made, we jumped right into finding the right school for Sam, knowing that would be the clincher. We visited 3 different schools and researched others. After a year and a term at school and we now know what we don't want in a school and we think we know what will make Sam finally thrive at school. So when we found a lovely school we took it as a sign that this was meant to be. And the reason we're moving so fast is that he has to take his place this term or lose his out of zone enrolment. So what was holding us back? Not Nick's work, they'd already approved a provisional flexible working plan. So we just jumped. We gave ourselves 6 weeks and we're going for it.
These past few weeks have been a blur of logistics and packing. There is so much to consider when moving, let alone moving 3 hours away! But we're going to get there. We're going to start a new chapter in our lives, one we're so excited about. One we believe will give our little trio, our triangle family, the best future. Sayonara City of Sails, we're out!
"What an awesome life change!" they all say. "You must be so excited!" they say. And I am those things, I really am. But right now, what I mainly am is stressed the hell out. We have a shade under 3 weeks to uproot our entire lives and shift them across the country (OK, it's not all the way across the country, but it's far enough). At the same time (of course) it's extremely busy at work - so all that adds up to having zero spare time, going to bed exhausted every night, and then waking up early with your mind swimming in all the things that need to get done, all the badly timed surprise maintenance bills that need to be paid, and all the things you're afraid you forgot to add to your list.
So right at this moment in time, I'm not really feeling the joy and excitement of a massive life change. I'm feeling the pressure and uncertainty of a life in frantic flux. And yet, even in these moments, I still recognise that we are so lucky. We have supportive family who are helping us out. Neither of us are (very) sick or injured at this time (ok, my wife is still struggling with her fatigue & a sudden unwanted shoulder pain, but still... compared to where we've come from - healthy). Sam is mostly rolling with it, which is amazing given what a giant change it is. And we are prepared for this. After everything we've been through, we have the tools to stay sane through a time like this. I still journal and meditate most mornings, and exercise regularly. Through her health journey Annamarie has learned to cook us clean and delicious food which is great fuel for our bodies. We still manage to find moments for each other in the madness. And we're embracing the stress, channelling it and being grateful for it because without it our bodies wouldn't be producing the adrenaline we need to get through this crazy time.
I know that all our struggles and challenges have led us to this moment and armed us with the right tools to get through it. I know this is the right move for us, in spite of the nervousness and cold feet. We are excited. We are terrified. We are crazy. We are certain. We. Are. Doing. This.
We are a family of 3. This blog is the story of how we almost became 4, why we didn’t, and what we are doing to recover from that experience.