Blending New Thinking with Old Ways
My time in my dream city, the wondrous, idyllic town of Oxford is over…for now. This trip has opened my eyes to so many things that I have previously shut out. I know I found a second home. We all have one. This is mine. But I also found a new inner strength. Being away from home does that. Somehow we do things while we’re away that we would not normally do and it’s those points of difference that strengthen us and get us ready for the next challenge that life brings.
My newest challenge is trying to incorporate the changes I made in Oxford into my life in Sydney. It’s so easy after being away to just fall back into the patterns of old. Fifteen years ago, I lived in a medieval town in Italy. I went for three months but ended up staying two years. By the time I returned, I was a different person. I had grown enormously, shaped my thoughts and ideologies with a new mind and I was enthusiastic to apply them to my life when I got home. The problem was, nobody else had changed while I was away. So everyone treated me as the same person I was before I left. It is not a phenomenon that was just attached to me; I’ve heard this story from a number of people who have experienced the same troubles in re-settling and being accepted for the changed person that they had become.
I found back then, that I slipped back into old ways and before long, much of what I had grown to like about myself, I had lost back in the slip stream of Sydney life. It was like I had never been away.
This time, I am much older and hopefully, a little wiser. I know it won’t be easy; after all, it was only a few months and nothing at all will be different for those back here. But for me it has. Being away meant that I had no one else to answer to but myself. It made life infinitely easier but it also allowed me to hear my own needs. Being back at home, I have the expectations and needs of others to consider and consider them I will, of course. But I need to live more in line with my needs , not everyone else’s. Of that I am now sure. I love my friends and family. But this time away has reminded me that I also need to love myself and honour my needs. By doing so, I can create a life that I truly love and one that my daughter will love as well. As I age, I recognize this more and more. It’s not selfish to want to make yourself happy, as long as it’s not at the expense of everyone else. But nor should living be at the expense of myself, which in the past is has. For the first time ever, I have lived it as I truly wanted to and it was incredible. Now I just have to find a way to keep that dream alive. And you can bet your bottom dollar I will. The feeling is just too good to let go. I’m hanging on tight!