“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Someone asked me this question recently.
The past year has been an adventurous one for our family. We sold our house in Canada, then a few days later bought a house in NZ via a phone auction, having only seen the house online in photos and via a Skype conversation with the real estate agent. We moved to live in NZ in April and soon after, settled into our new home. Throughout that time, there have been many firsts, such as learning to drive on the left side of the road; visiting a geyser and walking on suspension bridges among redwood trees in Rotorua; climbing Mount Maunganui (and then returning many times since); visiting Hobbiton in Matamata; visiting glowworm caves in Waitomo, and many, many more. There have also been more minor, less significant firsts that are nonetheless exciting. Tonight, we are preparing to celebrate our first Kiwi Christmas in our new home. We had never before celebrated Christmas in the summer.
I recently spoke via Skype with a family friend who exclaimed that we made the move seem easy and seamless. That is mostly true. What we have not shared openly with many people is the consistent work that has gone into our plans over the past few years, and particularly the entire emigration process, which included our educational assessments, an interview, and the wait for our visas. I have written previously about feeling homesick and displaced from time to time, which is a strange new sensation for me, having been brought up in three different places in the world, having had to change schools and adapt to new lifestyles. My beautiful and wise mother tells me that with every move, what helped my parents most was an attitude of fluidity and the willingness to leave the past behind in order to settle into an entirely new lifestyle. I return to her advice often these days.
At other times, I catch myself off guard and laugh at how natural our new lifestyle feels to me. I get caught in the moment and forget that we have only been in NZ for the past eight months. Some days, it feels as though we have always been here. It’s only when I spin out of that flow state and start to over-analyse, comparing our new lifestyle to the one we had before, that I start to feel out of sorts. That is when I remember to sit with my entwined emotions and allow myself to feel vulnerable. I remind myself of the impermanence of our experiences. Most importantly, I immerse myself in gratitude for both the grand and the mundane that surrounds me every day. I invite myself to delve into something new, jumping into it with both feet, regardless of what thoughts or doubts might be swirling through my mind.
Once the wheels are in motion, we must trust that we are on the right path, and if we happen to turn a different corner, the adventures are often well worth it. We will always end up exactly where we are meant to be, so we might as well relax and enjoy the ride.
When was the last time you did something for the first time? What were some of your firsts in 2017? What new adventures — how ever grand or minor — do you wish to experience in 2018?
Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a sweet week between the years! I remain forever grateful to you, my loyal and supportive readers. Namaste.
If you have a bit of time to do some additional reading, you might want to check out my top most popular stories of 2017: