I spent the first thirteen years of my life travelling. I’m originally from Melbourne, but born in Adelaide as my dad was posted for work there at the time. We then moved back to Melbourne until I was five. My dad was given the opportunity through his work to move overseas which back in the 1980's was significant and life changing. If my five-year-old self had been consulted before making this decision I would have made the biggest fuss, stomped my foot down with a clear ‘NO we are NOT going’ attitude. However, now looking back on this gift that we were given, I am so eternally grateful as those thirteen years really shaped me into the person I am today.
I remember crying a lot each time we had to move, which was normally every three years. I cried thinking about moving back to Melbourne as I missed my Nonna and Nonno, my Aunt Marina and my Nunna and of course her German Shepherd Tyson.
The toughest part with each move was having to build a whole new set of roots. Navigating a new language and culture (we lived throughout South East Asia), trying to fit into a new school, make new friends, all while going through so many awkward stages that growing up brings. Such as, Mum cutting all my hair off which made me look like a boy because it was easier for HER to manage in the morning (age 6). Losing my front baby tooth (age 7) and it not growing back until I was eleven. Oh, and pre-pubescence. Yep. Awkward. Challenging.
At thirteen I moved back to Australia to attend boarding school while my parents remained overseas until after I graduated high school. I remember feeling at the time that home and my roots were wherever Mum and Dad were, so I felt I couldn’t quite embrace being back in Melbourne. Even after pining to be back here for so many years, I felt like overseas was now my home!
Today I realised that I have lived in Melbourne for the past twenty-two years. I have done a bit of travel here and there, and Mum and Dad now live up on the Sunshine Coast. I have only just recently in this past year fully embraced living here and I am LOVING living here.
Only a few short years ago I was STILL trying to figure out a way to live overseas. What I realised (and this is purely my experience as everyone has different reasons for moving) was that I was only trying to subconciously escape myself and all the things I had to work on within me. I was wanting to move for all the wrong reasons. I thought I’d be happier if I was elsewhere. But really, I would have just carried everything in a big fat energetic suitcase all the way back to Asia with me.
Since doing the inner work and continuing to do the work, all of the things that I was unhappy about in my external environment that I wanted to escape from have altered and positively changed.
Have you ever planted a tree in the garden and for so long wondered why nothing was happening? For so long it seems like it remains the same height, same width, it’s like it is at a standstill. Then one day all of a sudden it starts to shoot and get taller and really take off. I feel like I’ve been that tree. A tree that was planted here in Melbourne twenty-two years ago. All of the experiences, lessons, people I’ve met, relationships I’ve had, and ways in which I have cared for myself have acted as the elements, the minerals, the insects, and microbiome in the soil, the nourishment that a tree needs to build its foundation and roots.
In order to build an incredibly strong root system and foundation, be it in the location where you choose to reside, your relationships, your work/business, you must go within, know yourself, be comfortable with who you are, be grounded in yourself and what you stand for in this world. Yes, there will be challenges, there will be disagreements, there will be highs and there will be many lows, but each one of these challenges is an essential mineral needed to make your roots stronger, to remind you of what you believe in, to help you grow and flourish.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the giant sequoia trees in Yosemite. They are the third longest-lived tree species with the oldest known specimen to have been 3,266 years old. They would have a pretty spectacular story to tell! I’m sure they’ve been through a number of catastrophic storms, and seen too many sunny blue sky days to count. They didn’t start off that strong and tall. It took time to build that foundation to grow from. They each have their own individual unique story, root system, and place in this world.
Know your story. Own your story. Your story is your roots, your foundation. It may be a 15-year-old story, it may be a 27-year-old story, it may even be an 80-year-old story. Write it down. You don’t have to put it on a blog or in a book. Just write it down for you. Get to know you and be proud of you, all that you have achieved and been challenged with. Be proud of all the mistakes you’ve made, and all of the incredible wins you’ve had thus far.
Know deep within that all of the struggles, lessons, and experiences are helping to make your root system stronger, wiser, and unshakable.
"The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness - even our wholeheartedness - actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls." -Brené Brown