What is it about being away from home that makes us realise what home really means?
About having someone taken away from us that makes us realise how much we need them by our side?
What is it about homesickness that makes everything that we suddenly can’t have seem more desirable than ever?
In my life, whenever I’m travelling, everything suddenly becomes clear.
Whilst I’m on the other side of the world, I get a second-wind with what I want my life to be back home,
An energy that alludes me day-to-day and makes me want to see changes in my world and set things right.
Whether it’s big or small, the things that need to change in my life, and the things that mean the most to me become overwhelmingly clear.
It seems that it is only when I am away from everything, that I can finally focus and see the bigger picture in life.
Away from the tunnel vision of the everyday that made everything seem cloudy and confused.
When you’re away from all the noise, you discover the voices that you miss.
When you’re removed from the monotony, you begin to miss those simple things that make you feel at home.
Whether it’s being able to go out one-on-one,
Getting a group together,
Or even being able to run into someone from your past on the street.
The simplicity of a routine, or the comfort of a tradition.
What’s come from being ripped from everything and everyone I’ve ever known and loved over the past two years,
Is that I get to experience a ‘you-don’t-know-what-you’ve-got-until-it’s-gone’ reality without the grief of it ever actually being gone.
The feeling of being homesick gave me clarity that I didn’t expect.
And although, in my scenario, being ‘ripped from’ means being placed just an hour flight away,
I was able to feel as removed from my normal life as if I was on the other side of the world.
I got to travel without leaving the country, and step back from my life without having to put my life on hold.
In hindsight, an upheaval was exactly what my life needed.
A non-negotiable yank of the tablecloth that threw everything I knew up into the air.
An obligatory shake-up to wake me up to what I had.
But when I was first told that the only life I had ever known was being taken from me, the fear of change was all consuming.
It was only when I realised that carving out a whole new life was entirely in my control, that I could see the silver lining.
Before the move, I had tried to find growth in doing the same thing again and again.
Expecting change to come from the same old, same old.
Einstein would have classified me as insane, and I was starting to become so.
Trying desperately to find a world so different, whilst always being five minutes down the road from where I grew up.
So desperate and ready to break the shackles, yet also so paralysed by fear of the idea of doing anything deemed out of the ordinary.
I wanted to change part of who I was, but had no idea how to change, or who I longed to change into.
With moving, came everything I had ever known for the first time being just out of reach, and by being somewhat removed from it all, I could finally see everything with a fresh set of eyes.
It was only then that I realised, that all I wanted to change about myself was that I wanted to be more grateful for what I had, and to be able cherish the things that were within my grasp.
That complacency had overtaken me, and I was taking the magic that existed in my life for granted.
What I learned was that when you’re apart, you long for the good, and the bad fades away to nothing.
What consumes us back home, is shaken off by distance.
All the annoyances and grievances that play in our minds dissipate,
As homesickness brings what is most important to the surface.
Even the anxieties of life seem more manageable with the perspective of distance.
When you’re away from everything, you can no longer fill your head with the fears of whether you’re catching up with friends or family enough in the spare moments we have, whether you’re doing enough with the time you have.
You’re not scrolling through social media and seeing other people’s lives as a slap in the face or a constant competition of who’s having the most fun.
Life becomes less about what you should* be doing, and more about what you want to be doing.
By having everything available at our fingertips, we are often so overwhelmed with choice that we end up doing nothing.
When everything is available, it all seems too easy and accessible to cherish – so we don’t.
It’s when we miss it, when we get homesick, that we start to marvel at the monotony we once had. The basic normality, it seems, is the stuff that we loved all along.
The magical moments, and incredible people we have access to every single day.
Away from all the stress and pain we create for ourselves, the world seems a little lighter and a little brighter.
Is it a case of rose-coloured glasses, or are we just finally seeing our world clearly for the first time?
With homesickness, comes the chance to hug a little tighter, cherish a little more, and appreciate what we have in our lives,
When you’re homesick, you see all the great things you had, and how much you took for granted.
You see that closeness doesn’t have to feel claustrophobic, and that familiarity doesn’t need to feel boring.
I’ve found that there’s so much comfort in the life I was leading, that I craved it when I lost it.
We get an opportunity to wake up to ourselves – because we’ve all got something that we can’t live without.
Sure, we miss out on things, but absence always has a way of making the heart grow fonder.
In the past two years since leaving home, two out of my three favourite people have come into the world.
Born in another state, that may as well have been another country the distance felt so great.
And while it hurts like nothing else when I miss birthdays, or see news of their first words or walks in a 7-second snapchat video,
Being kept apart from them has come with a silver lining.
That feeling in my heart – the pang of sadness and longing – lets me know that these boys have me completely and utterly wrapped around their little fingers,
That their sheer existence makes my world that much better.
And it’s nice to know in this world that that kind of love can still exist and be felt so powerfully.
That something as simple as a life being brought into the world, can bring so much joy and happiness into the lives they touch.
And so, after two years, the exile is complete, and I get the opportunity to plunge back into the predictability of the life I had led there for twenty-five years.
And that predictability is something I have never craved more.
What came to me as a challenge, something I’d never choose to ever do, has ended up being something that has changed my life for the better, forever.
We get so caught up in the everyday that our lives go past in a blur.
“The days are long, but the years are short”** and we often forget to have gratitude for what we one day realise are the most important parts of our lives.
I think we could all use a bit of homesickness.
A wake-up call, without leaving the house.
Because after all, no matter where it is, or what you call it,
‘There’s no place like home’
**‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin (Buy here)
* ‘Happy Never After’ by Jill Stark (Buy here)