I was cool once… I lived in funky flat and drank barista-made coffee daily and grabbed cheap take away when I couldn’t be bothered to cook. Yes, I was cool once. Although I probably didn’t realise it, the same way I didn’t realise I had acres of time and pockets full of money. It’s easy to look back now and think that I frittered the money away, wasted time like it wasn’t a precious resource, but I’m sure what I did with both was right at the time.
All this hit me on a recent trip to Sydney for a wedding. We stayed in Paddington, one of Sydney’s coolest suburbs, and as I hit the cafes, strolled the streets of Bondi and pushed my grubby toddler past gorgeous boutiques, I felt like such a dag.
Fortunately, one night over Peking Duck, a long-time and ethereally gorgeous family friend shared a story about how she was going to be spending her 60th birthday in Eastern Germany with her ancient mother, most likely confined to her hotel room. This woman normally leads a glamorous life of galleries and shows and fascinating friends, and she confided that she was struggling not to assign too much importance to the details of her impending milestone. “I’m not an old spinster,” she said. “I have to keep telling myself that this is just how things are right now, at this moment.”
This same lady lived in Sydney’s Northern Beaches long before it was cool. But she did it for her family – and because it was right at the time.
In an instant, I saw that my life is actually just perfect. Sure we may have longed for the city life in the few days we were back amongst it, but not with kids in the mix. My life in regional Queensland is so easy, so suitable for what’s going on in my life right now – that is, raising a family. I’m sure I’ll live in Sydney or another city again one day and then I can choose the trendy suburb, the one that’s totally impractical but has the best “vibe”. But right now, I realise, I’m exactly where I should be, physically and metaphysically.
It’s easy to lose sight of where you’re at, especially if you’re always looking ahead or behind. True, things aren’t ever really “perfect”, there are always improvements to be made, but sometimes a little perspective is needed. Will I remember in 40 years that we needed a new clothes line and that the garden was always a mess? Not likely!
My little a-ha! moment in Sydney reminded me of a golden rule for happiness and calm – whatever’s going on in your life, if it’s not right, change it. But if it is right, then celebrate it for what it is, shortcomings and all.