I’m packing boxes, packing each and every item we own into cardboard. All the books we have read, the things we have collected, the precious keepsakes, the lawnmower, brushes and paint, and all the little bits and pieces of stuff that I am forever shifting and finding a place for, that end up lying around, it all fits into boxes. In two day’s time, the removalist truck pulls in and we pull out, our family is moving from the Blue Mountains, to my hometown in the Hunter Valley, NSW. It’s time to ‘return home’, to the place I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life. To say I spent the first 23 years making plans to leave my home town, and the next 25 making plans to get back, would accurately describe the full circle I am about to make.
The universe, stars and planets have conspired and this time it is actually happening. We have danced around the idea of moving for years. On many occasions we have met with Real Estate agents, done our sums, weighed up the pros and cons and for whatever reason, never took the plunge. Now with each box I packed, home gets a little closer. Of course I have loved living in the Blue Mountains. I fled Sydney 10 years ago for love, the second time round. But it never felt like my ‘home’, despite my love for its beauty. My now husband and I married in our garden, we carved out a life together here, raising kids, growing a garden, connecting in business. We have had so many happy times with friends, both new and old, it will be sad to leave, but now is the time.
I’ve heard locals say the Blue Mountains is a place you come for healing and rest. It makes perfect sense that a place of such natural beauty would evoke this energy. It slipped into my bones and healed me from the inside out. But it is also a place of vast isolation, in all that wild bushland, exquisite as it may be, it’s no place to get lost. It’s been easy for me to hide up here on the mountain and at times I have been very lost, seeking a sense of home.
I leave the mountains full hearted, the mountains and its people have taught me much about community, about creative spirit and love. However I recognise that this cycle in life has come to a close, the learning here is done and the new chapter in my life cannot begin until this one is closed, every inch of my intuition is telling me it’s time to step forward, and find my way home.
I’ve lived far enough away from my family so that is was some distance to travel for a visit, but close enough for family occasions. Recently I have became acutely aware just how important my family is and the distance in time and space has become too much of a stretch. I miss my family and my kids have missed them in our everyday life. No family is perfect, and mine is far from it (although ask them and they would fervently disagree). I’m a homebody, I am happiest when I’m hanging with my family; my husband, my kids, siblings, my nieces and nephews and my parents. I am the eldest of five, my parents are alive and well and with 14 grandchildren in tow, there are enough of us to not get in each others way. We are lucky that we all get along with an acceptable amount of tolerance and understanding.
I didn’t leave home all those years ago to escape my family. I left seeking opportunity. Back when I left University in Newcastle, creative jobs where few and far between. I did freelance design work a bit during my final years at Uni, but always had a vision I would move to the big smoke and be a bright young designer.
Now many years later, the pull of apron strings, tugging at my heart is strong. These past few years, much has happened, most significantly this year I have spent recovering from a cancer diagnosis. All the things you hear people say about how cancer changes your perspective are true. I am a life learner, I learn about myself, and the world through my experiences. The time I spent in recovery gave me clarity, reflection and value into what is most important to me, I also felt the most loved and cared for in my entire life and that has changed me.
The way I approach my life post diagnosis is very different to the way it was 12 months ago. I’m ok exactly as I am and endeavour to make every day a conscious choice. Life is no longer a mishmash of ‘what I should do’, or ‘what people expect me to do’ or of the striving and driving to be or do ‘something better.’ I discovered just how much I was living outside what I valued most.
I have every intention of living to a ripe old age with many happy times, fulfilling, joyful years and so the question I began asking myself was, “what do I really want and how do I want to live those years”? The answer was simple – with the people I love, doing what I love. Love and family are my highest values and for many years I blindfolded myself from those values, chasing what I thought I should do, chasing a dream I thought was mine, chasing someone I thought I should be.
These boxes I’m packing will be delivered to our new house, a 100 year old federation home, on the Hunter River in a village of Maitland called Lorn. It’s close to the city of Newcastle, the wineries and just 45 minutes away is arguably the best beach in the world. On the day we bought the house, a memory from my childhood came to back to me. I spent my very early childhood growing up just 20 minutes away from what is our new house. I would drove with my mother to town, often passing through the village of Lorn. With it’s Victorian, and Georgian architecture, iron lattice, picket fences and cottage gardens full of old roses, in my childhood imagination it seemed romantic, old worldly and peaceful. I remembered thinking to myself, “I would like to live here one day.” That day is here and now it’s time, not the right, best, better or good time, it’s just the time, so farewell Blue Mountains, I will admire you from afar.
I know there are many people who I’ve connected with, worked and collaborated with in the mountains who may wonder what I’m going to do with the business of Creative Queen Bees. The business has been in hibernation, and early next year I will give her a poke and wake her up. For now Creative Queen Bees is a place for me to blog about living a creative life, a place where I can share my experience of the study and practise of creativity, (the highs and lows of living a creative life for the past 25 plus years). I hope to combine what I’ve learnt about the neuroscience of creativity, creativity as therapy, creative thinking models for problem solving and the spirituality of creativity together with the daily rituals for fostering and nurturing your own personal creativity and practise. Then sometime in February, some very special people will join me to relaunch Creative Queen Bees as a fully cooked…like ‘proper’ online space!
In the meantime, please stay connected with me here online, on Facebook or sign up for my what I hope to be regular blog posts in the lead up to February. (I’m not putting myself under any pressure, so the posts maybe a little sparse to start with)! Or email me if you have a question – maybe you are creatively stuck, have an idea but need help to move forward or have a general question about how to connect more deeply with your personal creativity. I promise to answer your questions online. If you are someone living a creative life and want to reach out and share your story with me, please do so we can spread the love.
You can also read my previous blog about Ovarian Cancer HERE