The past couple of months we have pondered how all this craziness, courage and unpredictability came about. From very stable beginnings in the burbs, steady careers, long term housing and reasonably conservative personalities, it was even hard for us to see this coming. Our lap of Aus was always going to happen sooner or later, but certainly not quitting our jobs and selling our house! As recently as News Years Day 2017 we were asked by the neighbours over a few drinks if we'd sell up to travel. The answer was an unequivocal, "no way!" So where did it come from? After digging deep, we have come up with 2 simple things that we believe have truly changed us and have the potential to change anyone willing to give them a shot...
A list... pen it, check it, change it
In January 2016, somewhere along the Hay Plain whilst travelling between Tassie and Coffs Harbour, we set about writing our Fiftyby50 list. A list of fifty things that we wanted to achieve by the time we both turn 50 and before our 3 children are at an age where they no longer want to hang out with mum & dad. Our list has some of the most random things on it. It's personal to us and reflects the point at which we are at in our lives.
In just 12 months we ticked off 11 items and tweaked several others; but little did we realise during that first 12 months as we ticked off those items that our list was changing us in more ways than just seeing us kick goals. More than anything what our list did was sharpen our focus on what we really want during this phase in our lives and the importance of actively pursuing our goals and dreams outside of work, in order to live a fulfilling life. Our list gave us a better balance between working and living and made us think hard about what we would regret in years to come if we didn't spend the quality time to do the things we craved with our children whilst they are still young.
Our life experience has taught us that life is too short not to live it the way that makes you happy and that, well... life is just short. Seeing my beautiful Mum's 6 year battle with ovarian cancer which began shortly after her retirement and ended during my pregnancy with Noah taught us many lessons about life and love and making the most of both while you still can.
If you do nothing else today, start your list. It will change your life.
Our regular upbringing and lifestyle to date has somewhat conditioned us to follow the usual paths in life... get married, buy a house, have kids, make smart career moves. All of which have been wonderfully fulfilling. However as our Fiftyby50 put us more in touch with what we really wanted, we started to challenge the status quo and what the 'Great Australian Dream' actually means for us in our lives. We both spent 2015 & 2016 working exceptionally hard at our jobs and once again, whilst this was fulfilling, working at such a pace and staying happy and healthy was simply not sustainable. Generally speaking, selling your house in your late 30's/ early 40's, quitting your successful careers, running away in a caravan with your 3 children to see Australia and settling afterwards in a place 8 hours from your former home wouldn't be considered a wise decision according to traditional trains of thought. But by challenging ourselves to think differently about everything in our life including career, finances, housing, education and parenting our ideas and ideals have changed. Our dream no longer consists of owning our own home in the burbs of Sydney. We've looked to friends who have made sea & tree changes over the past few years (the Yorks, Martins, Marshs, Jones') and friends who have sold up and hit the road to lap Aus (The Frankes - Australia Wide with Four Inside and The Woods - The Wandering Woodies) and we have been truly inspired by all of their journeys. We have realised that living in a capital city is not the be all and end all and that the world is only getting smaller, allowing us to keep contact with family and friends from pretty much anywhere, as we have managed to keep in contact with these friends.
Thinking differently has been incredibly liberating and for the first time in a long time we have reclaimed our own destiny. For us this life choice is up there with choosing one another as life partners and bringing our children into the world. Never before have we done something so unconventional but equally we've never been so sure that this is right for us.
So we have a very simple message that we want to share and that is to write your list, write it now, don't wait... it will change your life and to dare to think different about everything in life that you have ever been conditioned to think. Your life is yours for living the way you choose from now. Don't wait, be impatient about creating the life you want!