Moving focuses mind on what matters

10942654_10152659760405197_3574512856869178402_nI’M writing this column from my home office crammed with boxes.

Those boxes are bulging with the work and memories of the past 12 years of my life.

We moved house on Saturday.

There’s nothing like a big shift to focus your mind on the passing of time; on how quickly the years fly by; on how much life changes year to year.

We arrived to this house the month prior to being married. I was a Gold Coast girl through and through. He was a country-dwelling vegetable farmer.

We had shared ownership of Seeker, our much-loved dog, and just enough possessions between us to start our life together.

Over the years we welcomed our two boisterous boys, established gardens, renovated the house and turned it into our family home.

And judging by the number of boxes surrounding me, we also did a mighty fine job of accumulating ‘stuff’.

In those early years of parenthood we spent many a restless night in our breezy Queenslander, coaxing our boys to sleep. We fumbled our way through the parenting gig and celebrated their milestone birthdays.

Our boys grew bigger, louder and more opinionated.

I slowly adapted to life in a small community.

In those early days I would regularly escape the ‘postcode’, steering my car to the big smoke for a day of anonymity.

Over time I came to appreciate the sense of community that exists in our small town, just west of the Gold Coast.

An enduring memory of our time in our old house will be the love and support we received from our neighbours.

When we first moved in, I was horrified to discover there was only a short, wire fence separating our house from the neighbours.

I immediately planted a hedge between the two houses, so I could do what I’d done on the Gold Coast and ignore the people living next door.

How silly was I?

Our neighbours Fran and Laurie became firm friends and vital supports in our journey through life.

They emerged as adoptive grandparents to our boys and regularly hosted our sons at their kitchen table, to share stories and Fran’s much-loved Anzac biscuits and chocolate slice.

Laurie often walked our dog Seeker and helped us with the endless list of ‘repairs’ required when you live in a 100-year-old Queenslander.

Fran cared for the boys when I first returned to work.

As the years have passed, school sporting and extracurricular commitments have kept us away from home more and more.

Recently our neighbourly interaction has been limited to conversations over the (trimmed) hedge but we could see Laurie’s health was fading.

Two weeks ago Laurie passed away and we were all devastated.

We attended his memorial service and listened as family and his friends from all parts of his life spoke of his love for bushwalking, photography and singing. He lived a full life and continued to travel and explore well into his 80s.

Some days, as we are immersed in the demands of running businesses and ferrying children, it’s easy to become bogged down in the monotony of our over-committed life.

So as we embark on the next stage of our family life in our new home I have vowed to make time for activities beyond work and family.

My husband and I have both vowed to stop saying things like ‘when the boys are older we will do X’.

One of his mates recently died suddenly aged just 46. Sadly it takes news like this to make you recalibrate, make the most of every single day and focus on things that really matter.

For me it’s health, experiences, and quality time with family and friends.