I have often said that one of the best things about travelling is coming home, and I still find that to be true. I walked into our home and relinquished myself to the comfort and familiarity of a space that is ours. I am so full of gratitude for our windfall in the lottery of life that has us living in Australia, it’s not called the “lucky country” for nothing.
For the last week we have both sunk into the couch, with a distinct unwillingness to move for any real amount of time. We returned to a cold Brisbane winters day where the daytime temperatures only got up to about 19°C and night time was as low as 7°C, I know that’s like summer in some places. The apartment gets no sun in winter and the tile floor, which is better suited to a hot summers day, is cold underfoot We venture out for small excursions before once again curling up on the lounge, Fonzie the dog at our feet and the heater on. We are reluctant to return to “normal life” too quickly so we do it in bite sized pieces. We sit wrapped in the comforting cocoon of our home.
I have spoken to my boss and the reality of returning to work looms over me. Things have changed while I have been away due to a new work contract. I will be starting afresh at a new office but they don’t yet know for sure what office. I hear the frustration, stress and strain in my bosses voice. Do I want this back? I have asked for them to consider allowing me an additional 4 weeks unpaid annual leave a year, this is the equivalent of working about 35 hours a week. I’m not sure the organisation can offer this flexibility, maybe it’s too odd and doesn’t fit their processes, yet they would probably let me work 4 days a week. As a psychologist, maintaining my own mental health is a priority, but I want chunks of time so I can visit family who don’t live in Brisbane, not one day extra off a week. I am thankful for their generosity in allowing me to take six months off but I don’t want to feel beholden when I return, I’ve given them the best of me for the last seven years. I need to hold on to my own sense of worth, recognise the skills and experience I bring. I am not handcuffed to this job, there are other options so I must ask for what I want.
I miss my daughter more now that I am home, she is away in New Zealand for a week. I want to have long conversations on the phone with her, but she’s off having a good time. I want to see her but this won’t happen until October as she lives in Melbourne. I love seeing my son breezing in and out of the house. He’s so happy in his job, I hope he knows how precious that is.
On my return home I am overwhelmed with the sense that life is breathtakingly sweet. I am truly thankful that we have capacity to make choices about work, live in a great place, have fantastic friends and will plan more adventures in the future.