On self judgement and new couches

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On Thursday I bought a new lounge suite (in case you were wondering, yes, this is part of it. And in case you were wondering, no, it didn’t break the bank. We bought it second hand for a fraction of the cost of a new one, and although I still can’t say I’ve ever had a new couch I really don’t mind. And yes, it IS as comfortable as it looks!)

The coolest thing though is that it fits our lounge room in a way that nothing has before it. I move furniture around when I get bored of it, and I’ve always struggled with the fact that my lounge room just felt wrong. Too small, too unwieldy. Too many uncompromising bits like big fireplaces, small windows, doorways. Now though, now I see it wasn’t my room that was wrong, I just needed furniture that fit it better. Now, with a big new lounge suite, my lounge room is perfect.

Yesterday morning I had another thought, although it took a while for me to realise the thoughts were related. I grew up under a lot of judgement, and all of it said pretty much the same thing: I was wrong. I was too loud or too quiet or too silly or too unkempt or uncouth or whatever else my obviously-extremely-perfect grandmother thought of me. Too wrong, really. My grandmother has been dead a number of years now, but that hasn’t mattered. I’ve proudly kept up her tradition of criticising me. Never missed a day.

Until yesterday. Yesterday I got it. Yesterday I realised that it wasn’t ME that was wrong at all. I’m a perfectly lovely lounge room. My grandma was simply trying to make me fit with the wrong furniture.

That’s all I need to remember. Here’s to non-judgement, dead grandmothers, and things that fit. Here’s to a right furniture future!

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On Coming Home

We’re back. I know, you know that. We’ve been back for a while really, a few weeks now. Except…not so much. People ask me all the time, and have asked me pretty much since we arrived back here “Are you settling in to life back home?” They ask because it’s what you ask, and it’s a fair enough question, although the answer is really anything less than straightforward.

I’m reading this book at the moment, called “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”, by Susan Cain (yes, it’s brilliant, and yes I recommend it highly) and she makes the interesting observation that while extroverts tend to throw themselves into events, introverts tend to need time to process the meaning behind the events. Oh Hallelujah! SOMEBODY understands me!! (okay, I’m sure a lot of you do). It helps ME understand me! It helps me understand why, after being back in Australia for four weeks I finally feel now like I’m actually home, and why it’s okay that it took a while.

So yes, thank you. I’m settling into life back home. I’ve gradually shifted that amazing present to the past, and I’m embracing the memories with gusto. I’ve asked all the stupid questions “Why us? Why were we so blessed to be able to do such a thing, when so many others are struggling?” and “What’s the point of it all? How do we deal with it when we come home and step back into life as if nothing has happened, when SO MUCH happened?”

We learned a lot on that trip. We learned a lot about ourselves, about how to do family well, about how to communicate, about how to be effective parents. We didn’t always get it right, and we learned to forgive ourselves and each other and keep going. We made memories. We made family.

Lake Louise AB

Canoeing on Lake Louise, AB, Canada

I think, for all that, a little bit of bumpy adjustment time coming home has been worth it.