“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Life and plans NEVER work out. At the age of 38 I had certainly imagined my life to be a little different. By now I thought I would have 2 kids, maybe working part-time while focusing on being a stay-at-home mum, with a hubby that would be both an amazing father and our family’s financial rock.
Instead the past 18 months had seen a trial marriage separation, more heartache in an already painful infertility journey (including another ectopic pregnancy resulting in emergency surgery while on holidays in NZ) and watching my loved ones unhappy struggle with his chosen career and work life. It seemed the more we both pushed for that ‘dream’ job, or for a baby to call our own or for having a month away travelling to ‘get away from it all’, the more shit was thrown in our faces. And so it got to the point, that by the time we made the decision to relocate our life to Queenstown & when I finally left Perth, I had reached complete exhaustion. All I wanted to do was STOP. Stop everything! I didn’t want to continue down the same road in Queenstown.
As tempting and ‘expected of me’ as it was, I made the difficult but conscious decision to step away from building a new client base for my photography business in our new home, choosing to instead put my focus on finally getting better. I didn’t feel well physically, mentally or emotionally. The stress of the past 18 months was causing gut issues, severe neck and head pains and some pretty bad-arse insomnia. I was constantly anxious and worrying about everything and I felt dead. Like actually lifeless dead. Moving away from all the repetitive stresses and expectations and dumping myself into a new environment (though also presenting its challenges) gave me a new lease on life. I soon saw that I had created a lot of the stress and issues by trying to live the life I had planned in my head based on the expectations of both myself and others. The more I tried to plan how I wanted things to be, the less things went to plan. I had to let go of this ‘planned out life’ (as clearly shit wasn’t going to plan) and instead allow the life that was waiting for me to show itself. I knew that removing myself physically away from what I had created previously would be hard, but I really wanted to do things differently. A clean slate so to speak. And with this changed mindset to ‘life’, finally it happened...TIME.
I found the time to do what I wanted. When I wanted. How I wanted. The brick wall I had hit before I left Perth left a lot of damage. I had experienced ongoing anxiety, nightmares about client work, sleepless nights, gained a lot of weight, had stopped exercising regularly and I felt like ALL I was doing was work! But that wall had also caused a road block in my mental and creative states. I felt like all my creativity had diminished along with everything else. I had no desire to even pick up my camera if it meant more work.
After the initial settling in weeks, we started to live life very differently. All the expectations of what our life SHOULD look like back home disappeared and we started to let our lives just be. Everyday unfolding with no set expectations. We had more time to spend together as a couple, we started exploring the local area with mini day trips out and we decided to learn how to ski. The air was crisp and fresh, there was no traffic lights to sit in, we woke to the sound of birds singing and every day we embraced the beauty of this stunning location. With its snow-capped mountains, gorgeous turquoise lakes, crazy cloud formations and gorgeous sunsets and sunrises.
And then, just like that the creativity started to flow… Everywhere I looked, I was inspired and started to see beauty, patterns, details and shapes. My body and soul longed to be outdoors and my mind was able to still and just be in the moment. I slowly started to take my camera out on outings, capturing photos of local, well known landmarks in and around QT but putting my own creative twisted take on it. My flame had been reignited.
I was seeing beauty in everything - like the rainbow over The Remarkables on grey day after stepping outside of the supermarket on a rainy downpour. Or capturing the infamous Wanaka Tree - no one said that it had to be shot at sunset did they? And I got to beat the swarms of tourist snappers. Or the delicate patterns formed by frozen water forming snowflakes and snow crystals on every surface on a frosty morning (and scraping frost off my car windscreen).
And as spring rolled in, it brought with it the wonder of delicate pink, red and white vibrant blossoms all over the trees. The smell of the flowers, the buzzing of the bees suckling the nectar, the gentle cool breeze on my skin over the warm kisses of the sun. I started to feel alive once again and the inspiration continued.
I am even thinking of doing a travel and photography blog that showcases some of the gems of the Otago area with my passion for photographing beautiful scenes to compliment the locations featured. My mind has been blown away by all the sensory stimulation it has been enriched with since I have given it the time and love it deserves.
I write this as I sit in my sunny garden, with mountain views in every direction and hearing the chirping of the birds… morning or afternoon, this is a sensory delight. I no longer view getting moving outdoors as exercise but a way to explore my backyard and everything that it has to offer. From the snow-capped mountains, with tussock grasses peeking through, to the rolling green pasture hills, elevated vineyards or flat paddock farmland and of course the crystal clear glistening lakes. And of course exploring the delightful local food and wine of the region… I may even be sipping on a glass of the local pinot while I reflect on the last couple of months in our new ‘home’.
For more of my story you can follow along on Instagram