Saturday, 17 December 2011

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

When you live 12hrs from the closest city, thousands of kms from your family and old friends you have to make a choice.  You can sit at home in the air con, facebooking your friends and family about how much a small, remote town sucks and count down the days until you go back to the 'coast' or you can suck up what life throws at you and make the most of every day with the people and places you have right now.  What's doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

Over the years I've seen people do both.

For the past three years we've been so fortunate to make lifelong friends with people who have come and gone through this small town and over those years there have been some big highs and lows.  Some of which I know I stand taller for.  What's different about this place is how hard it is, after awhile, to let people back in when you know that they too will eventually leave.  There's many people here who can't do that anymore because when you invest so much time and energy in developing a real relationship with other people, couples and families, you share in their memories and entwine your lives, then you have to stand at the tin shed airport and wave them off; you can't help but feel they're taking a little piece of you with them and it hurts.

Social networking, Skype and the occasional phone call are as close as we've been to family over the last 18months which can be hard on the heart-strings and on relationships.  Christmas is the hardest.  I'm not proud of this but I'm yet to hold my niece or nephew and the price of flights for the whole family is often too much for us to afford to travel.  We've been lucky for some of our family to visit us for short visits (our spare room is affectionately named for our kids after the last person to sleep in there) but it's not the same as ducking down the road for a cuppa with that person who knows you better than you do. 

Important milestones and accomplishments are the best excuses for celebrating with great people and this town will do that for you. You can be as bored or as socially engaged as you want.  Sometimes we don't even need an excuse to party.  We regularly just go down and watch the sunset and enjoy the peace, or share a meal together. You can make an external family that can fill that void and be there for you when you need it. To fill this primal need to connect with real people in real conversations you have to force yourself to make the effort and open up to an extended family here.  Opening yourself up is hard.  Everyone needs someone to talk to and you can find yourself unloading some of your deepest thoughts and feelings with these people, often in a creek or over a beer. Whether it's a work decision that has left you reeling, a choice that doesn't go your way, a mistake or two that 'everyone' knows about, a fight with your family, a marriage or family issue or something you're ashamed of; where we live is where you can always find a confidential and reassuring breathe of confidence to pick yourself up and keep going. Doubt about why you live here or the choices you make can be made easier if you share it with others and bounce your ideas off a friendly face in the same position as you. For these people I will always be eternally grateful.

Being away from family and old friends also makes you rely more on yourself and on your partner. Being remote or 'alone' does not mean you are lonely.  It forces you talk it out, share in each other's dreams and aspirations, be supportive and listen every day without the interference of others.  Going through the hard times, especially living remote, makes you stronger. 

If you want to make it in this place then you have to be strong.  You have to make a conscious decision to overcome your fears and tell yourself "yes I can do this". You have to get in there and just do it!  You will make mistakes. You will find it at times really hard.  Whether it's standing up for what you believe in, overcoming the fear of putting yourself out there all over again, learning to be independent and stand on your own two feet or taking the initiative to do something about your situation,  the risks are worth it.

As Kelly Clarkson's new song sings "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger,
Stand a little taller....."

1 comment:

  1. Cassie....I love it.
    I have to say to all people that will read this, that life is amaizing and making the best of it is our dutty. The experience I had in this town was so great and I met such amaizing and friendly people. This people make Australia feel like home.....many kisses