“It’s better to look back on life and say; “I can’t believe I did that.”
than to look back and say; “I wish I did that.”

People keep saying to us “What you’re doing is so drastic, what has made you decide to do that?”. There are hundreds of reasons, for the girls it is simply that they want to see elephants, monkeys, whales, sharks, oceans, temples, and mountains. For William, it is an innate sense of adventure and generally feeling unsettled in the humdrum of daily life. For me, the reasons stem from a place of deep sadness.

I always struggled before when I read posts full of “go live your life, chase your dreams” quotes. I found them horribly cliche, yet here I am writing one! I just wanted to share the main driving force in my personal decision to go travelling with my family. Death and living my life after. The death of my father has shaped who I am, the aching loss drives me to make mine and my families dreams come true. Holding his hand as he breathed his last breath, surrounded by love and his family who loved him fiercely with all they had, has changed me profoundly. It is not my intention to make people feel sad by sharing my story but to make people think. To think about life and the inevitable death that comes with it, my intention is to inspire people to chase their dreams, just like we are chasing ours.

On my 25th birthday, my life changed irrevocably. My daddy, the greatest man I’ve ever known, passed away. He was terminally ill, I knew it was coming, I dealt with the fact. Nothing prepared me for what comes after death. The hole you are left with, the bereft feelings, the numbness. Grief is like a whirlpool, some days you are floating idly by, then other days you are sucked into the middle, a storm of grief that crushes your chest and makes it hard to even breathe.

For a while I was able to plod on by, I carried on with the daily ebb and flow of life, days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and months turned to years.

Then something in me changed, I can’t say exactly when this was, or what triggered it. But I woke up one day with fire in my belly, and to quote Lana Del Rey, a new lust for life. No longer am I content to sit back and watch life pass me by.

“Fear does not stop death, it stops life.”

Life after death is hard for the living, we have to carry on, it is our job and our privilege to do so. Here’s how I’m choosing to spend mine:

1. I’m chasing my dreams, not letting anyone or anything hold me back. I’m literally working my butt off to make them come true.

2. I’ve stopped caring what people think about my decisions. Those that love me will support me.

3. I stand up for what I believe in. It’s cost me dearly, but my integrity and beliefs are worth more than the things I lost.

4. I laugh, a lot. Laughter is good for the soul, and smiles cost nothing. I try to smile at people when they pass, you never know it could make their day.

5. I cry a lot too. Because bottling that bad stuff up is toxic for me and everyone around me.

6. I eat the cake. I eat salad, but I also eat all the cake. My life is too short to deprive myself of things I enjoy.

7. I try to be kind always. I have to work on this daily, calling the man who nearly smashed into us at the junction a “tit” and flicking him the bird isn’t kind, as my children reminded me. (Sidenote; they also asked me to give people the thumbs down when I’m cross as the finger is a swear!)

8. I always put my family first. My girls and my hubby are my entire universe, every decision I make is for them because, in the end, they’re all I’ll have.

9. I take care of myself. Grief made me lose myself for a while, I feel like I’m back now and I’m making sure I don’t ever get back to that place again.

10. I’m letting go. I’m letting go of things I can’t change, I’ve stepped away from people who only bring negativity into my life. I’m letting go of the grief and living my life to it’s fullest.

11. If I make a mistake I own it. Mistakes are lifes greatest lessons. I own mine, apologise, fix it, then move on.

12. Things don’t matter to me anymore. I honestly really don’t care anymore about possessions. I used to be consumed by fancy things. Dinner plates, for example, who honestly cares how pretty the plate is that their dinner is served on? I used to think that stuff matters, it really does not.

13. I care deeply. I speak up for those who can’t. I worry about the planet and the people in it and I’m trying to help anyway I can.

14. I’m not perfect. Accepting yourself is hard. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. But I try to be the best I can, and accept my flaws and imperfections.

15. Love. I love hard, with every piece of my heart.

“Life is not about what I’ve done,
what I should’ve done,
what I could’ve done…
It’s about what I can do,
and what I will do.”

So I am choosing joy, I’m choosing to only surround myself with people and things that make me happy. And I hope by doing the things we are doing we can inspire others to find the joy in their lives, to make peace with the simple things life has to offer, to be kind and to love.

As in the end all we have is the love of those who matter and the memories we made with them.

No comments