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Growing up in Durban my family moved a lot! I think I’d attended about eight schools before I was ten. We lived in an actual caravan at one stage but it did have an extended awning so that was cool. But apart from that, it sucked big time. On the upside, I did learn how to fit in quickly in new places and became a good observer of human nature.
I remember going to a farm school in East London for a period of time where we drank free milk and ran from snakes. I came face to face with a Rinkhals there, a spitting cobra found in Southern Africa – a scary sight folks. It was trying to swallow a chicken egg right in front of me.
Lucky for me, it’s mouth was full at the time so I wasn’t on the receiving end of some toxic venom. Yay me! There was a stare off between us which ended with me running for the hills literally. Snake 1 Janine 0. Good times.
My well-meaning parents always had a plan of some sort but they struggled with the follow through. When my Mom became a single parent to us kids, the moving around became even more hectic and if we weren’t moving house, she would rearrange the furniture…often!
Sadly, I think Mom believed that going somewhere else would make things better. Being unhappy a lot of the time meant she was searching for a way to feel different. Perhaps the hope was that changing environments would somehow change our lives.
Luckily, my Mom made peace with all that in later life but did end up in Ecuador in her final years. We had a few chuckles when reminiscing about all the places where we’d lived.
Living an adventurous life is not a bad thing if it’s motivated from a positive place. Changing your furniture around is refreshing and fun if it’s just redecorating and it shifts things inside that might be stuck. Trying to escape from yourself is another story. The point is, even if you move to new places, change the way you look, become famous on Instagram, win Lotto, lose weight or change your hairstyle, you are still the same person inside.
If you’re unhappy with yourself or your life, tending to the inside first might be a better approach. Most people want to avoid this like the plague though! But you really do take yourself wherever you go, so you can’t escape from unhappiness with a change of environment, a new look or a change of partner.
There’s nothing wrong with making changes for the right reasons but trying to change things on the outside to fix something on the inside doesn’t work. It’s like giving your house a fabulous new paint job but the foundations need shoring up. The problem stays with you so there’s no escaping it that way.
Making peace with yourself wherever you are might be a better starting point. ‘Home’ is where you are and shoring up your own foundations will provide a more stable centre. Any decisions you then make about your life will be made from a place of calm and thoughtful reflection.
If you still want that makeover after that, then go for it!
‘No matter where you go, there you are.’ (Confucius)
Take care and be kind to each other
P.S. Indiana Jones was scared of snakes so there’s no shame running away..