I’m sitting watching programmes about emigrating. It brings back memories of how I’ve moved around the world … the reasons I moved … the decisions I’ve taken – or did I?
I was watching a programme called ‘Wanted Down Under’. It gives the family an opportunity to investigate life in Australia or New Zealand for a week. You hear about the reason the family thinks about going, the challenges of their extended family and friends with the thoughts and decisions that they take.
The programme gives them a week in a selected town. Helps them look at different homes – look at different living environments – finding a job for the ‘main earner’ – finding schools for the children – a day of exploring the area.
I still clearly remember the day my brother told me that he and his wife had applied to live in Australia. They had never been there, but with their first child a babe in arms, they both felt that they couldn’t give her the life we had as children growing up in Malaŵi. The paperwork submitted, it was now a waiting game. My sister-in-law discovered she was pregnant again, so they have to resubmit the paperwork. More waiting! The day came … my brother rang me and ‘YES’ they had been accepted.
Reality struck! With a friend I had left Malaŵi years before. My brother had followed me to the UK – initially to study and then to work. As two children that had gone to Boarding School we were used to living in a different country to our parents, but this decision meant that as a family we would be truly split across the world.
Plans were put into place. It was decided that they would have Christmas with me and New Year with my sister-in-law’s family in Scotland. Early January they were on the flight and gone! Having got their paperwork they had a decision to make – go now or the whole family can go on holiday and get a 5-year extension. My youngest niece was just 2 years old, but to get the extension she had to go as well. My brother and sister-in-law came to visit and we talked through the pro’s and con’s. It was a really hard week-end. Here I was supporting, motivating and advising my brother to leave the UK and follow his dream.
Eleven months later found me on a flight to visit them in Australia. The difficult conversation still to be had. I landed and my brother and youngest niece were waiting to meet me – fabulous! My parents had flown in from Malaŵi. We spent 10-days on the road travelling. It was the first time that my brother and his family had travelled, so we planned a trip that ensured we were taking our parents to places they hadn’t been to before.
Eventually I sat down with my brother and asked that all important but very difficult question – did you make the right decision? Without hesitation he said ‘yes’, then looked at me! He realised what he had said.
Watching this programme they have this section where they record what the extended family and friends think about the move that the family want to make. I know how hard it is to know that your family live a minimum of 24 – 30 hours away, but I also feel it’s really important that my family live in an environment that gives them what they want from life. I’m sitting here watching the extended families and friends only thinking of themselves and not of the family who want to move. Not easy!
So how do you make a decision like this? As a spiritual coach I am aware that each person has a life purpose and a reason to be here, but I also know that each person has their own free will. So what happens when as an individual you want to make a decision that you believe will have a positive impact on your life, but others around you don’t want you to make that decision?