Yep, the show is almost over, a new chapter is about to begin.
Almost ten years ago Nick and I left our gorgeous Art Deco apartment in Balaclava, Melbourne, as a 20-something newly engaged couple, for the bright lights of Sydney.
He’d landed a job at Qantas and my sister was living there at the time – it was all super exciting.
Until it wasn’t.
I found Sydney a really tough place to meet people and couldn’t find meaningful work. I was lonely.
Until I wasn’t.
When my son was born I found an awesome group of friends and began my life as a mum. I adored this stage of life – he made my transition to motherhood a breeze and it wasn’t long until another baby arrived. It was all so perfect.
And then we decided to leave.
Two kids under two and we wanted to be back in Melbourne with family. Saying goodbye to staff travel benefits was no easy task (for me!!) but Nick wasn’t really enjoying Qantas and he scored a brilliant voluntary redundancy package (cheap flights for the next five years woohoo!)
But there was no work in Melbourne… so we ended up with a choice of Brisbane or Perth.
We, obviously, chose Brisbane and so our life began amongst the glorious sunshine and hideous humidity, late 2012.
The very first friend I made here is a close friend to this day – what a gift she was coming into my life. I will miss her.
Aside from meeting her in our first month here, I did two other things that I’m so grateful for.
I signed up to be a thermomix consultant and I attended a few ‘Meet-Up’ events.
The thermomix introduced me to people, got me out of the house and broke up the monotonous days of toddler rearing.
Unfortunately I didn’t agree with the way they introduced the new machine and stepped back from it soon after, even although I will always have fond memories of our beautiful team meetings that I attended religiously, because …. well …. I really didn’t have anywhere else to be!
Heading into people’s kitchens was also a huge education into what people were eating and it sparked a belief in me that I could help them make some pretty small shifts that would seriously improve the health of their family. My original Facebook page and blog was born.
At those ‘Meet-Up’ events I met my crew. Women who would become my backbone when I didn’t have one. Our kids played, we visited All. The. Parks. Lots of coffee, lots of cakes baked, lots and lots of playdates.
And nights out. And sharing the highs and lows of life like an expat community does. Because most of these women were new to Brisbane. When I look back on my days here I know it’s them I will remember most fondly – because MAN did we need each other in those early days.
Over the years we had another baby, we moved house. My eldest child started kindy, and started school. My middle started kindy. And we’ve been blessed with two amazing family day-carers. The first will hold the most special place in my heart for becoming a friend of our family and cheering me up with her smile so many times. We love you Candy.
And I’ve met ‘school mums’. I am only now learning the power of this network. Women who I will miss, even though we haven’t known each other that long. Women who I trust with my kids whole heartedly and wish I could have spent the next few years crying with laughter with them over my pitiful attempts of school dress up days and hats or socks for whatever event is next on the calendar #neverapinterestmum
There are a few very special people who know how much I will miss them. The goodbyes are going to suck. I am really, really, so bad at goodbyes. I carry amazing memories with me. The people have made this place.
Of course, while here, I started my own business. I had a vague hope that if it did OK,I wouldn’t have to go back to the workplace when my youngest turned one. Well, you are a witness to where that little hope is right now. Who would’ve though…..certainly not me!
But recently, shit’s been going down.
It’s a sneaky little devil, anxiety. Nick has struggled with it for a long time and he has found many ways to cope over the years, since it began in high school. Some therapeutic – like his art (he paints, he writes, and he writes and records his own songs) or his study (the Croatian language when we were in Sydney and Philosophy here in Brissy).
Some not so healthy – like beers at the end of the day.
It seems that people coping with mental health issues can often meander their way through life, seemingly keeping it all together, until the moment they just can’t anymore. We reached that moment recently. And for people who have done life without any family support – for ten years – now it’s time to go home.
Where welcoming arms await us. Where our support network exists without question and in droves.
It’s OK to say we need help. That time is now.
I might look strong, but I know when I need the village. Some battles in life are too hard to face on our own.
And our family needs a new adventure. We are looking forward with hungry anticipation for what this next chapter will bring. To set up a new life somewhere – new schools, new house, new rhythm.
I am proud that I have created a little business that can support us while we make this transition. From a simple idea that I could help people eat more real food one small step at a time – your belief and trust in me to guide you has led to the ultimate gift for our family.
The chance to go home.
And I am grateful to every one of you Small Steppers – I have a gazillion ideas of fun ways to help you on your journey but I need you to be gentle with me if things sometimes go quiet and I focus inwards.
Creating Small Steps Back to You was a gift I gave myself. It was the most fun and rewarding project to work on and I just know the women who are inside are going to love it. Nick has always been my #1 supporter – backing me at every turn. Congratulating me even when I felt like a failure (which is more often than not). He’s the one who kept me going, saw something in me before I saw it in myself.
Expect to see a little more of him around the traps as he helps me in the biz (OMG he loves systems and I loathe them and believe me when I say – I NEED them!!) and he’s looking forward to finding a way to connect with other men who are walking through their life feeling trapped and existing under the weight of society’s expectations. If us women often feel lost – look sideways at your man – is he truly happy?
Oh and I will get back to the kitchen! But I have massively lost my mojo for sharing all the things we eat. Forgive me!! Imperfect Wholefoods is how I live and I love it. But more and more and more I am simplifying things down. My pantry staples are reducing, my need to look at more and more recipes – it just doesn’t exist. Simple, wholesome food. Without fuss. It’s what I’ve always been about, but as I strip back my possessions further during this move – I look forward to sharing with you The Simple Kitchen – Everyday Wholefoods for the Modern Family (a working title….. for what, I’m not sure! Book, program, blog series, podcast …..)
I cannot wait to share more about how I’m feeling about food and life with my beautiful friend Jude Blereau in Melbourne on September 2 – there are still a few tickets left here if you are interested. It’s going to be fabulous.
In Brisbane I have grown more than I ever thought possible. I have achieved things beyond my wildest expectations. I have leaned into trusting myself. And loving myself in a way that allows me to expand into the fullest version of Lisa.
I have called myself on my bullshit limiting stories. And I’ve jumped. Many times.
And now we are jumping. Together. My beautiful, loving, strong family of five.
We are jumping into a new life and I am so so freaking excited.
I hope you’ll stick with me for the ride.
PS. If you’re someone building your own online business – I share bits and pieces via email with other women on the same journey. Click here to join the list.