Back in 1996, when I handed in my notice at work and announced my intention to become a trailing spouse by moving with my husband to America, my boss first gave me a disappointed look, and then some advice.
“Make sure you do something for yourself while you’re there,” he said.
At the time, it was enough that I would no longer have to get up before the sun to take our toddler to childcare, or that checking my watch as a meeting ran into costly overtime with the childminder would soon be a thing of the past. Become a full time 1950s housewife instead of career mom? Yes, please.
As time went by, however, and my husband and I added to our collection of toddlers, I thought more about my boss’s advice and realized that what he had been talking about was not just the practical side of life but, in effect, the topic for this month’s theme: spiritual enlightenment.
In other words, finding another dimension to oneself — something that might not be easy if you’re a 1950s housewife attending to the needs of your family.
You don’t have to live on a kibbutz to be enlightened — a little
As it turned out, I was lucky. I have a sympathetic husband who has supported my writing addiction, which manifested itself shortly after the birth of our second child. I suspect this manifestation wouldn’t have happened in my former, British life. Being in a new country, among different people, gives you a different perspective on life, which in turn taps into another seam of your psyche – one that you perhaps didn’t know was there.
OK, so maybe my weekly epistle of “Libby’s Life” isn’t exactly enlightened. It’s never going to be up there with the homilies of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. But I’m absolutely positive that Libby would not exist if my husband, daughter and I hadn’t displaced ourselves fifteen years ago – and by writing about her, and by writing posts for this site, I learn more about myself and others each week.
Even though I’m no Elizabeth Gilbert, who traveled to Italy, India, and Indonesia to discover herself, but coincidentally hails from the US state where I now live — I think it’s fair to call that a form of enlightenment.
Still, this being January and a time when most people are making resolutions for a better life and lower number on the bathroom scales, we will try to inspire your good intentions.
During the next three weeks, you can look forward to interviews with more authors from our “Best of 2011” lists; lively debates on whether travel can lead to a healthier lifestyle; and discover which are the destinations and — naturally — footwear most likely to inspire a gap-year student.
First, though, STAY TUNED, for tough love and spiritual advice from our Tulsa Agony Aunt, Mary-Sue Wallace.
If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!