Used To

I’ve been wrestling with waves of stress/anxiety since starting my new life in Sydney. It’s something I had expected, but it feels a bit “one step forward, two steps back”. No matter how many things I learn, and get sorted, there is always more waiting to drag me down. I am running out of energy to do everything, to learn and make changes and do things to give me energy. I’m feeling worn down. Call it transition, call it grief, call it whatever you like, the result is that I just feel tired.

Writing, and the reflection required to write well, is something good for me – something that gives me energy. I’ve been preparing a few posts about life in Australia – things I’ve observed, enjoyed, and puzzled at. BUT I’m too tired to write those properly this week. Thankfully, I was inspired by this blog. The author, Angie, recently returned to her passport country after 13 years as a missionary. She has written a list of “used to”s – things she used to do, and things she’s getting used to now. I thought it was an interesting way to reflect on how different the details of life can be during a transition.

So here, off the top of my head, are my own “used to” lists:

I used to cook vegetarian meals for myself.
I used to have a house helper to help me a few hours a week.
I used to have an air purifier running 24/7 in my home.
I used to expect smudged skies.
I used to speak Mandarin every day.
I used to watch TV shows.
I used to relax in my own living room.
I used to have less than 20 hours a week of required face-to-face commitments.
I used to spend a lot of time writing.
I used to be someone people called for advice/help (especially with language and how to do things).
I used to eat street food.
I used to have control over my schedule.
I used to stand out on the street.
I used to eat with chopsticks most days.
I used to have lots of people around me who KNEW me.
I used to have an answer to “where are you from?”
I used to eat a lot of cheap dumplings.
I used to have my accent remarked on frequently (in two languages).
I used to teach, train, mentor, and encourage others.
I used to overhear strangers on the street talking about me most days.
I used to long for sunshine.
I used to give directions in Chinese.
I used to be a source of local knowledge.
I used to have a regular (albeit modest) income.
I used to be at home.

I’m getting used to the air being clear EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
I’m getting used to bright sunshine being the norm.
I’m getting used to the sound of birds at any time of day.
I’m getting used to shops closing so early!!
I’m getting used to EVERYTHING being very expensive.
I’m getting used to the air having no flavour to it.
I’m getting used to wide open skies.
I’m getting used to having just one room that is mine.
I’m getting used to very limited transport.
I’m getting used to sunshowers.
I’m getting used to a neverending list of readings to try to get to.
I’m getting used to sleeping in a single bed.
I’m getting used to sharing living space with others.
I’m getting used to seeing bright green and bright blue around me every day.
I’m getting used to eating meals outside.
I’m getting used to hour after endless hour in groups of people.
I’m getting used to regular rainfall.
I’m getting used to long daylight hours.
I’m getting used to using a dryer. And losing one sock per load of washing.
I’m getting used to having little control over what food is available to me.
I’m getting used to seeing clouds – layers and layers of clouds.
I’m getting used to people being nice. Like, all the time.
I’m getting used to opening windows and getting FRESH AIR from them!
I’m getting used to having to ask for help. All the time. For simple things.
I’m getting used to a lack of shared experience with most people around me – something that will take time to change.



2 thoughts on “Used To

  1. As always, this is so good. I’m so thankful that you take the time to reflect and write, I think so many could benefit from this and your thoughts.

  2. Pingback: The difference a day can make | Tanya's Stories

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