The Thinking Woman's Diary


Written: 23rd Mar 2015  | Last Updated: 23rd Mar 2015


As life spins, most of us tend to fall into useful patterns, ones that give regular shape and meaning to our days, that keep things in order and in perspective. It’s how we get through the grind, how we meet our responsibilities and get things done, and although often regimented and boring, patterns and routines help keep us steady.

However - 

even though routines are useful, it’s really important to stop, study and dissect what we are doing from time to time, ask where we are going, ponder deeply and evaluate, because otherwise we just walk like sheep across a paddock, along the same skinny line, and miss out on the spiritual, mental and social stimulation that comes from taking a chance. 

Making big decisions takes guts...changing oneself takes even more.

I’ll use the analogy of a hibiscus plant growing in a pot in our garden. It’s a variety called “Swan Lake”, which produces delicate, pure white flowers. Hibiscuses don’t have a scent as such, but they do have the cachet of exotica, somehow always reminiscent of tropical holidays and honeymoons in paradise. Last Friday, which happened to be my birthday, our pure white hibiscus produced a single pink flower, a beautiful, blushing pink bloom as delightful as could be. Now, I know the plant didn’t make a rational decision to change itself...but it did, nonetheless. This made me think about it can be unsettling, even terrifying, but also how it can be life-changing in the most positive ways.

My parents made a huge decision in the early 1960s to move our family to another country, to leave everything we knew and trusted, everyone we loved (apart from one another), every facet of life that gave us comfort and a sense of place and belonging. We faced a new direction, took tentative steps into a foreign land, and, quite simply, had a cracking go. It was scary walking on the edge, not knowing whether we’d ever be accepted, whether we’d ever belong (especially critical for teenagers). Finding our feet didn’t come quickly, either, in fact, it took a couple of years, but the rewards were a new life lived fully, built on a fresh foundation, and the knowledge that we were capable of evolving.

The hibiscus made itself even more beautiful by being different, by changing.

I think there’s a lesson in that.