LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-06

CWL On the Road Ep 5 – Leaving home

LC - Lisa Corduff Rebrand 2023-19

After an exhausting final run to the finish line, Lisa checks in from Brissie where she decompresses and reflects on the effects of last-minute prep, packing, and planning on her emotional, physical, and mental state.

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Well, we made it. We’re in Brisbane, and I actually did the whole leaving thing, and I thought I’d give you a little bit of a breakdown of the craziness, because now I can see it for what it was. And it really was quite an intense period.

And I can see it was intense in physical ways, in emotional ways, and mentally drained in all three areas. So while I knew that I had to just keep chipping away at things, I booked the tickets four weeks before we left, so I knew that there was going to be a lot that had to happen in a short amount of time. And I can remember at the very beginning, a friend helped me set up some tabs on a Google sheet of all the different things. And Amazing Amy from my team, she helped me get organized with stuff. And I was like, I’m breaking things down into home and trip and work, and these are all the things that need to happen. And I didn’t really look at any of that, to be honest, by the end, because I just did stuff every single day towards getting ready for this trip. I got very clear early on with the things that I needed time to make decisions on or that I needed to get delivered or stuff like that. I guess I had a method in my head and that I was working away to, even though it sort of felt a lot of the time like, whoa, I don’t know how this whole thing is going to come together to a point at which I will be able to get on that plane and the kids will be organized.

Because remember, if you’ve been listening to some of these podcasts organization even the not following through on things is something that I struggle with and I am really, really proud of myself, I have to say, for what I achieved in terms of how I let go of these limiting ideas of who I am and what I’m capable of in order to be able to make this dream a reality. It was a huge sense of accomplishment, I have to say, but it was also a whole lot of other things wrapped up by the time I actually got to the airport. So when I say physical, mental and emotional, the physical is probably pretty obvious, if you follow me. On social media, I was sharing some time lapses of the physical labor of getting my house ready for people to move into. It was actually a huge job and I was conscious. It could have been even bigger and it could have been less of a job, but I got done what I could get done in the time frame. I mean, a beautiful friend of mine came over and helped me do my garden, which needed a lot of work. It was hours in the garden on a Friday and that got sorted, left the garden looking beautiful.

But I also cleaned out our shed, which had stuff from bloody years ago. Years and years ago, it had become my little dumping spot for I’ll deal with that later. I just don’t want it in the house anymore. I mean, there were kids, car seats, that sort of thing. I did a huge clear up. Physically, it was a lot of work. I filled up my car a couple of times and had to take things to the tip. I went to the op shop many times, I organized a hard rubbish collection, so I put a whole heap of stuff, and filled up our nature strip with things from the house that I couldn’t repurpose or recycle.

I did all that. There were things in the back garden that got cleared away. I mean, we’ve only got a tiny little courtyard, thank goodness. But having removed a lot of things out of my attic to make space for everything that I was going to have to put in there, going through wardrobes, clearing them out, there was a lot of lifting, a lot of moving. And so, physically, by the end, especially of those last two days when everything had to be gone, because while our guests wanted it fully furnished and needed everything, because they really were bringing their clothes and a few personal items, I still needed to have it feeling really nice. I wanted them to come in and have it clear enough for them to be able to make it their own space for the next five months. And I worked really, really hard to do that. A lot of cleaning, wiping, getting to places that I don’t usually get to.

It was a lot. And I prioritized rest, as I do, so I didn’t crank the midnight oil and keep working beyond my capacity, but I worked really, really consistently and those last two days were really hard going. It was like everything was coming down to the wire. There were many times where I felt a bit, like, fully filled, like having to do this all myself. The kids were helpful, but there was a lot of decisions I had to make. My amazing friend Danielle came over a few times to just help me work through things and she did a massive amount of work. But really, it comes down to the householder, right? Like, no one else is going to be able to make decisions about what stays, what goes, what we’re done with, what has a missing piece somewhere that we need to find to be able to put that game together and put it away and blah, blah, blah. It was a lot physically.

I just did not stop moving. Once again, I am so, so proud of what I accomplished. I organized that hard rubbish collection. I cleared out the shed, I worked in the garden with my friend, I cleared out that attic, I stacked that attic, I cleared out all of the shelves. And I was thinking a lot about women in this community. I was thinking a lot about women in general and the huge amount of domestic labor that we put in. And there’s some intense moments like I’ve just had where and obviously as someone running her house on her own, as I have for the last four years, I don’t have anyone to kind of complain about if there’s and it’s and it’s brilliant, right? Like, I actually think that living this way is wonderful, but sometimes I do miss having someone in the muck with me together to get things done together. Running a house is a lot of work and so many women still do the majority of stuff around their house.

I just think we just don’t fully acknowledge what that really is taking from us. I was physically so tired from the act of cleaning out my house. I’m like, I am just one tiny little example of what is going on domestically in houses everywhere. And I get help. Like, I even had my old housekeeper come and help me for a few hours to do stuff. My cleaners came and did a final clean. I had help and it was still hugely physically draining. We do a lot and we just don’t recognize it sometimes, the toll it takes physically on our body to do all the work that we do.

Anyway, that aside, there was also the mental work that I was doing. I was so mentally drained, I practically lost the ability to speak by Saturday night. I had to make so many decisions. I was organizing so many and still am organizing so many logistics. I was contacting lots of people to organize accommodation to just all sorts of different people, all of the different goodbyes, managing my kids and their final goodbyes with friends and making sure that I had ticked things off lists. There was work stuff that I was still trying to do. There was so much in my head. The mental load of leaving was unbelievable and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to cope with that.

I tell you, a spirax notebook where I can just write everything down, just keep lists saved me. But it didn’t stop the fact that mentally I was on from the moment that I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. For that last week especially, it was so full on mentally. I mean, my kids are relatively self sufficient, but I still needed to figure out all of the bits that they were taking. So three people plus me, and I was still doing my final pack on the day that I left. And I’m going to give you a full update on the packing situation. But can you imagine just them and also even just managing their decision making? Do they want this? Do they want that? Then they change their mind and no, I don’t want this. And I think I’m missing this.

Whoa. Making the decision about which raincoats to bring was just so mentally full. I was like, Why? Why is this feeling like such a massive decision? And then I realized it’s just because there’s so much in my head. I just wanted someone to tell me what to do. You all and my amazing community on socials have been extraordinary in helping me make decisions. I mean, there I was standing there on the day that I was leaving my home, figuring out what my aeroplane outfit was going to be. I bought a windshielder and pair of pants the day before that because I realized I sort of had nothing comfy that was long and wasn’t tight. It was so full on.

And I think normal daily life is also full on for all of us. That the amount of decisions we have to make. And I do remember that time in the COVID years where you just realized you weren’t really making that many decisions. And I absolutely got out of the habit of being able to make or desiring to make lots of decisions. I found it really overwhelming for a while, but I just proved to myself something brand new this last month, and that is, wow, you can make decisions like a ninja. And one of my old stories was, I find it really hard to make decisions. I don’t know what I want. And suddenly when you’ve got a deadline and when it’s all on you and you cannot defer to anybody else, this is my new reality.

I love throwing around ideas before making a decision. I love just getting almost like that tiny little bit of validation that no, yeah, good decision, or, Hang on, have you thought about blah blah? And I’d be like, oh, no, I didn’t. See, this is why I can’t make decisions on my own. All that is gone. I just made a whole stack of decisions for right or wrong and whether they were going to lead me to traveling bliss or I was going to be forgetting a whole million things, it doesn’t matter because I proved to myself something new. But it did take a huge load of my mental capacity. It was a lot of logistics and organization. My brain was fried.

And it was so amazing to arrive here at Amy’s house, where we’re staying. Amy, who has been a friend since I very first moved to Brisbane, which was when I probably met her, actually, in probably the start of 2013 and we’ve been friends ever since. And she has just basically put food in my mouth, fed my kids. She had beautiful beds made up and ready for us and has just made it so easy for me to come and crash a little bit because I have needed a little bit of recovery. Not only was it physical and mental, but it was hugely emotionally draining to leave. And this I knew would happen, but it still surprised me. And that’s because goodbyes have always been hard for me. And living away from our family for a decade and bringing our kids up and back to family, I struggled with the goodbyes every single time, emotional person.

But since those times, I guess I’ve experienced such a large amount of grief for permanent goodbyes that it didn’t really feel in the lead up like I was going to experience these goodbyes as anything significant. I just thought, we’re going to be back in five months, just going to go on this adventure. I’ve got my kids and listen, we’re going to be back in November. It’s just five months. This is not permanent. They are the goodbyes that suck. Everyone in my life that I’m saying goodbye to right now, I’m going to see again the kids and managing their emotions. They were really sad to say goodbye to some people, they were sad to say goodbye to.

Their home was a really big deal to help them navigate their big emotions. As we were doing this, they were frightened of things, very unsure. I am basically leading them down into the most uncertain path they’ve ever been on. Nothing will feel familiar to them and it started to really play on their minds. So it was wonderful to be able to create a little bit of space for that. I knew I needed to because I also know what it’s like to try and keep going through big emotions. Like it always catches you managing them, really sitting with them, allowing conversation, allowing the feelings to surface, was a huge priority for me. So I feel like once it was time to go, they were ready.

But they were really sad to say goodbye to their cousins and their friends and my parents in particular, and that’s okay. And it was all normal and we worked through it all together, but then there was little old me just sort of bowled over with emotion quite a lot of the time. But for me, it was around, what am I doing? This felt like a good idea, but is it? Have I made a big mistake? What if I can’t do this? All of the different things, the things that I’ve shared in the lead up to this, the things that I was worried about, and then that was replaced with, oh, my God, I am actually doing this. I’m going to pull this off, we’re going to be at the freaking airport. Hang on, a minute when people from Brisbane asked how I was feeling. And now that you’re here, the word I used to describe it was shell shocked. Like, I was kind of in shock that I had actually done it. I really was.

It was like, oh, so here we are. We are actually really doing this thing. This is happening. Wow. And there was a lot of emotion, especially in that day before we left, where I was cleaning up the house on my own. This house that has held so much, this house that I have wanted to escape from, but I have loved having and knowing that my safe space was there. There is so much caught up in that house and I was saying goodbye to it. I was taking my kids away from their home.

The reality really started to hit me as I was doing all that, whilst I was packing up, whilst I was doing all those bits and pieces. And so the emotion ended up really centering around, I guess, a feeling of accomplishment and kind of shock that this was actually really happening. It was surreal to get to that airport, to be on the other side of the doing and getting things done in order to be able to leave. Suddenly we were there. Suddenly it was the kids and I with our backpacks. This was really happening. I just walked that path. We got on the plane and we arrived in Brisbane and it’s happening.

Shell shocked, really. I shared a reel the day before we left, and it was this quote that had been going through my mind so much. It was from a plaque on an 18th birthday present that I was given in year twelve. And it said, you cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. I’m sure you’ve heard that quote before. And I carried it around with me for years and years and years. It was in houses for years. I don’t know where it is now.

I must have gotten rid of it. And I was really thinking about that so much. The courage that I was having to lean into in order to be able to not only just say yes to the decision in the first place, but actually follow through and leave and say, I’m ready for something new. I don’t know where this is going to lead, but I’m never going to know if I don’t go. I need to create some sort of shift of perspective for myself. I want to get out there and see the world again and be living again in a meaningful way to me. I really, really had to lean into courage. I was absolutely exhausted on the Saturday.

We arrived in Brisbane on the Friday, went and saw some amazing friends on the Saturday afternoon. And then I was practically non verbal. I had a really big sleep. Amy was like, you’re going to bed now and then. We’ve had a lovely time since. And we’re away. We can do it right. We’re so capable.

When we give ourselves the opportunity to really step into something new, we can. I’m glad I’ve proved that to myself. And I’ve guessed that that’s what this next five months is going to be. This Brisbane leg of the trip. It’s been amazing and emotional, having lived here for five years and retracing steps with the kids, seeing people I haven’t seen for ages. So much to share. I’ll be in touch soon.

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