During the past two weeks, I traveled back home to visit family and friends in Australia. I’ve spent this year living in the US and hadn’t returned home in over a year. It was exciting to see everyone I loved and grew up with, and also eye-opening.
Living at such a distance as I do, you tend to miss a lot of the day-to-day activities that were once a part of your life: dropping by to see a family member, going to a favorite restaurant, walking through a familiar suburb. This is one of the drawbacks of living far away from where you grew up.
But one of the advantages of living at a distance is that you begin to see the world differently. You are able to see new perspectives in old situations.
My native country has some excellent values of freedom, acceptance, and supporting one another. But it also harbors a tacit belief that you shouldn’t rise too high in life. You shouldn’t want too much for yourself beyond the average, nor should you aim to excel.
Whenever I return home, I am reminded of it, and how it shapes the people who I love, just as it used to shape me.
Perhaps because I live in California, I can see the subtle ways these beliefs affect those people I know and love. I know the behaviors well because they used to be part of my everyday life. I am not meaning I am somehow better because I am living outside Australia, only that I notice them more clearly as a result.
I can understand the foundations of my life and where they have helped me and hindered me.
The simple beliefs that are held by our families, our peer groups, and our culture have a dramatic impact on who we become.
I realize there is nothing original that I am sharing here, but it bears repeating. The foundations of your life are often driving your behavior to this day.
It has taken me almost ten years to be proud of my accomplishments. To be willing to share with the world what I want to achieve and who I believe I will be. I know that doing this makes some people cringe, and it inspires others. I know that I would not be able to be like this had I not moved away from Australia for some time. As soon as I returned for two weeks, I could feel the influence of my old culture creeping up on me.
I will always love Australia for many reasons, but my desire to grow and evolve is much better suited to a culture such as California. Although many people may argue that my adopted home has its own problems, I feel for me, it is a place where I can thrive.
The foundations of who you are have an incredible impact on your life. They are invisible unless you take the time to observe them.
Similar to pillars underneath a building, we often forget that our core beliefs are there. We take them for granted as simply being facts. But they are just perspectives that were given to us.
We can choose to keep them or find new foundations that match who we want to be.