In the last 5 years I’ve usually been away from my home town, so spending time with family has usually taken the form of talking about things that have been happening there and the rest of the family. While any time spent with family after time away is great, after a couple years of mostly time spent like this, I started realising how I felt like I was moving apart from my family because we weren’t writing any more of our own narratives together. We were only reflecting on our individual lives, rather than creating new memories that we both shared.

So, since arriving back in Australia, I’ve been putting extra effort into going out and doing new things with my family and friends. The impact has been fantastic, I’ve spent quality time with my loved ones, shared some of my favourite things with them, and become closer with them as a result. Thinking about what I can do to make something positive happen with each person rather than relying on others to come up with ideas has been critical. It’s easy for catharsis to set in when your life has a lot of routine (and little time), so I don’t mind coming up with ideas and pushing the envelope. It takes effort to actively think of how you can love your family, but my relationship has deepened as a result. Regardless of the work it takes, that’s the reward which you can’t replicate.