"The best part of this story is I moved to my mum’s hometown - a small village in London called Barnes, where her mum still lives as well as her sister. My day involves walking the same paths she did, taking the same buses, visiting the same stores, smelling the same smells and exploring the same sites."
There are three things I know I got from my mum: the worry gene, the inability to make decisions, and the ability to find strength in the most testing times. The first two meant that when I was planning my ‘next steps’ after getting my university degree, I couldn’t really see past life on the North Shore, my hometown in New Zealand. I wanted to move somewhere, to America, London, Fiji, Australia… it was just that the minute I put a destination in my head, the worry gene would kick in and suddenly I couldn’t make decisions. So I settled. I chose to travel to America, London and Europe for four months. That way, I wasn’t making a long-term commitment, and therefore I wasn’t really making any solid decisions.
But after I returned from my four month trip, the worry gene kicked into overdrive. I worried I should have stayed overseas. I worried that I had spent too much money and just wound up in the same place I started. I worried I hadn’t made the right decisions (when I finally made one), and I worried that my mum would be sad when I told her how hard it was to be back in New Zealand. In secret, I started to write up a pros-and-cons list of what staying in New Zealand would add to my life, and what moving to London could bring. I pondered over the list for days. And it wasn’t until mama added a final point to my list that I could make my decision and stop worrying. She wrote ‘your mum will support you always’. You see, mum and I both carry the worry gene and the inability to make decisions, but we’re also there to combat each other’s worries, help to support in the decision making and give each other the ability to find our inner strength.
Leaving New Zealand for London, meant I had to say goodbye to my best friend - my mum. I was never shy in admitting that my mum had always been, and always would be, my best friend. I didn’t worry about being teased at school for saying it. I had the best mum, and I was proud of that. It was leaving her, I realised, that was making me worry and stall on making a decision about moving away. My mum is my backbone and it took all of my inner strength (and a whole lot of wise words from her about reaching for the stars) to feel it was OK to leave.
The best part of this story is I moved to my mum’s hometown - a small village in London called Barnes, where her mum still lives as well as her sister. My day involves walking the same paths she did, taking the same buses, visiting the same stores, smelling the same smells and exploring the same sites. In a way, it feels like I am her, and she is me. I am living her past and she is living mine. She lives in my hometown and I live in hers. It is because of my mum that I am where I am, I have achieved what I have achieved and I have the strength to be strong.
Because of my mum, I have made a huge step, and I have stopped worrying. I have made a decision. And we have never been closer or stronger or as greater friends. Our yearly visits consist of two weeks of mother-daughter time. We enjoy a glass of wine, shopping on Oxford Street, walking along Orewa Beach. Mum gave me the courage to overcome my worries, to make a decision and to find the strength to travel and to settle in a new place. Or an old home. However we choose to look at it.
Rebecca Benson is a Kiwi living in London. She’s a client manager at a brand and marketing agency and loves fashion. The next place on her travel wishlist is Bali or Thailand.
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