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One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

24 December 2012
Sometimes your life changes in the most dramatic and unexpected ways.

All through 2011 and 2012 we used to joke about taking off to live in England, and see Europe. I`d been away over 20 years , and missed it badly, and Claire had always said it felt it was where she should be.

We had at any time anything varying between 2 and 3 of our children living with us, and were in a constant struggle to catch up with our debts. With their other parents, our ex-s, not making any effort to see their children, spend any time with them, and worst of all clearly didn`t want them living with them, we didn`t see any real chance of ever being able to go where we wanted to go and live. But we used to talk about it, and dream, and plodded on.

During the year Claire helped Rick get a regular job at a supermarket. That was mind blowing to see after all the years Claire had spent working with Rick on his autism, and then nursing him (alone) through leukaemia (3 times). When we met in 2009 he had been trapped in a wheelchair unable to walk after his hips had collapsed, and here he was now walking off out of the house, jumping on a bus, and working 10 hours a week at the local supermarket. Amazing. He loves being alone, so Claire then spent a lot of 2012 working on the next step in his adventure, helping him find his own place to live and empower him to have his own life as an independent adult.

While this was going on during 2012 my daughter, after completely disappearing for 9 months, just as suddenly re-appeared, only to then take off to Sydney 2 weeks later to live. So we wished her well and she set off on her adult life. All power to her.

Our lease was due to run out in January in the now over sized house we were living in, so we started thinking about having to move house. We were tired of renting, so looked into buying one. We found a lovely sexy remote house up on the top of Mt Glorious, north of Brisbane, buried deep in the rainforest. It was bit small, but had been empty for 9 months, and the owners were eager to sell it. We applied for a mortgage, and were told it shouldn`t be a problem, we ticked all the boxes and shouldn`t take long. Yet there seemed to be misunderstandings and one delay after another and it just dragged on and on. It was as though, and we even said it at the time, that the Angels were throwing a spanner in the works telling us, no, this isn`t what you should be doing.

Over a period of a few months things with Claire`s youngest (18 yr old) had been deteriorating, resulting in him suddenly telling us he was moving out as well. Clearly he too wanted to go off and start his adult life, so we didn`t stand in his way and off he went as well.

So suddenly, and unexpectedly, we found our children were no longer children, but adults, had left home, and it was just the two of us, living in a too big house, with no other commitments to cement us there.

We wondered, could we? Should we? Is it even possible? Was there a way?

My contract was about to finish just before Christmas, so would be out of work, we had to move home anyway, and buying one was dragging on and on. Hmm.

One day Claire said "if we buy that house, paying the mortgage will keep us in debt and there forever. We will die there.".

That made our mind up. We didn`t have any money, but what cash we could scrape together from my last month`s pay, and with a couple of empty credit cards, we said f*ck it, let`s just go off on an adventure and see where it takes us!

Then suddenly Claire found Rick a perfect one bedroom place to live. Another little hint from the Angels! We put 2 air tickets to London on plastic. That was it. We were going. Gulp.

In the space of 2 weeks, in 38C heat, and working through half the night most nights, we packed up the entire house and moved out.

We flew out and off into the sunset, er, no, it was the dawn actually. We landed at 5:00am into a cold and wet and dark English mid-winter morning at London Heathrow. It was Christmas Eve.

We could have been devastated about our children moving out, and the way it happened, at being out of work, at having to move home, at being broke and in debt, but you have to look more closely at life. Often as one door closes, another opens. If you don`t look for it you won`t see it. It will pass you buy. When things feel like they are going wrong it is usually all part of what you`re supposed to do, you just can`t see it right there and then. You will later.

So look out for when a door closes, because it usually means there`s another one opening somewhere in your life !

Love from Ye Olde England

Mark and Claire xx