A couple of months ago I made a promise to myself however my original intention in making that promise was quite unfortunate, my uncle had passed. This is probably something most people wouldn’t want to know. I mean I could tell you about a very different kind of journey that involved no ups and downs but I think this part is important. In fact it’s probably the most important part of my promise because that was the moment that sparked my motivation to make a promise.
The moment I discovered my uncles passing was life changing, not just for the most obvious of reasons but also because I had realised the value of time and relationships. Of course I like to think I already knew this but the truth of the matter was I probably didn’t. Not completely anyway.
The reality is that unfortunately its human nature to let life get in the way. We tie ourselves down to these structured working schedules and map out the way our lives should be, how much money we should have by what age and what types of property to invest in. All too often we’re self consumed and we forget to nurture the relationships around us.
I’ve always been a family orientated person, even growing up as a little girl we would constantly spend Sundays together around that typical Aussie barbie. I didn’t pay much attention to anything outside of ‘home’ which in other words was Sydney. I always had intentions of taking a world trip to eventually meet the remainder of my family, however through my uncle’s passing my attention was drawn immediately to my family overseas.
Soon enough I came to the sad realisation that despite the technological advances of Skype, I didn’t know them. Well most of them anyway. So I decided to do something risky but promising. I decided to spend my 21st birthday with my ‘other family’, the forgotten family. I made a promise to meet my family for the first time in 21 years.
Finally meeting them was one of the most surreal experiences. I was accepted into the family as though I had known them from birth and the excitement that blazed through everyone was flattering. As I roamed their houses I noticed photos of my brother and I propped on their mantelpieces. Subtly I was reassured that I did belong here despite the distance between us, I realised there was so much love to give and receive here.
Although most of my journey consisted of laughs and cheek to cheek smiles, there were inevitably some tears and for the most unexpected reasons of all. How they lived. Most of them lived in a village, their houses were bare rooms and they could barely afford food let alone material items. The most shocking discovery of all, more shocking than this, was that they were happy. Even without material items and the bare minimum to live off, they were happy. Why? Because they had each other (as cliché as that sounds).
They weren’t phased by life and its pressures. They were humble and grounded. This was refreshing; it opened my eyes to another way of living and another way of seeing.
In hindsight I wish I had taken the leap of faith to travel half way around the world to visit them sooner, but I thank myself for eventually doing so because this new years eve when the clock strikes twelve I won’t be wishing for bigger or better things. In fact I’ll be celebrating with my family hoping that everything stays just the same.
As the New Year approaches we are all assessing our lives and wondering where to next. If after reading this post you’re feeling like you’ve got some regrets - CHANGE THAT! Don’t wait to realise you shouldn’t have waited. Embrace 2015 with good vibes and make a promise to get around to seeing and doing all those things you always said you would. You all know what I’m talking about. The things you haven’t done because you don’t have the time or the money or the motivation.
If one of those things is reconnecting with family I thoroughly recommend you do so, call them, visit them, immerse yourself in their lives, if only for a second. It’s a promise you can’t put a price on.
Written by Christine Yangoyan
Christine recently completed a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations) at UTS and is passionate about Public Relations and Marketing. She loves learning, thinking outside the box and engaging in work that is challenging and meaningful. She is using her skills to help Promise or Pay execute new ideas and create inspiring content that contributes to the common good. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]