• Natalie Arancio

Life’s Big Dots: Reflections of a First Time Mother

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

My little baby girl just turned one, a ‘big dot’.

Leading up to this I found myself reflecting on the year gone past. It seems just like yesterday that we were heading to the hospital unaware of what the next 28 hours of labor were going to bring. Now I look back and cannot believe how quickly the year has gone. Her one-year birthday resulted in me thinking about time - where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going?

I found myself reflecting on what exactly has happened over the last 12 months. Have I been doing what I thought I would have been doing? And if not, is that ok?

What is it that I would like to be doing over the next 12 months as my daughter makes her way from the age of 1 to the age of 2? These thoughts tend to spiral out of control, onto thoughts of her going to school, getting married, leaving .. boo hoo.

With these spiralling thoughts, I take a breath and realise that it doesn’t really matter what lies ahead. What matters most is now. What is it that I am doing right at this moment? Being more present is something that I have not yet mastered and I am hard at work consciously trying to retrain my mind to appreciate being more present.

Life happens now I am realising..

Having said that, I still believe in reflecting. And when I do look back, I remember having thoughts about what would happen in my life. Essentially my thoughts included: finishing university, teaching, buying a house, getting married, having children soon after, taking a break from teaching to be a stay at home mum and repeating with child number 2. I also thought I would be living not too far from my parents so that I would have support while raising a family.

I find myself now living a very different reality. My life did not at all pan out that way; the thoughts that consumed me in my earlier years are not the reality of the now. Why was this?

I guess like for many of us, life is engineered a certain way, don’t ask me why or by who. I broke this cycle, I changed this narrative when I made a couple of big decisions, upon reflecting, a couple of ‘big dots’ in my life. (NB: ‘A Big Dot’: a term a friend introduced me to, aka life defining moments that connect and lead you to the place in which you are currently).

My biggest dot at the time was meeting and marrying my husband whose view of the world challenged (and challenges) mine and not long after, choosing to move abroad with him.

A decision so 'bold' was outside the norm of suburban life in Sydney – I could even say unheard of at the time. But it was that decision that has broadened my view of not only myself, but of the world in which I am living.

Is it hard living away from family? Of course. Would I have been the same person I am now had I not made the decision to move abroad? In some ways yes; and in many ways no. I am a thinker, I always have been a thinker, and living abroad and breaking away and rewriting the script has enriched my life in so many ways.

Recently I received a message from my mum in response to a photo I sent her that was taken on one of her trips to visit me in the UAE.

She said that she remembered what a fabulous time and experience she had and that it opened her eyes and her mind so much (she also said that she couldn’t believe how much thinner she was then). I thought, not only have these ‘big dots’ impacted on my life, but they have also impacted on others; others who have also left a blank page or two to re-write their own script.

Do I know what the next chapter is in my life? No. Do I need to know? No. What I do need to know is that life is happening now and I should be present to enjoy it with my daughter, not dwell on a long gone past or a future that does not yet exist. I will come to realise in time, that my now, will one day represent another ‘big dot’ in my life - but until then..

Change the way you see the world.

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