A few years ago, a friend confided in me that he had been having an affair.
As he told me the story of how it had come about, it became clear that this had been no sudden decision – he certainly didn’t go out one day looking for an affair, it sort of “snuck up on him”, he said.
He told me how it began with a feeling of dissatisfaction with his current relationship, followed by a chance meeting with someone new, attraction, flirtation, arrangement to meet up, more meetings, becoming physically involved, becoming emotionally involved and before you know it, voila, a fully-fledged affair.
But what also became clear is that there were numerous stages when he could have pulled back from the brink and returned to his normal life. But at each stage, he chose not to.
So why do I mention this? Well, to some degree, my friends’ descent into an affair has parallels with my own journey towards emigration (although hopefully my own journey will have a happier ending).
Several people have asked me recently about when it was that I made the actual decision to return to the UK, but I find it difficult to be specific.
Was it during our last holiday in the UK when we realised how at home we felt there, and how good it was for our kids to get to spend time getting to know their cousins?
Or was it when we decided to put our house on the market to see if we could get a good price for it? Or when it sold at auction?
Or was it when we started looking seriously into schools? ..or houses? ..or jobs?
The reality is that all of these events and many others played a role in nudging us closer to a decision, but no single event was the clincher. At any time we could have pulled back from the edge and recommitted ourselves to our lives in Australia. But we chose not to.
But in a way, no decision this major was ever going to be made suddenly. Quite rightly, it has been achieved through a series of little steps, each one taking us ever closer to the edge of the cliff, but always with the reassurance of being able to turn back if we wanted to.
And then one day, we found ourselves standing right on the edge and by then there was no turning back….. so it was time to take a deep breath, spread our wings and (hopefully) fly.