good life – by petra corcoran
Part of cultivating a good life is learning to find strength even in the hardest of times.
I feel fortunate that I have a good life. But it wasn’t always this way. I honestly want for little more than time and to spend as much of it as possible with those I love.
When I was 10, I lost just about everything. When my parents left what was, at the time, a communist home country “illegally” I could not have prepared for having my world turned upside down. Quite frankly, I lost everything that a 10 year old holds dear. Friends, grandparents, my bedroom with my bed and toys in it, all gone in the blink of an eye.
On that morning we left, my mother turned to me and said, “You can only take your one most favourite toy with you on this holiday.” At the time I had no idea what was about to happen, but within days my lifestyle and familiar surroundings were gone, never to be seen again. There was little time to mourn this loss; however, I was suddenly faced with the great unknown and a new feeling of not knowing where in the world we would end up, what and who we would encounter, or even what new language and culture I would be thrust into.
With no money and no possessions save for a few items of clothing in one suitcase between the three of us and my favourite teddy, we had to start from scratch. I won’t pretend it wasn’t hard, that I didn’t see things in a refugee camp that a 10 year old should not see and that the stress did not take its toll.
Fast forward 30 years and I feel blessed that it happened. I thank my parents regularly for the brave decisions they made to forge a better life for me. The life lessons I have been taught are now part of my character and are echoed though my everyday life. The experience has truly motivated me to find strength even in the most difficult times when your world is suddenly turned upside down. The strength comes down to these three things:
- Take chances in life – Make decisions, live by them, learn.
- Possessions are simply that. They are temporary, fleeting, and rarely fulfilling.
- Cherish those you love because you don’t realize how quickly you could lose them until it’s too late.
For the past 10 years since my first child was born, I have been wondering how I could pass on these lessons I learned. How could I ingrain in my own kids the values without them having to live through the frightening experiences, the loss and the hardship that I endured when my life took such a drastic turn? Perhaps sharing this story may be a small step and I hope that living and breathing these values will go a long way. For now, I truly want for little more than time to spend with those I love.
Note from Becky
Petra was a part of our 2013 Creative Team and is forever a part of our big Project Life® family. David and I had the privilege of spending some time with her when we visited Australia in March of this year. We even got to meet her sweet family, which was such a treat. David and I could have spent hours just chatting with Petra, like she was a lifelong friend. What she has shared in today’s Good Life post is just the tip of the iceberg of her life experiences, some of which we heard directly from her while together.
Listening to Petra explain what has transpired in her life, without so much as a hint of complaining, was remarkable. Talk about someone who really does count her blessings! Petra undoubtedly cultivates a good life and so beautifully records her family’s story with Project Life. I am so grateful that she has become a part of our own story.
Note: The bear shown in the photo is the same one Petra has had all of these years.