It has taken me an entire two years to write this story. I've stopped and started and stopped again, never fully able to pin down the words in my mind.
There are a lot of grandkids in my family, and I mean a lot. From Dubbo to Tamworth, the Central Coast to Sydney, we're bloody everywhere. I'm almost better off trying to figure out who I'm not related to. And while we may be different — for instance I cannot drive a manual to save myself — one thing that brings us all together is our grandparents, Ian and Betty O'Connor.
When I think about the memories most important to me — the ones that have stuck with me, clear as day — they almost always involve my grandparents and my time spent on their property, Balboora. It's a big farm with a long dirt road about an hour outside of Dubbo, the kind of place where the hours seem long and the days even longer. And it means everything to my family.
It's out there on the property, in moments that might seem forgettable — cooking with grandma in the kitchen, helping grandad in the sheep yards in the summer — that I learnt some of life's most important lessons.
For a little context, my life couldn't be further from the country. I'm a 25-year-old editor living in Sydney, while my grandfather is a farmer who lives off the land.
When Apple drop a new product I hustle to get my hands on it. Meanwhile, my grandparents are still blown away by the camera function of the iPad my cousins bought them.
The point is, my grandparents couldn't be more further removed from my world, yet they've given me the best tools to live in it. And it's something I'll always be grateful for. So in the spirit of sharing all that I've learnt, I figured I may as well pass on the life lessons they've taught me along the way. Read on, city slickers!