Aged 11 I went to boarding school.  I wanted to go.  I’d seen my brother and sister go off and I wanted in on this amazing adventure.

For 3 days it was and then the crushing reality of homesickness started to rip me apart.

It was the first time in my life I had been fully away from my family and every night without fail, I cried myself to sleep.  I was aware that this wasn’t great for the other girls in my dorm but I was traumatised and unable to help myself for weeks.

Eventually I hardened and then it was only the first few days of term that I felt it.

I’ve done a fair bit of traveling in my life and being a freediver further compounds that because I’m not able to tolerate the cold diving climate in the UK.  I go away for months at a time and while nowadays we have incredible technology that visually connects us at the push of a button, I still have that familiar sickness in my throat every time I say goodbye.

But this post isn’t about feeling sorry for myself because I’m away again and missing home.  This is a post about gratitude and how there is always a different way of looking at things.

I recently connected with someone on a social media due to the hashtag “MentalHealth.” We struck up a conversation of vulnerable honesty and have been chewing-the-cud of life ever since.

I am currently in Roatan, Honduras training for the Caribbean Cup and CMAS World Championships and yesterday I commented on feeling homesick after the conversation had got round to family.  I briefly mentioned that it was a sensation that I had been all too familiar with for 34 years since boarding school and how painful I still find it.

His response was simply “It’s a lovely feeling because it means you care and that is to be celebrated”

In the blink of key stroke my pain turned to gratitude that I have a family that I am so close to and care about so much.

How many other situations in life do we potentially look at through emotionally dark tinted lenses that could have a light shone on them to create gratitude instead?

I am grateful to my friend for helping me see the homesickness in such and precious and uplifting way.

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