Getting good at Goodbyes, friends, where I am now and where is next.
Welcome back! Put on your glasses, make a cuppa, it’s been a minute since I last posted! What a crazy three weeks it has been and whilst my intention when I started this blog was to post for you at least once a week, lately, that just hasn’t been possible. But I am here now with lots to update you on.
14.5 hours. That’s how long it takes to drive from Adelaide, South Australia back to my hometown in New South Wales. Ew. Why? I’ve moved back for a minute! Hello. I hired a fancy set of wheels, picked up from the airport, packed my whole life into it and in one day made my way back home. I’ve spent 5 of the last 7 years living in Adelaide and I felt both happy and sad to see the back of it. I’ll miss it, especially in the Summer. The beaches, the cafés, the concerts, festivals, Big Bash cricket at Adelaide Oval, good seafood, a bottle of chardonnay and a water sunset almost every night. I’ll miss the social aspect of it all but I won’t miss the sad memories it holds for me. Adelaide, while at times has been a lot of fun, has also caused a great deal of heartbreak, challenges and many “why the fuck am I still here” moments. Every day of the last 12 months living there brought a lot of pain that I battled through because unfortunately, the alternative was going home. I don’t really mean to make it sound like ‘going home’ was such an awful thing. I love my family and I love being home. But I had said goodbye to this town and I never pictured myself being back for anything other than a visit. As I’m sure my fellow women out there reading this have also experienced, I too had my fair share of dealing with the small town ‘mean girls.’ Can’t wait to run into them, it really fuels my superpower that I like to call anxiety. Ha! It’s ok, I am being humorous, you can laugh. On top of that, I’m prone to feeling incredibly claustrophobic in a town where a lot of people know who you are – particularly when your parents are rockstars in the community. Nonetheless, I hugged Goodbye my superstar roomies in the city and now here we are.
I have a confession: I have a bad habit. Actually, that’s putting it lightly. It’s more of a self-destructive behaviour. You see, the minute I no longer feel an attachment to a ‘place’, I push everybody that’s helped create that version of my life in that place, away. Steadily. Carefully. Slowly, my communication becomes less frequent, I stop making the effort to catch up with those friends and this frees me up to leave whenever I wish without the guilt. Without feeling like I owe anyone anything and without feeling tied down – I am completely free to go and never return. So once I made a big decision 9 months ago to move again, I prepared myself for the emancipation of everything in my Adelaide life. My job. My friends. Everything. In a way, this really works for me. It’s incredibly selfish, I’m aware of that, but it’s easy to keep starting all over again, tying up loose ends and not leaving anything or anyone behind that will miss you or that you have to keep attending to. In another way, while I’m currently in limbo from ‘old life’ to my ‘new life’, it’s a very lonely period of time, full of self-doubt. Why did you do this again? Why can’t you just settle down in a place, love these great friends you’ve JUST made and live a normal life? You fuckwit. I’ll tell you why. I haven’t found home yet. I haven’t found my place in the world. I haven’t landed anywhere that has opened its arms to me and I’ve thought to myself “You belong here.” Until I do, I’ve made peace with the fact I will hop around quite a bit, work all kinds of jobs, experience all that travelling has to offer a restless soul like mine, soak it in and keep having faith that one day I will wake up and say to myself “You made it. Here you are.” Security and the soothing predictability of a settled life are really important to a lot of people. It is by no means overrated. However, it’s important to me that I find it when I’m ready to have it. Where I know I’m in good hands, living somewhere that excites me and enjoying a life that I know I chose. Still, I’ve spent a fair amount of time beating myself up. Wondering why I couldn’t have just been happy with the life I had here in my hometown before I left. Why I couldn’t have made it work in Adelaide in 2017 and really thrown myself into creating a life there and put down roots. I was there but I wasn’t present. I knew within months of moving back to Adelaide I had made a mistake but I felt like I should just suck it up and make the best of a really shit decision. My biggest heart opening non-mistake was spending Christmas and New Year last year in Nashville, Tennessee. Once I came home I knew I couldn’t stay any longer. Not that I wanted to move to Nashville (well, there was a time I did, until…Donald Trump) but it was abundantly clear getting off that flight from the States, I had some more big decisions ahead of me.
I no longer beat myself up. Yes, as I said it’s selfish behaviour. I’ve cut out people I no longer want in my life. But for the most part, I’ve just lovingly said Goodbye to friends, people I genuinely admire, who will always have that time and place in my life. And though we always say “Stay in Touch,” we both know we won’t and that is perfectly fine with me. We had great fun in our time together but while I am the way I am, it’s best for the both of us that this is where I leave them. I don’t beat myself up for leaving behind those people anymore because while they’ve been good friends to me throughout that era of my life, they’re not “lifers.” TF is she talking about? You may read this and laugh, hear me out, I’m right about this. You have ‘era’ friends – people you are close to during a particular time in your life or while living/working in a particular place, but will inevitably fall out with when those circumstances change. Then you have ‘lifers’ – people that no matter where in the world you are, no matter how much time has passed since you last caught up, no matter what circumstances have changed and no matter how much shit you’ve both gone through individually and together, are your tried and true FRIENDS. At 25, I’m interested in having both. But the ‘lifers’ I crave having more of. If I can be completely bare and vulnerable for just a moment, I can honestly say I have only one true, honest to God, would kill you if you hurt me, ride or die ‘lifer.’ The funny thing is, we don’t even see each other – ever. We talk maybe weekly, not every day. And sure, he sends me drunk Snapchats of him singing, horribly, but if I called him at any time of the day or night and said “I need you” he would drop everything and be there. That’s a real friend. Someone who always has my best interests in mind. Someone that can honestly say that no matter where in the world I am, they will come find me if I need them to. Anyone only capable of less than this or anyone who is friends with you on the basis of circumstance lands themselves in the era category. There’s nothing wrong with that by the way. I consider the girls I was friends with before I moved away, incredible women I adored. But I left. I changed the circumstances and as a result, we’ve had a falling out. It was my fault. Era friends can definitely become lifers but only if you’re both committed beyond the circumstance of convenience – and people rarely are. We’ve all got really busy lives and we’re guilty of cutting loose relationships that aren’t low maintenance and can still blossom without constant attention. But the lifers, you’ve always got time for, no matter how much time has passed, no matter where you are. And for someone who has changed her circumstances too regularly so far throughout her 20s – it’s a rough ride without those ‘lifers.’
Back in the ol’ stomping ground. I’ve unpacked, I’m settled, I’m spending more time writing, I’m catching up with the 2015-2016 era friends, I’ve found a new favourite coffee spot. But… Surprise! I’m not staying. That big decision I made 9 months ago? It was to move overseas. Jesus. Here we go. Why not?! I have an impeccable track record of remaining unattached (slight sarcasm) I am free to do whatever, wherever I wish. And 3 months shy of turning 26 with no husband, no kids, not even so much as a mortgage in sight, I am in my fuckin’ prime! (Again, slight, darker sarcasm). So that’s what 2019 holds. A major shake-up, fly across the world, be the little fish in the 8 million strong pond that is LONDON! I chose London because it’s very easy for young Australians to move there, our governments have mobility programs in place that allow 18-30 years olds to gain a 2 year Visa and live/travel/work/do whatever you want (legally) in that time. However, I really chose London for its culture and proximity to the rest of Europe. It’s the New York City of the United Kingdom – ok minus the hotdog vendors on every corner and only in the sense that there are so many pockets and neighbourhoods to explore and always something going on. It’s a hop and a skip away from France, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Spain and from there keep working your way through Europe. 2019 Christmas in London, New Year’s Eve in Paris? YES. Champagne and Eiffel Tower fireworks? DOUBLE YES. I’m sitting here bouncing at my desk because just thinking about it gets me excited. It sings to me. I can hear it calling my name. The people, the opportunities, the variety of culture, art, music, new strangers and their own stories meeting me in bars at 2am, football matches with psychotic fans and exploring an absolute masterpiece of a city I’ve only had the pleasure of enjoying once when I was 19. I can handle the cooler weather, so I’m ready. More than ready. Besides, I figure hot Spanish islands are just a flight away.
I’ve got no idea what London has in store for me. I have no idea whether I’ll stay there once my Visa expires, move elsewhere or come back to Australia. I do know that my first couple of months are going to be very hard. I don’t know anybody, I’ll be balancing finding a stable place to live, stable work and being alone a lot of the time. (I’m good at being alone, I enjoy my own company and can spend this time exploring at my own pace and getting to know my new city.) But in truth, I have no plans and no real expectations for how it will turn out, other than I know it’s going to be, as the kids say, ‘LIT’. Most importantly, I think it will be a defining period of time in my life. I also expect that I’ll meet inspiring people – people who will continue to shape the woman I’m still growing into. People who will hold my hand and possibly have to hold my hair (U.K. pubs amirite?) In a city as diverse and as big as London, people from all over the world I will undoubtedly fall in love with, travel with, share once-in-a-lifetime experiences with and potentially become ‘Lifers’ with. I have only the most optimistic and positive feelings about this new chapter, I can’t stop smiling. I have the support of my family to leave and do what I think is best for me and again, I’m not really leaving much more than that behind. It’s a major decison, but it’s a guilt free one. I truly feel the U.K and Europe hold communities of people who will open their arms and hearts to me and a little piece of me thinks I just might actually wake up one day and say “You made it. Here you are.”
So that’s it! Here I am. Here’s where I’m heading. It has certainly been a tough adjustment over the last month, but I’m truly so excited for what’s next. I can’t wait to land in London, walk into a bar and see the first person the Universe sends my way to say “Hello.” Find out where they’re from, what lead them here, what they like, what they drink, where we’re going after that drink – possibilities are infinite. What I intend to make the most of in the youth I have left are possibilities. As we age, they narrow. Paths close. There comes a time where despite what Instagram quotes about life might tell you, things you wanted to do, you just can’t do anymore. One life. Too much time to be old and as I’ve learned, kind of the hard way, not nearly enough time to be young. I look forward to the day my baby is running into our bedroom, I have a career I love, a home we own and a husband who is everything I’ve searched the world high and low for, but until then – possibilities. Exploring everything that could be. I’ve finally come to accept it’s ok that at almost 26 years old, I have no clue as to what that may look like yet.
P.S. For anyone even slightly curious or inspired, here are some links with information about moving to the U.K. There are also various groups on Facebook for Australians moving to London and Expat information.