Change. There are many definitions of change. The two that sits strongly with me and which define our own journey over the past 16 months is: “make or become different” and “move from one to another” (Google 2018). Our change has been a major one. A new city. A new life. Our daughter at Boarding school living apart from us. It has not been easy and it will continue to be bumpy for another six months. It has been a miraculous and positive experience for us even when we were enduring a number of adversities. What we know for certain is that we love our new city and our new life.
My husband and are were both born and bred in Sydney. We led a pretty unassuming life doing what was generally expected of us. We met, we got married, we finished post-graduate studies and developed our careers, we set up a home, we had a baby and we raised our daughter. We were content for 20 years living in a picture-perfect cottage that radiated warmth, cosiness and security. A real home that people fell in love with when they came to visit. But the one thing I have learnt over the past 16 months, in fact, have been subconsciously learning for most of my adult life is, that you cannot control the future. That the future is unpredictable and that the universe always has a bigger plan for you and you won’t know what it is, nor understand it until long after the dust has settled and you can clearly see what was truly meant to be. For us, it hit out of the blue. We were both experiencing an intense sense of uncertainty along with feelings of loss. These sentiments began to deeply fester, becoming dark clouds encircling our once content lives. For me, the “black dog” of depression had moved in. We were both unfulfilled at work and with Sydney. I had also found myself working in a very toxic environment that was draining the life out of me. Literally! It wasn’t until my husband’s work situation dramatically changed that we found our escape. We agreed that he would look for a new job in a new city, or country, and I would follow. As a teacher, I knew that I could work anywhere. It was a plan and it made sense and it all seemed so easy and so simple. Or so we thought.
Now before I go on I want to say this. If we had known how hard changing cities in your 40s and 50s with a teenage daughter still at school and about to embark on the two most significant years of schooling, would be, I don’t think we would have done it. In hindsight, we are so extremely and passionately grateful for the naivety and lack of experience we held. I wish to proclaim that I am glad and extremely grateful that we did go through with it. Totally blind but still, we did it. In fact, every day, we feel blessed and so fortunate that we had embarked on this journey. I also want to say to anyone in their 20s or 30s, who are single or partners who either don’t have children yet, or have young children is, do it. Do it now! Be adventurous. Work in different cities. Live in different countries. Forgo fancy cars, clothes and stuff and travel more. Don’t be afraid to rent out your home as you move overseas or interstate to try on a new place or culture. And most importantly … don’t stay in a job that drains the life out of you.
So here we are. Sixteen months on. We are changed for the better. We are happier with a more balanced life. And although it has not been easy. In fact, it has been one rollercoaster of a ride, we would not change our decision in a heartbeat. With some wonderful moments of tribulations, we also had our fair share of trials. We could not sell our home in Sydney; it felt as if we were the only Sydney property that could not sell during the boom period. We missed our daughter something awful. After she left for boarding school I broke down in my husband’s arms sobbing, “What have I done!”. Learning a new Educational curriculum has been emotionally draining and has hit my pride for six. It was not as easy as I thought it would be. It took time and patience but I have embraced this change, this learning and discovery. In fact, it has actually rejuvenated my love of teaching and learning. We felt that leaving our friends and family behind would not be difficult. I mean, we could just fly down to Sydney whenever. Ummm …. reality check. It’s expensive and it drains you. It was hard when we realised we had no friends or family to share our lives with. The most frustrating change was learning how to get places, knowing where we were, how to get someplace and where we needed to go. This was the most frustrating of all. I knew Sydney like the back of my hand. Brisbane was alien to me. I had no sense of direction which was discombobulating as I was renown for my acute sense of direction in Sydney. What makes it more confusing is the fact that the Brisbane River snakes and meanders through the city, constantly changing the perspective and direction of where you are. The River truly does mess with your sense of direction. She really does not make it any easier on a new settler!
In summary? Well, it’s all positive vibes. sunshine (literally) and rainbows. The move and the change have made us wiser and less anxious about things. I tend to go with the flow more. If I could achieve this … well … then anything is possible. Change, especially change that is not easy makes you appreciate what you have and what you have achieved. It helps you realise and trust that things do get better. You also get better at coping and solving problems. We did finally sell our house and have bought a gorgeous Woolstore apartment that has been fully renovated. We are currently waiting for the tenants to move out so we can move in – but that’s another story. I am in my second year as a Queensland teacher and have a better and clearer understanding of the curriculum, the units of work and the culture of the school. We have made some great friends. In fact, friends from Sydney have also moved up and are living on the Sunshine Coast. We still miss our daughter but she only has 6 months left and then she moves up permanently. But who’s counting! What’s really precious is that she really wants to move to Brisbane. No parental guilt trip, coercion or bribery in sight. This has been her decision.
Change has been our beacon of hope. Our light. A true blessing. We realise that change really is invigorating and a good thing. Change does take courage. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith as you wear your rose coloured glasses and tell yourself blindly that everything will be just fine.
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.