We passed our 3 months anniversary of living in Melbourne without much of a blip, which is what you’d expect, really.
What perhaps highlighted the change for me was that just at the cusp of that 3-month anniversary, I went back to Sydney for 2 days for work. It was interesting, because it allowed me for the first time in almost 15 years to look at Sydney as a “place I occasionally visit” rather than a “place I come to work”.
Of course, there are elements to Sydney that are good. But already, at the end of August, the humidity was rising, compared to the crispness of Melbourne, and it was a relief when I was able to leave again, knowing that I’m not facing endless days of another NSW coastal summer. That was, after all, one of the main reasons we decided to leave.
Interestingly, the visit also managed to cement for me what the smell is that I associate with Sydney the most. You wouldn’t think that’s important, but it’s like an umbrella sensation, or a memory trigger. Smelling that smell instantly reminds me not only of all the times commuting and working in the city, but also as a kid, all the times we visited Sydney for a holiday, too.
One of the other reasons we decided to leave the coast in the first place was a sense of stagnation, something I wrote about here. I still come back to this:
And then at the start of the year I made the unpleasant realisation that sometimes, particularly when you’ve got hermit-like tendencies, “comfort zone” is a synonym for “rut”. We weren’t in a comfort zone any more, it had grown into a rut.
I think that if you were to want to quantify the success of the move 3 months in, would be whether that rut had started to reappear. And on that front, the move has been an unparalleled success. As I mentioned in that other post, this move to Melbourne is the first time either of us have moved of our own volition, to a place we “wanted” to be, as opposed to a place where we “needed” to be.
Like the TARDIS speaking to the Doctor in “The Doctor’s Wife” though:
The Doctor: You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.
Idris: No, but I always took you where you needed to go.
It turned out that while we wanted to move to Melbourne, we actually needed to, too.
Fortune favours the bold, I guess. And because this post is about the move, 3 months in, it seems appropriate to single out three particular things that have happened in that time for me:
- Conversations – We’ve been together for nigh on 15 years now, and as you might expect, even in the best of relationships, there are conversations that you just don’t get around to having, that you should be having. Without those conversations, little barriers form, and over time they grow. The reinvigoration that comes from uprooting and moving to some place where there’s constant options for interaction or activity equally gives the changes that allow those conversations to happen.
- Friendships – I’d half-jokingly said to people that having reached out via the bear websites, and Facebook, before we moved, we already had more friends in Melbourne than we’d accumulated on the central coast. In reality, it was true, and since then, it’s exploded. The bear community really is that, and so it’s not unusual nowadays to have Facebook for instance suggest I might know someone because we have say, 60 mutual friends. It’s also allowed me to start feeling like I actually belong somewhere.
- Best friends – I’m not one of those people who maintains lists of “platinum friends”, “gold friends”, etc. (Trust me, there are such people in the world. In fact for most of them I’ve met, I think I’m now classified down at “talc”.) But like most people, I do have an inner, trusted circle of “best friends”. They’re the people I can safely feel I can open up to, no matter what the circumstance. People for whom “friend” is too vacuous a term, “family” gets closer, but it can be deeper even than that. Meeting such people for me is at best a once-a-decade thing, maybe even less. Like love, such bonds are often almost instantly formed through a perceived mutual trust and compatibility, and to have one start to form within days of moving to Melbourne was truly remarkable. There is, quite simply, a reason why we talk about the “hive” at times.
Melbourne – it’s been everything we wanted it to be; but it’s also been everything we needed it to be, too.