In a previous job – in a previous life, it sometimes seems – I regularly flew down to Melbourne for work, which would often see me at RMIT’s La Trobe street campus, almost directly across from the State Library. Back then, before the era of decent SmartPhones, I was always too timid to take a snap while others were around, but I’d tell Darren of this amazing piece of artwork in the sidewalk, as if a bit of a building had slumped and sunk into the pavement.
Now, years later, it’s something I can go look at whenever I want.
Today marks 2 years of us living in Melbourne. We arrived at almost exactly 3 am, June 1, 2011, on one of Melbourne’s coldest nights of that year. As I recall, WeatherAU was telling us at the time that it was -2 or -3 degrees. We’d just driven 12 hours, with a car full of essentials and two very curious cats.
By the end of our first 24 hours in Melbourne we’d not only met our best friend, but both knew we’d come home, even though we’d never lived here before.
At times it’s not been an easy journey. A death in the family within days of moving down could have tainted the entire experience. Equally, the sheer bastardry of signing our first lease and then having an employer renege on a 6 month work-from-home agreement after 17 years employment (having talked up the prospect of building a Victorian office) was a nasty shock even before the move took place.
But the weeks, then the months, slid by. The hardships and the bumps were there, and the changing work circumstances meant less time with each other than we’d have liked. Yet throughout all that and more, has always has been the strong belief that we made the right choice.
I was discussing moving for personal reasons only a few days ago with a close friend who also did it – in his case, overseas. There’s an odd dichotomy in watching the reactions of friends and loved ones when we move away. The ones who know our hearts share sadness over the loss of regular connection, but find joy in our move, knowing it’s what we need and want. Others, no matter how close they are, find it confusing, or frustrating. Why are we moving away from them? What did they do wrong? Why do we no longer like being around them? Yet, it’s not about them, not one iota. When you move – particularly for personal reasons, it’s not about the people you leave behind, it’s about what you’re going to.
At a body image seminar I went to a month or two ago, one of the key messages discussed was that most of the time we worry too much whether others are judging us. For the most part, it seems, people are sufficiently self focused as to not be endlessly judging how others look.
I think this is equally true of most of life – it’s not to say people are inherently narcissistic, but it does mean that people inherently make decisions about increasing their own personal satisfaction and happiness; thus, a decision to move away isn’t about others, it’s about us.
Sometimes, that’s an easy thing to forget.
We made a decision entirely based on our own personal satisfaction and happiness. We weren’t uncaring about those we were leaving behind, but we both reached that point where it was obvious we had to care first and foremost about ourselves.
It wasn’t about them, it was about us.
We could not have made a better decision.