Friday, November 30, 2012

Where do you go when you're gone?

When you lose yourself
in your mind's eye
that swarm of ceaseless
dreaming, that is not sleep

Do you escape to a
white plastered cliff
somewhere in the mediterranean

or to some cold riverbank
in the heart of europe
where the locals drink rum
on bottles hanging from
their canoes

Do your thoughts run along
a postcard of
the great wall of
china

or to the fans and paintings
of a spain you knew
by touch and feeling

You realise now you don't
go anywhere when you're gone
because that restless heart of yours
beats in the present
and has no need to be transplanted
elsewhere, anymore

or at least not for now

Monday, November 26, 2012

You can go home again

It's been over ten months since I've come home to Sydney. I didn't know before I came back if you can really go home again. Turns out, you can.

I thought I would be allergic to everything about my life before. I was anxious that I wouldn't be able to fit back into the life I used to have, the old routines, the long train rides and traffic, the monday mornings, part-time work and interning. I thought I'd be lost wandering through Sydney as if it were some awkward stranger, as if I couldn't live here anymore.

You can go home again. You appreciate it more, you know it better, you seek out what's changed and what has stayed the same with the eyes of a tourist coming here for the first time, with an added sense of de ja vu.

I love Sydney and its chai lattes, its abundance of all kinds of ethnic food, its weather - the thunderstorms and the thirty degree heat and the warm autumn days. And I've realised that I've brought the best parts of Spain back with me. Last year I was going on road trips with friends, hanging out at beaches, drinking lots of coffee and constantly, constantly eating out.

Not that much has changed. From exploring new eateries in Sydney, weekends away, thirsty thursdays and sangria saturdays the porque no? motto lives on. We empty bottle of champagnes to celebrate uni finishing, we talk politics and sexism over beer and wine happy hour and then cocktail happy hour at the uni bar. We are young and free and happy here in Sydney too.

Australia's a pretty damn great place to live. After couch surfing in Melbourne, road tripping to the Great Ocean Road and the upcoming trips over New Years to Peats Ridge Festival and Uluru with the family, perhaps even a sneaky Gold Coast trip to visit a friend - home acquires all kinds of charms when you've been away.

Our flora and fauna amazes me. Seriously, we have the weirdest freaking animals and plants. And they're all ours. The purple jacaranda trees, paper trees, gum trees, koalas, echidnas, wombats!! Desert and rocks and beaches galore. What is this weird island continent that I live on and why have I never seen it like this before?

You can go home again, you can always go home again - because absence does all kinds of crazy shit to your memory, it makes you fall in love with this place you knew all along, waking up one day after an overseas love affair and being completely taken in and enamoured with the friend you never noticed but who was always there.

Home is here, and knowing I can go away for a year and come back makes it feel Okay to leave. I can change and it can change but I will make my way back here, home will always be here. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

I wish I'd realised earlier

The most success I've ever had was realising I didn't want to be successful. At least not in the generally accepted definition of the term. I never wanted to be rich, or even wealthy, or even upper middle class. Even though I am (middle class, that is). I've always been willing to settle financially on what could get me by. Money, in that sense, is not an issue for me.

I didn't want to do business, corporate law or anything that was the picture of ambition in a suit. It never was my style. The best moments I have and keep having are realising that what I actually want and what other people want me to want are so disparate that it renders it a little hilarious.

No thanks, I don't want to buy investment properties. No thanks, I'm not interested in owning my own car. No thanks, I don't want a graduate job or to climb any ladders or get my foot in any of those doors. The only things I climb are trees and the only doors I clamour to get inside of are those of airplanes.

It's this incredible release of pressure when you realise - wait a minute - I don't actually want any of this. Because that then means you can stop trying to get it. And it all falls into place. That's half the battle, trying to figure out what you actually want. I can live with this.

And then you have to figure out what you will do and how you can live to get it. I've laid to rest any misguided expectations of my own to be financially stable, to earn 50 k a year my first year out of uni (now I cannot even fathom that amount of money) or put a deposit down on a house. I've come to terms with this, and it's OK, it's what I want.

Because instead of this, I'm trying to set up a life I don't have to run away from. I don't want to live for the weekends or annual leave. I would rather work an unpaid internship that allows me to be where I want to be, doing what I want to do, than get paid an amount that would satisfy only my bank account and leave me struggling for air forty plus hours a week.

Everybody is different. To be a shaved-head hippy in a country nobody has heard of or very little about is definitely not everybody's dream of success (although I personally will argue for the intrinsic value of being completely bald at least once in your life). Each to their own.

Growing up and all this 'maturity' business is really just about one decision. Choosing to make others happy or choosing to make yourself happy. Sometimes they overlap, a lot of the time they don't. You just gotta make the call.