Time is slipping away from me. I’m suddenly a month in to my second year with nothing to show for it. What’s happening here? Has something gone wrong? My desire, my motivation to go places, to do things has tumbled, somewhat inelegantly, over the edge of a not too-steep but still likely to leave you feeling rather sore cliff. This doesn’t feel like a holiday anymore. This feels a little bit too much like real life. You might be well within your rights to stop me there. Hold on a second mate, wasn’t it you who, just a few weeks ago, was demanding that we all get out there, do the things that make us feel good, and now you’re sat here moaning about your lack of motivation? Yes, okay, I did say precisely those things.
Look, things have changed ok? Honestly, it takes a certain amount of confidence, and perhaps an equal amount of stupidity, to decide to throw in the proverbial towel and travel as far away from your home, your safety net, your comfort zone, as the money in your bank account will allow. Even going back, totally broke, already filling up with those unavoidable post-travel blues, to start all over again requires some strength in character. Committing to that very same reboot, but in another time zone, almost a day away, I mean, come on. Who do I think I am, making that kind of ridiculous decision?
There is, at the very beginning, nothing here. Nothing, of course, except a sprawling metropolis of potential. For the vast majority of the time, although I didn’t realise it, I was slowly tucking away pieces of that potential into sandy, lint filled pockets. I’ve spent less time unemployed in my time in Australia than I had in my previous year in the UK. I’ve had a greater success rate in interviews. I’ve built lasting, beneficial relationships with a few of my employers and even some of my colleagues. I’m gradually developing a new sphere of influence; gravitating towards certain friends, acquaintances, and that one vendor who always sells me the good eggs at the Queen Victoria market. It dawned on me that my life is slowly starting to take on a more solid, less temporary or transient, but permanent form. I’ve gone from trying to avoid visiting the same place twice, to always finding an excuse to jump on a tram up to Brunswick and having a cheeky pint or six in the Alehouse Project.
For the first time in a very long time it seems that my focus has been less on going places, doing things, and rather on simply being present with what I have, right here, right now. A not insignificant amount of my time over the past few weeks (and I apologise for my absence) has been spent tinkering, adjusting, organising, and arranging things in the apartment. One of those things, which to justify aforementioned absence, has been the internet. The good news there is that I no longer have an excuse not to post regular updates, or at least for as long as I have something to write about anyway. Time to get things back on track after that little relapse. After moving in it has taken up until probably this weekend for our home to really feel like a home.
I’ve gone from occasionally cleaning communal areas, you know, like when the kitchen gets beyond a little untidy to annoying dirty, to being responsible for an entire apartment. Worktops, floors, carpets, shelves. Ugh. So many surfaces on which dust is more than happy to settle. I’ve recently had this rather sudden epiphany where I have to say sorry to my mum. I know understand her two-decade long struggle to get us; being myself, sister and father, to give her a hand around the house. I’m fortunate in the sense that my new lodgings consists of less space than the combined area of the living and dining rooms I grew up with. I can’t imagine juggling a full time job, raising a family and keeping a house clean. So, Mum, I’m sorry that I never got around to cleaning the kitchen floor, or offering to give you a hand with those painfully mundane tasks that you might have once spent all weekend on. (She’s off for a short break in Nice at the moment so I know she’s definitely not gonna spend this weekend doing it.)
Beyond the tragedy of wanting to live in a clean home there’s the touches beyond furniture, after the necessities have been acquired, the little things that make a room feel a little more like your room, rather than the guy who owns the room that is decent enough to let you live in it. I’m already the proud owner of a washing machine, a budgie, a sofa-bed. You’d be well placed to argue that some of these things aren’t exactly necessary for a comfortable survival and yet, there’s more. Maybe it’s having the space to fill, or maybe it’s the idea that it’s my space to fill, I don’t know but I’ve got plants everywhere; in the bathroom, the kitchen, the living area, on the balcony. I’ve gone from being responsible simply for myself, for being responsible for the well-being of other things that are alive.
What then, is one to do? Stranded between this need to do things to feel accomplished and the contentment of staying at home and watching my garden grow. Well, there was really only one thing to do wasn’t there? Make a list of course! I’d have to be joking were I to claim I don’t have time for both. I know exactly how much time I sit on my arse, not really getting up to much ,when there’s plenty that I might like to do or even need to do. Summer’s coming, the beaches and parks of Melbourne are soon to be sending out invitation again. There are still so many bars and restaurants I want to check out, not including those that rank in my favourites that I want to go back to. There are a couple of cinemas I want to check out, more for the entire experience than just the movie on the screen. Then there’s wider Victoria; going back to the Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula, the Grampians, the Dandenong ranges, the Yarra Valley, Phillip Island, and Wilson’s Promontory to check out before I’ve even considered the sights beyond the state lines. As pleasant as it’s been to be able to slack of and enjoy some simple pleasures like enjoying an evening on the couch in front of the T.V. I know it’s time to start being a bit more of a tourist again.