Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Plan B

I feel I have been neglecting this blog somewhat since coming back from New York. Or perhaps I should say, coming down from New York. It was such a blissful chapter in my life.

It was hard coming back to reality. Back down to earth (literally - in New York I lived on the 29th floor and worked on the 30th, and spent many happy hours on the roof terrace of my building). Back to a job that has become rather uninspiring. Back to paying rent and bills. Back to a choice of two types of media: trash or doom; the only exception being the coverage of the US election. Even the notoriously gloomy UK media couldn't ignore the jubilant sense of hope beaming off the great American public in their coverage of the Obama victory.

Back to London in Autumn, which very quickly turned into Winter.

It hasn't all been bad - I have super busy going to loads of gigs and fun events, and there have been some interesting developments on the relationship front.

But it's fair to say that it has been a struggle. For a while there I really thought I was going to have to move back to Melbourne. I just couldn't see how I could possibly cope with living over here on my own any longer. Having my parents here was wonderful, blissful, so much fun - but when they left, I felt utterly bereft of their presence. All of a sudden, my world shrank. I was in a city on the wrong side of the world, heading into a particularly bleak Winter, and I don't think I have ever felt quite so scarily, overwhelmingly alone.

In reality, I am not alone. I have a small circle of friends here, and my great work colleagues, and my lovely flatmate. I have friends at home in Melbourne with whom I have (admittedly sporadic) contact. I have a brother in Sweden, practically next door in Australian terms. And of course, my parents and youngest brother are only a phone call (and a time-zone) away.

It has been a time of reflection and internal change for me. I guess I always assumed that at this point in my life, my main focus would be on having my own family, so I must admit (somewhat shame-facedly, given my feminist credentials) that I never focused that much on my "career". I just came out of Uni, looked for a job, stayed there until I got restless, looked for another job - and so on. It was a sense of needing to escape that drove me to London. I learnt one of the first big lessons of my life: that you can't run away from yourself. Hence my decision to stay in London for the moment - moving back home is not going to solve any of my problems (except the lack of parental/younger-brotherly contact) and would probably just create more complications than I can cope with right now.

So now I find myself at a cross-roads. I know I need to make some positive changes in my life; but what might they be? New job? New career? Back to Uni? Back to Melbourne? Go travelling? Become a mentor? Take up yodelling? For a person as change-resistant and cautious as myself, this is a scary time. But I am trying to take it slowly, in manageable chunks, taking small, exploratory bites before I make any big moves. I have started by booking myself into some short courses and introductory sessions to things that interest me.

2009 is going to be the year of self-development, y'all. I even bought a journal. An old-fashioned, lined paper journal. For writin' in. I'm not even sure I remember how to hold a pen.

I'll keep you posted.


nicky said...

Hey Lady!!

First of all, I just wanted to say thanks for this blog. I stumbled across it a few days ago (when doing research for my own overseas adventure) and have spent the last three afternoons at work reading it.. it really has been a great insight into life as an expat (melburnian).

It seems that you are going through a bit of a 'bleurgh' patch, which I completely understand. I wanted to let you know that I cut short my last long trip because I was feeling a lot of the things you are.

I think it was a mistake though- after a month or so, the novelty of being at home wore off and I was once again stuck in a rut. SO i guess my advice is, stick it out for a little while yet.

I think enrolling in the short courses is a great idea. Another one is to try and see London as a tourist once again- go out to new places, see more music, try more things. Take advantage of being in such a large/multicultural happening city. As great as Melbourne is (and it is a bloody fantastic ciy) sometimes I find it can be a bit on the lacking side in terms of variety.

I am completely inspired by your blog and your experience and am planning to jet back to the northern hemisphere next year- long term. Going to do the working visa thing, though havent decided between UK (london, glasgow, manchester) or US(new york) yet. I'm a huge music fan and work in the music/media industry here in Melbourne, but have no connections over there. Not such a big deal, as long as I dont end up working in a pub of course.

If you have any advice, I would greatly receive it.

Otherwise, thanks again for the blog and goodluck!

melbourne dreaming said...

Hey Nicky,

Thanks for your message and the advice! Love hearing from a fellow Melburnian.

I know I don't take advantage of London like I should, it is too easy to get settled into a routine and keep going back to the same old haunts. And lots of people have advised me to stick it out a bit longer, which is what I am going to do!

As far as ex-pat advice goes, I have to say that it's a difficult time to be looking for work over here (as I imagine it is in the US and Australia as well), in the current economic climate. Hopefully it will pick up next year. I know a few designers who are struggling to find freelance work - as is usually the case, it's down to who you know! Which is making it difficult for aussies over here. I would advise trying to set up some meetings before you get here or arranging some work experience, and also being open-minded about what sort of work you are prepared to do.

I wish you the best of luck! Let me know how it goes :)

Maffy said...

Good luck, in whatever you decide to do.

Make 2009 an exciting year :)

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