Posts Tagged ‘moving’

Sea Changes, Tree Changes

July 13, 2009 1 comment

I seem to be surrounded by people about to relocate their lives, often many thousands of kilometres across the country.

My sister is returning to her old home in Adelaide after spending many years in Sydney and Brisbane. A bout of serious ill health saw her stuck in the Sunshine State for much longer than she’d planned. But now it’s time to move. And, gorgeous creature that she is, she is taking Mother with her. It’s a Very Big Move for Mother. She’s been in Brissy now for around 15 years. Originally there were plentiful extended family members around, now there isn’t.

For my sister, the Move is about re-establishing her arts presence in South Australia, where once she had the honour of being Young South Australian of the Year. These days, apart from her playwriting, she has her film work and her academic career. Most of her networking and job contacts all reside in Adelaide. As do nearly all her friends. Makes sense for her to move.

No actual jobs lined up, apart from an occasional lecture or workshop here and there, but the grand potential is for steadier work and cash flow. She doesn’t own a house, or have a mortgage (she’s an impoverished artist after all), minimal superannuation, little savings. So the Big Move has had to be planned and saved for very carefully.

For Mother, the relocation is about maintaining contact with at least one of her daughters, and the potential to see the other daughter (me) more frequently. It’s also far easier to find affordable seniors housing in South Australia than it is in Queensland. Mother doesn’t own her own home, never has. The long term plan is to help Mother find one of those affordable seniors units in a community housing project or similar.

A journalist friend suddenly found his contract reduced and his cash flow with it. He had no real desire to return to his former career as a teacher, so began researching what technical writing jobs were out there. He’s discovered a lot of those jobs are based in Canberra. Within a few days, he and his wife had made the decision to sell their home in the Gold Coast Hinterland and relocate to the rural areas around Canberra. They hope to be settled in their new home (yet to be found) by August.

The wife, a recently graduated teacher who was unable to find work in her local area, is now hopeful of finding a teaching position in one of the ACT schools. Their son, who they’d been expecting to hold back from starting school until late next year in Qld, will now suddenly find himself a fully-fledge primary school student.

Whilst they’ll sell their home for a profit, they still have a hefty mortgage, and very little super. They do have enough cash flow from the husband’s freelance journalism contracts to see them through a year. Just.

Both have abundant hope and positivity that all will work out well.  As I type, their house is packed up, and they’re in Canberra doing job interviews. They have spent quite a lot of money on travel to and fro from the nation’s capital, with no resulting jobs. So far.

Another person I know is about to do his own Big Move. He grew up in Alice Springs. Now, in his mid-30s, he and his wife have just sold their house and are now house hunting in South Australia’s rural areas looking for their new home. No jobs lined up. But plenty of hope and ideas.

I myself have done the big relocation thing when logic dictated I remain in situ. I walked out with a single suitcase, left the country I’d called home and returned to Australia with nothing.

Starting over can seem overwhelming at times. You’re often beset with worries and anxiety over whether you’ve made the right decision, and is it too late to go back.

I found the stresses of making The Big Move easier to cope with by writing down my original reasons for wanting to move in the first place. And a list of pros and cons about the proposed move.  When you’re excited and brimming with positive energy, take your list of cons and start writing a list of tactics to get around or cope with the possible negative outcomes. Keep hold of these lists. You may want to refer to it when panic sets in. As long as all your reasons for wanting to move are sound, you’re safe. Be buoyed by the list of pros. Take comfort from the pre-planning against the negatives.

Life rarely goes to plan. Things do go wrong. You will cope, you will adapt. Aim for one positive achievement each day. And always, always take time out to find something about the day that makes you smile and fills you with joy and contentment.

For me, that often meant sitting outside, gazing at the mountains, a sunset or the waves lapping at the shore. Sometimes it was a lovely or bizarre conversation with a friendly stranger. Chatting with my partner. Friendly service in a quiet country town. All these had the ability to lift my spirits and fill me with hope, and make me realize it really is great to be alive.