Starting to think it’s a little less overpopulated in your current capital city? This could well be the reason why…
According to an article that graced the cover of Monday’s broadsheet, The Australian, our fellow countrymen are staging a “regional retreat” like never before, embracing the enticing notion of the sea and tree change with such gusto that it would appear we are fleeing our major cities in much the same way the Pied Piper cleared the rats out Hamelin!
Having made this daring leap of faith into the unknown 14 months ago, I’m here to tell those of you who are contemplating it that you need to dip your toes in a little first and think strongly about the pros and cons of embarking into such a brave new world before you plunge head first into the pool. Sure, the glittering promise of the unknown and opportunity to start life afresh is tempting, along with the reality it’s great to live in a lovely big home with a mortgage that doesn’t required you to work 3 jobs to service it. And yes, it is heaven residing in such close proximity to an uncrowded, picture perfect beach, not to mention, the sense of community and slower pace of life are all ticks in boxes too.
But, if you are still straddling your old life of pre sea change proportions, and therefore are not wholly subscribed to it, then I warn you, this is not an easy feat to undertake – and still stay sane.
You see, The Husband and I both still have employment, social and family commitments in Sydney which sees us averaging 10 – 16 hours alone is possible commuting each week.
Working so far from home has its challenges – besides amassing approximately 450 hours in public transport in a year (and that is only working 2, sometimes 3 days a week!) you are the last one in the office and the first to leave, despite having left home at 6.50am and wont grace the company of your loved ones for another 12 hours. But the thing I find hardest is only seeing The Husband 5 -10 hours in total Monday to Friday and that we cant ever plan any mid week family fun into our lives, without one of us missing out. Plus there is farewelling your husband at 6.30am and knowing he wont be back home again until 7pm – 9.30pm which can be a bit of a kill joy – them some long hours to kill amusing a toddler one on one! Isolation can take its toll if you let it. But I try to remind myself of the wise words of Michael J Fox, that the situation is what it is, and you get to chose how you respond to it.
Even though we can claim to actually know and enjoy our neighbours (something we never could living all those years in Sydney) the trickiest part has been trying to establish new friendships and support networks. Because we arrived barely knowing a soul in our new home town.
Making friends is something that fills me with fear; I rather loathe putting myself out there, as it gives me a crisis of confidence like nothing else. I’m acutely aware of everything I say and do and cant help but think it all comes out wrong. “Just be yourself” people say. That’s a great idea but what if you don’t know who that is exactly? Or if that person is far from riveting. You cant help but miss your old established friendships, where everything is so easy and feel a little like you are on the outside looking in.
Tough as I found it all at first, it’s thankfully getting easier one year on, this semi sea change of ours – even with all the travel! Harrison is thriving in his daycare, and from within those walls we have begun to cement some new friendships, along with my book club, and a fab new playgroup we’ve found.
So despite the fact it’s far from a fully fledged “official” sea-change, we do love our (oh so much more affordable!) home as well as the beach lifestyle. And I have come to realise I am not so much a big city girl anymore... Of course there are things I miss (my sister!!!) but I know this where we belong. With time I am optimistic that I'll eventually feel more like a "local" and less of an intruder or holiday-maker, and that this is where our "happy place" in the world will be. Like a lust-worthy recipe, its got all the right ingredients to make the most delicious meal; I just have to per-fect my mixing techniques to make sure I serve it up to its