I’ve been dreaming of living in Melbourne since I was 12 years old. I imagined I would live in an apartment in St Kilda, just like the characters on The Secret Life of Us. My super hot friends and I would drink on our rooftop terrace and play soccer across from The Espy. Now, my friends are obviously super hot, smart and charming – just like me – just like on The Secret Life of Us. So that’s a win.
We do the drinking too, it’s just on a patio couch, or in a courtyard, or in China Town, or in a park with ducks and less often on rooftops. I’d like to say there is less drama than the show too, but that wouldn’t always be accurate. Also, if anyone knows Samuel Johnson, Claudia Karvan or Deborah Mailman and wants to invite them to the next wine and dumplings night, my dream will be complete.
Anyway, I longed for seeing the trams go by, for culture, great coffee, galleries, exhibitions, Luna Park, live gigs, Brunswick St, getting lost in laneways and those beautiful city lights. Mostly, I was searching for a safe place to explore my identity and grow. This city has been calling my name like a long lost lover for over 10 years and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
4 cars, 1 called off engagement, a few thousand heartbreaks, lost friendships and a shit tonne of growing up later; my little old life in Cairns seems like a lifetime ago. I feel pretty stoked that I have managed to see more of this country than most after living in Darwin, Rockhampton, Brisbane and Newcastle. Now though, after all these years of wishing and daydreaming, I have finally settled into the only place that has ever truly felt right for me.
Fast forward to almost 12 months of living the dream and I’m still very much in love with my Melbs. I have found my favourite restaurants, discovered the best cinema, been on personalised street art tours and managed to figure out the public transport system. I’ve also learnt a few things about myself and other people, but that’s life. I just wish I had of sat myself down when I first arrived and gave it to myself straight.
You aren’t going to be every ones cup of tea. You’ve met so many people over the years and have always found yourself trying to impress them all and then being heartbroken when the timing is off or the connection doesn’t flourish. Not everyone is going to think you’re great but the good news is, you finally love yourself enough that it doesn’t quite have the sting it used to.
You will continue to struggle through lessons until it hurts enough to stop. Repeating the same old lessons in love, at work or in friendships is tiring but when you’ve actually had enough it will be easier to let things go and create change.
You will lose touch with old friends. Living in 6 different cities means that your friendships require regular check ins and long distance, late night phone calls to say relevant. You’ll come to realise that delayed responses to texts are 100% okay because everyone is busy. You’ll make time for the friendships worth nurturing and hold on to great memories of the rest.
You can’t control the weather. Always carry an umbrella. You’ve never known comfort like popping one up once it starts to pour and knowing your eyebrows are safe.
You will meet more fuckboys than you know what to do with. A bigger city means that old saying of ‘plenty more fish in the sea’ finally makes sense. There are certainly more fish. Some of them though – as you will come to expect – are assholes. Learn to spot an asshole and refuse to give in to repeat offenders. No matter how good looking, charming or how great the sex is, you deserve better. If they are taken, take them off the menu.
You can say yes to new adventures and experiences that seem scary and actually enjoy yourself. Going places on your own and meeting up with strangers that you’ve been talking to online is fun as long as you’re being safe. Go to the park with the dog and read a book. Go to Brunswick St to explore and pick up your favourite flowers. Get into conversations with people – discover the city properly. Keep some of your country charm and remember that rudeness and saying no to everything is a one way ticket to weeping with regret.
You will find out that friends are truly the family you create. Being so far away from home is a blessing and a curse. You’re exploring new places and having the best time but you will always miss your loved ones. Spend time putting together a tribe that respects, understands and nurtures you. Love is a doing word and when you find the right people, it’s as simple as that.
You can’t spend all of your money on fancy clothes and forget about your bills. You will need to be more conscious of your finances. You’re a big girl now. Put money aside, start saving and don’t get caught out by unexpected bills because you just had to have that vintage coat the day after pay day.
You don’t actually need to be in a relationship, calm down. You’ve been jumping from relationship to relationship since you were 14 years old. There’s nothing wrong with that but you’ll come to realise that what you’re looking for and what you actually want are two very different things. It is so okay to make-out and have fun and not jump into anything with anyone. In fact, I’d recommend it.
You will learn to appreciate being stuck in traffic. 30+ perfectly peaceful minutes of you and a very loud Glee medley will fill you with so much happiness; if you let it. You could see traffic as a giant pain in the ass or you could call it unplanned ‘me time’. Take advantage of it. Soon enough, you’ll be back to being busy and unable to hear yourself think. Trust me.
You are going to start writing again and some people will actually relate to you. People are going to reach out to you, thanking you for being so honest and raw. You will meet people who inspire you and are inspired by you. Don’t take it for granted and be proud of what you’re doing. It’s real. You’re onto something.
I really do want to take a minute to thank all of the incredible humans who have reached out to me, shared my posts or have just continued reading and supporting me. It did take quite a bit of courage/ovaries to put my life online in such a personal way but hearing your stories of triumph and compassion in the face of everything you have faced is more inspiring than you know.
I thank Melbourne for everything it has taught me and the opportunities it has given me. Mostly I thank myself for finally chasing my dreams hard enough to achieve them. Here’s to the next 12 months, achieving new dreams and the city that continues to encourage, nurture and teach me every day.