Life rarely turns out the way you expect it to… Yes, guys,  I’m getting personal today.  It’s a rarity, but it’s important sometimes.  Especially today.

The significance of today is huge for me, because it marks the anniversary of the date I rebooted my life and essentially started over.  I was 24 years old, but I was starting over again.  That’s sounds pretty dramatic, so maybe I should backup a bit.

In July 2007, I was living in a gorgeous little flat in Perth.  I loved that flat.  It was within walking distance of my uni and the CBD wasn’t too far away.  I’d just completed my degree, spent time celebrating with my uni friends, my best friend had just gotten engaged, and I was coming up on my 5th anniversary with my own fiance.  The life I’d been talking about and planning out for the last few years was finally all coming together.  At least, that’s what it may have looked like.

For the past six months, I’d been struggling with living in Australia.  A trip to Canada at Christmas to visit my family made me realise how desperately I was missing being around those people and that place.  I didn’t know it at the time, but my parents weren’t sure I was actually going to get back on the plane and return to Oz.

I sucked it up and went back to my life in Oz, knowing deep down at the time the only reason why I was really going back was because I had only one semester left before I finished my degree, something I wanted for as long as I could remember.  The fact that I’d barely missed my fiance while I’d been away from him for almost 8 weeks was something I was trying to ignore.  But it was becoming very obvious; our relationship was broken.

It started with the little signs; I didn’t really miss him while I was away.  He forgot to pick me up at the airport.  We started fighting.  I’d stay later at school to have time to myself.  I started to avoid family functions because I couldn’t bear to spend a lot of time with his family.  Then things started to become more obvious; I was absolutely miserable and he just did not care.

We went through the motions and looked like the happy couple to our friends and his family.  We’d been out with two other couples to see the most recent Harry Potter movie.  We’d gone to my best friend’s engagement party.  It got to the point where I couldn’t keep it up anymore.  I hit my breaking point while we were out to dinner for our anniversary.

It was a conversation I’d been putting off and dreading for months, but it turns out the hardest part was actually starting it.  Within half an hour, I had my answer.  Fifteen minutes later, I was on the phone to my mum, calling her to tell her they should stop planning their trip to Australia for my graduation, that I was moving home.

The next month was strange.  S and I continued to live as a couple, but things were different.  I knew there was an end in sight and somehow that made it easier to get along with him.  We’d go to our favourite restos and pubs, I spent countless hours at Hilary’s Boat Harbour, my favourite place in Perth.  He thought he could change my mind.  But I knew I was saying goodbye to Oz.

Five years ago today, I landed in Vancouver, B.C.  I was 24 years old and had no job, no place to call my own, friends that I hadn’t been in touch with in years and at the start of what would become a pretty ugly separation.  I’d been focusing all of my energy on the actual logistics of moving around the world, because I needed to be able to keep it together until I was packed, moved and had traveled my 36 hours. Me, the girl that always had a plan, was suddenly plan-free.  And it was terrifying.

But the whole experience taught me a very important lesson.  Sometimes, you have to tackle the terrifying.  Sometimes, you have to take a step back and say, “Wait a minute, this isn’t working.”  Sometimes that goal you’ve been working towards for years, ends up not being the direction for you.  Sometimes the person you thought was ‘the one’ at 19, turns out to be the one you want nothing to do with five years later.

Sometimes, you have to throw the plan out the window and start fresh.

Whether you’re 24 or 64.  Because it’s never too late to start over.

 

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  • Tom

    I love that quote at the end. And very right, GFM, it is never too late to start over.

    And, for the record? If you’d never moved back we may never have met. So I’m really glad you moved back.

  • I love you so much. Thank you for sharing this with us. Sometimes, I feel like I want to start over but don’t know how. It makes me sad and scared at the same time.

    • GFM

      I’ve been there. And honestly, the best advice I have is to just do it.

      It isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work. But in the end, it’s worth it.

      What is that saying? The only thing to fear is fear itself? 🙂

  • Ashley

    This really resonated for me and I’m super glad you shared your experience – I can totally identify with what you went through. I was with someone for the entirety of my early 20s and I spent the last years of that relationship trying to suppress my feelings and ignore the fact that I was deeply, desperately unhappy. Then yeah, I basically exercised the nuclear option on my life, it was pretty awful for a pretty long time. Almost all of my friends stopped being my friends, and I had to slowly rebuild my support network because my life was so deeply entangled with my ex. I remember how terrifying the days when it all went down were – it was like I was willingly committing myself to step off the brink into some unknown abyss and I had no idea if I’d ever recover. It was that not knowing that made me hold on and be in denial for so long and if I had it to do over again I think I would have walked away a year or more earlier than I did.

    Anyway I’m so glad to hear that you were able to tackle the terrifying, the way you discuss here, you should be totes proud of yourself for that because it is NEVER easy even when we know that we’ll be better off in the end. Here’s to fresh starts. 🙂

  • Candace

    Hi! It’s Candace from Sarcastically Bitter/@SarcasticBitter from VEDA. Tom retweeted this.

    You are so very brave. To move away from somewhere across the world and completely start over. That is huge! And to do it with no job, no place to live, and friends that you hadn’t spoken to in awhile.

    I love this post, because I have wanted to “reboot” my life for a long time now. But I am too scared. I am a nurse, so technically I could go whereever (just have to write some exams and pass them!). It’s so secure here though. There are always jobs, and I know the health care system. If I start over in the USA or the UK, I have to learn a completely different health care system and a different way to nurse. Plus the friend thing. Thanks to blogging and vlogging, I have friends all over the place. I have the most friends here though, and that is saying something because since I have had depression, I have broken so many friendships. And my family is 1.5 hours away if I need anything.

    It’s comfortable but I’m not happy.

    The quote at the end of your post is very powerful and true.