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.