“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
-Fellow ENTJ, Steve Jobs
Moving to Brisbane was my second attempt at moving to a new city by myself with the intentions of getting a job, getting an apartment, and establishing a new life. As the months have gone by, I’ve compared my time here to the time I spent after I moved to Austin by myself.
I moved to Austin on the last day of September in 2015. Three months into living there, I was working seven days a week, scraping up every last penny for a new backpacking route that had popped into me and Andrew’s minds. My full-time Americorps job destroyed any sense of self-confidence that I had built up in Europe, but I found a small sense of belonging in the twice-weekly free yoga classes put on by Black Swan on the roof of Whole Foods. I had to physically write down where I was happy in order to convince myself that I was happy. On Saturday nights, I reached out to friends I had made abroad for the courage to go to gigs alone. I felt lonely, but hopeful because I had spent years dreaming about living in Austin and becoming the person I want to be.
I moved to Brisbane on October 11. I had not spent even a day dreaming about living in Brisbane. Backpackers told me it was like London, that it was hit or miss, that it was boring, that it wasn’t as cool as Melbourne, that it felt like a small town, I could go on and on.
(I don’t know who the hell thinks that Brisbane is like London, besides the fact that it has a Ferris wheel and is on a river. All cities have rivers. That was the point of cities in the olden days. Ships and transport and stuff. There’s a Ferris wheel in the Toys ‘R’ Us in New York, does that mean Brisbane is like New York? I’m being a jerk.)
Three months into living in Brisbane, I’ve saved up enough money to go gallivanting around New Zealand for two months before moving on to Melbourne. I don’t spend day after day wallowing in low self-confidence. I’m as happy as I was at the beginning of 2017, during my last few months in Austin. I see the potential for jobs and strong friendships (and, rolling my eyes at myself, relationships) here. I’m not just trudging through another few months to move on to the next place. I love my apartment, my walk into the city, and the people I make plans with. Three months into living here, I’ve seen myself grow, reflect on (and release) baggage that I was carrying around, and raise my expectations for the people in my life.
Things are amazing.
And I’m leaving in two weeks.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
January has been twisting my arm. This is a dream that I don’t want to wake up from, not yet. When I hear co-workers and friends telling me to stay here, I want to listen. After all, who told me they wanted me to stay in Austin this early in the game?
In Austin, I focused on becoming the person I wanted to be, shaking the stale feeling Philly left me with. Since Brisbane, I’ve slipped into this person without much of a thought. I go to gigs and play at acro meetups and wander through art galleries without feeling like I have anything to prove to anyone. That’s a good feeling, to say the least.
In the end, I have no attachments to any other cities and could realistically spend the rest of my year-long visa in Brisbane. I could. That’s my decision. Adult. Live my best life. All that jazz. I’m flying back to the Gold Coast anyway for Bluesfest. I know yoga teachers here. I’ve taught classes here without a proper job. I write my own story, or whatever.
And yet I hear myself rambling on about Brisbane and how I ultimately control my life, I want to shake myself. What am I saying? There’s no way this plan is what I want in the long run.
I haven’t seen what Australia has to offer outside of Brisbane and one day at the Gold Coast. People have told me that I’d love Melbourne for a reason. In Europe, I fell in love with cities after being there for two days and replaced that love with each new destination. There will be work, work friends, gigs, and acro yogis in Melbourne. I can fall into another dream, letting my time limits push any long-term pressures off a cliff. And there’s no saying how my road trip in New Zealand will affect any of this.
So what do I do? Where should I plan to live when I get back from New Zealand?
Staying in the Present
The full-stop reality of my current situation is that as much as I hate leaving my plan hanging by a thread, I can’t make any decisions today. I haven’t applied for any jobs in Melbourne. I haven’t set foot in Melbourne. All of my Brisbane friends are within arm’s reach, and time hasn’t passed to show me where these relationships will go if I make Brisbane my home for an extra few months. Two months in New Zealand could change everything. Two minutes in Melbourne could change everything.
As I was preparing to leave Austin, a city I grew to adore with friends that I miss terribly, I told myself, “If I don’t leave now, I’ll be saying ‘what if’ for the rest of my life.” I find myself saying the same thing as I hype myself up for New Zealand and rewatch season 3 of Real Housewives of Melbourne (as if I am going to live a life even close to Gina Liano’s.)
I can go back to Austin if I want to, but just not now. I can go back to Brisbane after New Zealand if I want to, but just not now.
The present moment is all I can cling to, and I’m going to spend that moment here, making plans for the upcoming week and relaxing after work.