A lesson in being present
Many apologies for the long delay between posts here. I’ve been carrying a heavy secret for a few months; I was offered a position in Melbourne, Australia, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it until the visa came through and I was 100% definitely going.
Turns out it takes longer to approve a visa than it does to fill out a form. Who knew? Guess I was being naive. Even though I’m a British citizen, it doesn’t make the process speedy to apply for an Australian work visa. I ended up waiting three and a half months from mid-January in almost total uncertainty as to my immediate future. As you can imagine, that coloured a few things in my world.
It was great practice for staying in the present moment, but not having a hard plan or a move date made it really hard to move forward, get dug into projects, or go traveling. So, I didn’t have much to write about. And to be honest, all that uncertainty felt very oppressive – not super inspiring.
Which one is the mistake?
I was able to be pretty cool about it until a point. We had guessed the visa would probably come in mid-April latest, so I made a plan to leave the UK in mid-March and do 6 weeks of traveling in the US, visiting family and friends, and taking a bit of holiday as well. I’d return to London at the end of April for my aunt’s 80th birthday and then hopefully fly out to Melbourne in early May. The plan was proceeding well and I got to go to a friend’s wedding in Palm Springs, do a little roadie along Highway 1 in California, take some time with my family, visit my buddies in the Hudson Valley, and even a week getaway with my best friend in Puerto Rico. But as the time neared for me to return to London, the visa had not come back yet.
I had no plan (and no plane ticket) for the time after my aunt’s 80th birthday. The big question loomed, if the visa didn’t come in, where would I go?
All of that stress and uncertainty got compounded by returning to my former life in the Hudson Valley and reconnecting with all my loves there. Suddenly my heart was all wrapped up and regrowing old sprouts. Shouldn’t I let those little roots take hold here, where I already have a community? No one wanted me to go and suddenly I wasn’t sure why I was going either. Lifestyle and career seemed pretty hollow in comparison to the bountiful love and support I was engulfed in.
In these moments, how do we know when it’s fear and uncertainty talking or your heart screaming for its true desire? I am still wrestling with this one. I asked many people during those days, “How do I know if I’m making a mistake?” And the answers I got back were entirely unhelpful in the moment, but absolutely spot on.
There are no mistakes, they said. You’ll do whatever is right for you in this moment. The only thing that can happen will happen. If you go and it doesn’t feel right, you will come back. If you stay and it does not feel right, you’ll make a new plan to go somewhere else.
But I don’t want to have to make any more new plans! I want to commit and run full steam ahead. If I just know which is right, I could just dive in and not look back. But I have to know it’s right, because nothing feels right at the moment. If I know it’s The Right Thing, then I can just put aside the doubts, sadness, and what if’s as just that little chattering voice of fear. But without knowing, that voice could actually be the voice of my true desire! How do I know which is which? Which is the mistake??
I’m sure you can sympathise with the horrible back and forth place this put me in.
Just get on the plane.
Well, the visa came in at the end of April, only increasing my nightly bouts of tear-soaked nausea. But the visa made everything feel a lot more final and complete, and I decided to get on the plane and give it a go. The uncertainty gave way to intense sadness as I said goodbye to my friends and family. I took the 26 hour journey from London a few days ago and I’m now rooted in my temporary accommodation in Melbourne.
I feel a great sigh of relief being here, like the stove top has been turned down and the rolling boil is slowing down to a simmer. I’m still feeling incredible sadness that I left so many wonderful people on other continents, but I have managed to connect with almost all of them since being here and I don’t feel so far away. Suddenly, I have my forward momentum back. It’s time to find a great housing situation. It’s time to explore this new town and meet new people. It’s time to lend my skills and talents to a new team I believe in. It’s time to learn new things to propel me even further on my journey.
Now that I am moving forward again, getting stuck into crafting a life here (lo and behold), here come some ideas! I’ve thought of a new video project to do from afar with my bestie in New York City. I’m looking for a figural ceramics sculpture class. I’ve found a place to investigate for sailing. I have some sewing ideas bouncing around too. And I’m writing!
It’s been a really intense journey so far, but I am feeling good and getting my energy back. Here’s to the next few months!