It has to be said; I've been a tad remiss of my 52 of You duties the last couple of weeks. But I have good reason.
A month ago, my lease was due to come to an end and the lovely tenant in my apartment wanted to stay on, which I was more than happy with. So, with no rental commitment for the first time since I moved to Melbourne five years ago, I thought it the prime time to exercise my #virtualoffice from elsewhere around the globe.
This wasn't such an easy decision at first. I toyed with the idea of getting another lease, buying new furniture and really satisfying a niggling desire to 'nest' - but I knew that would set me on a completely different course and I wasn't sure if I was quite ready for that just yet.
After much talk, no action and getting increasingly frustrated with my indecisiveness, I looked up flights at 3.30am on a Sunday morning when I couldn't sleep, discovered a ridiculously well priced premium economy flight through Qantas, and booked two months away on the other side of the world from Melbourne.
I woke up the next day in shock. What the hell had I done? Eight weeks?! Where was I going to stay? What was I going to do with all my stuff? Why had I chosen to go to a country just entering winter, and, more importantly, which coat was I going to take? The questions poured out and I was relieved to go to brunch later that day with two gorgeous friends who brought me back down to earth. "You make it a good time," said one. "You can spend some time in Marseille," said the other. My decision was starting to feel much better.
The week that followed was a stressful one. Nothing felt like it was falling into place. People who should have been responding to me, weren't. I didn't have anything booked for my arrival to London, which was getting scarily close. I needed to have everything packed up for storage in 10 days, but it was too early to get started. There was a wedding to attend, and be excited about. I had an interstate friend coming to stay with me, while I had stuff everywhere. My 35th birthday was about to happen, and I hadn't planned a thing. People were asking questions, to which I had no answers.
For the first time in my life, I experienced real anxiety. Breathless, nothing-pressing-but-everything-urgent panic. Have you had, or do you ever have, that feeling? It is awful and I feel for those who experience anxiety on a regular basis.
On the day of my birthday, something changed.
It was a busy but beautiful day full of messages, catch ups and phone calls, which I insisted on taking despite my current borderline sanity. If someone is going to take the time of day to call you on your birthday - in their own busy lives wrought with complexity - you take that call. Amidst the madness, I found some peace and come the evening, surrounded by my best girfriends, I relaxed and let go.
There's a school of thought that says every seven years, you change. You start a new course of direction; a new chapter. In those weeks wrapping up a seven year space, I certainly felt my old chapter closing and I was pleased to let go of a few things (Melbourne not being one of them, FYI).
Interestingly, the first week in London threw a few challenges at me and I witnessed how old behaviour can creep in and how much you have to actively choose not to follow that course, mostly through a solid dose of self awareness (firmly assisted through the support of friends). For me, that marked the shedding of old and commencement of new.
Tonight I took myself out for dinner and a spot of writing to The Garrison, a gastropub on London's Bermondsey Street. At the front of the pub was scribed on a blackboard a George Bernard Shaw quote; "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself".
I believe it to be a mixture of the two. Often, it is in the creating, that you find yourself.
Little Miss Melbourne xoxo