Our 'one year' opportunity to fulfil a dream of living by the sea has given rise to "we can't possibly leave yet, let's stay a little longer". It doesn't make much sense to live in one state and work in another but then again we often end up doing things a little differently.
There’s always one. For us it is number four. She entered this world squalling her indignation at the process and her strong will and fierce determination have kept us on our toes ever since.
Being number four I thought I had the parenting thing pretty much down pat. It came easily and we were doing it fairly well, often complimented on our well behaved little tribe. But that was before. Number four weaned herself at 9 months, too impatient to wait and work a little harder for breast milk. At 2 she refused to wear anything but pink for over 12 months. Her tantrums were legendary, the laundry was the place she was sent to calm down. Her little fists beat upon a glass panel in the door until she was rewarded with a crack, her little feet jumped up and down on the toilet seat until she was rewarded with another crack. She wrecked the toys of her sister, drew all over her dolls face, threw a chair at her brother and cut her fringe on a 45 degree angle, twice. Perhaps her greatest claim to fame was kicking her mother when she refused to buy her a toy at Kmart. Needless to say number four was banned from accompanying her mother shopping for many months.
Fortunately for us age and the maturing process have mellowed the temper and its fiery expression. Even more fortunate for us is that number four grew to be a rule keeper rather than a rule breaker. She is emotionally aware and mature, a thoughtful and intelligent young woman, still with a mind of her own. Tantrums have been replaced with reasoned argument and whinging with measured persistence. Once she decides to do something, she does it. We learnt long ago to choose our battles carefully. We have conceded on her becoming vegan, originally it was vegetarian but reasoned argument and persistence (along with my requirement of a written and submitted research paper and meal plans) have seen her achieve her end. A second visit to the dietician today, fine tuning her plans, have alleviated some of my concerns. A belly button piercing is the latest concession. She made her case, I insisted she research and make an informed decision (of course). We figure it can be removed easily one day, unlike a tattoo. And it was of course her questioning of school that started the whole journey of our re-imagining next year.
We love her to bits. She challenges us, (lots of conversations currently about the ethics of eating meat) but not with childish demands and uncontrolled emotions (which is not something that can be said of all adults!). She is finding her way, articulating and following her passions. Her strong will and determination will continue to see her be who she wants to be and do what she wants to do….
North to South and back again. My body has been in Caloundra and Melbourne these last two weeks but my mind has been in Tasmania. Exploring the possibility of making Launceston ‘home’ next year has given rise to more than we bargained for. I began looking for a place to rent and it didn’t take long to realise that the difference between renting and buying in Launceston is not significant. That of course opened up a whole new set of possibilities and a whole new set of figuring things out. To buy or not to buy? Where to buy and what kind of place to buy? We are unlikely to live in Tassie long term so it would need to be the ‘right kind of place in the ‘right’ kind of neighbourhood that is attractive to potential future renters. The amount of hours I have spent on realestate.com and researching housing trends and median prices and current market values in Launceston would run literally into days.
We are lucky that one of my sisters lives in the suburb that we are thinking of buying in. We have eyes on the ground and someone in the know, her help and advice has been invaluable. We’ve spoken with our accountant, have an appointment with the bank, a contact for a Real Estate Agent and a short list of houses to view when we head south, way south, to Tassie in a couple of weeks.
Sometimes I shake my head and wonder how we got to this place. Just a month ago basing ourselves in Launceston was not even on the radar, let alone buying a house. You start asking yourself searching questions and openly consider possibilities (and their consequences) and one thing leads to another and you end up in a place you could not have conceived. It feels a bit scary and it feels kind of ‘right’, another step along the way of living with no regrets…
Decision time is fast approaching. Within weeks we must continue or give notice on our current lease arrangements here in Caloundra and in Melbourne. We need to figure out what we are doing next year and how we are going to do it! What began with a question and a roaming conversation months ago, a question, now needs a bit of substance.
On the plus side we have figured out a thing or two. Colin needs to be in Melbourne for work and I need to be in Melbourne for family. And neither of us wants to actually live in Melbourne, which does complicate things a bit. We like to be there when we need to or choose to. We are making peace with the fact that if you choose to live in more than one place, it costs, and not just financially.
We have also come to realise that roaming between 3 States and 3 different places to live (our caravan on the Sunshine Coast, the apartment in Melbourne’s CBD and my mother’s place in Tasmania) means that nowhere is really ‘home’ and that maybe we do need somewhere that feels like a ‘home’ after all. We still want to roam between 3 States and flexibility is key but realistically we (Johanna and I) will end up spending more time in one place than the others. At the moment we are exploring what it might be like to make Tasmania that place.
I am surprised at how much energy it takes to think and rethink your life, to evaluate options, to make decisions and to consider the possible consequences of your choices, not to mention actually making things happen. Major changes are somewhat exhausting.
And in the midst of it all, the one who began this whole process in the first place with her challenging question, was asked once again what was most important for her next year, “I just want to enjoy my life, doing things I want to do” Don’t we all….