January 9th, 2009

Cats: The way to heaven

Man in a pond, man in a pond...

The title of this entry is something Joe said in his sleep the other night. I LOL'd.

So I'm back from my wee sabbatical, hopefully a wiser woman. Christmas is that time of year when everyone's issues come boiling to the surface. In Joe's case, he realised he was not ready to own a home. Seeing how singlemindedly I approached that goal, he felt that there was no hope for us - that the things we wanted differed too much. So we talked a great deal, and thought a great deal, and the things we talked and thought about were things we probably should have discussed far sooner. For the longest time we'd been content to cruise without really defining our mutual goals for the future. That's a dangerous thing for any couple who hopes to be together in the long-run, because no matter how much you love someone, no matter how happy you are together, if you want different things out of life there is always going to be conflict - and one or the other of you will be discontent.

Long story short: it may be a great time to buy a house right now, but it is not a great time for us to buy. I'm 26, Joe is 25, and we both love adventure and change. Joe's more overt about it than I am, but my track record tells a story of it's own. Since I left home in 2001, these are the places I've lived:

2001 - Milton (Inner West Bris)
2002 - Wooloowin (Outter North Bris)
2003 - Sydney (New South Wales)
2004 - Caloundra (Sunshine Coast)
2005 - Camp Hill (Outter East Bris)
2006 - East Brisbane (Inner East Bris)
2007 - West End (Inner South Bris)
2008 - Kenmore (Outter South Bris)

And I was about to move again, continuing my dance around the points of the compass. Last year I took two holidays, one to go caving, one to explore the outback, and I fucking LOVED them. Owning a home right now would strip me of the ability to move on when I got bored; it would strip me of the money to go on my adventures.

I am always so singleminded, always in such a rush to get things done now-now-now, to get ahead, to Make Something Of Myself. Maybe it's just me, maybe it's some sort of poor working-class-family ethos I inherited watching my parents claw their way from the Western Suburbs of Sydney up to sunshine and beaches, but the thing is, every time my life becomes easy, I find a way to make it hard again.

What the hell am I doing?

I would have left my friends, left a city which is City-ish enough for Joe's tastes and Country-ish enough for my tastes. I would have potentially left behind the greatest job I've ever had. I would have left these things not for an adventure, not for a learning experience, but for a prison made of no money and no time.

I'd still like to own a house someday, for sure. I still want to have kids someday. Joe wants those things too. But these days most people don't settle down 'til they're in their thirties. I would have sacrificed a lot just to be able to say I "got ahead" five years earlier than everyone else.

The time is right, but it's not right for us... I nearly made a huge mistake.

Other people gently tried to tell me this - my mum, Joe's mum, my friend Matt (who memorably said, "Don't retire from life!") but it was Joe who really got my attention. He's good at that. He is untethered where I'm driven and we've both wondered in the past if that's a problem - being on opposite ends of a perceived scale - but so far we seem to have grown from it. His mother says we're good for each other. I speed him up a little, he slows me down a bit. He's the THC to my caffeine.

So yeah. Not buying a house, not this time. I'm holding onto the block of land, gradually paying it off, and keeping it there as a nice fat asset for when we ARE ready. We're staying put with Richard as long as he'll have us, because we couldn't ask for a better place to be - a nice house with a great flatmate, a cat-friendly setting, and cheap rent. The best part of all this? Aside from the land, I paid off all my debts to prepare for the move. Basically I can just relax and have some fun with my money. For the first time in my life I have too much rather than too little.

Joe's paying off a laptop and a camera at the moment; when he's done with that, we're going to save together and buy a van so we can nick off on driving holidays whenever we feel like it. North Queensland is something I'm interested in - the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree - and Joe wants to visit Melbourne, where his sisters and cousins live, and I want to visit Darwin again because it was pretty damn awesome for the few hours I got to spend in it earlier this year.

And then there's the volcanoes of Vanuatu, only a cheap Virgin Blue flight away...

And then there's America, and the three-dozen of you who offered me crash space on your couches, all across the length and breadth of the country. And Amy, and my godson.

And Canada, where I would like to live for a while. I hear it's like Australia, only with blizzards instead of droughts.

That's just the beginning. Egypt, Africa. Europe. My mother's tiny hometown in Germany and paying aibo a visit to return the visit he paid us! Climbing mountains. Ballooning. Skydiving again? Backpacking. Trekking. Rollercoasters that make the ones in Australia look like kiddie rides. Exotic animals. Tailor-made clothes in Thailand. Skinny-dipping in the middle of nowhere. Getting completely lost in a country where we don't speak the language. Laughing about it over drinks the next day.

The other day I bought a Nintendo DS. It wasn't even a stretch. Then I bought a game, then I bought this mad-crazy-awesome super memory card thing that can fit tons of downloaded games, and it STILL wasn't a stretch. And I thought to myself, "I could get used to this..."