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Man in a pond, man in a pond... - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
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..."
21 have fought ~ fight the power!
(Deleted comment)
tania From: tania Date: January 9th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Eh, I had my unenviable moments. Like when I started working at Liquid, I moved into a bedsit illegally run by a crazy Russian woman. The bed was filled with bedbugs and I came to work looking like I had the bubonic plague until I emptied two cans of Mortein into the room and sat in the hall for two hours waiting for it to settle.

Or the place in Sydney where the hot water only ran for 60 seconds each morning.

Or the three, four months in late 2007 when I cried at least once a day, every day, and ruined a number of friendships out of sheer pathetic desperation.

Or the mess that was the first year (at least!) of my relationship with Joe. Someone with more self-esteem would have recognised that the time was wrong and walked away, and I probably should have, but you live and learn, and it panned out in the end... after a LOT of blood, sweat and tears from everyone involved. Relationships are hard work.

Or the long periods of unemployment that accompanied the first couple of years after I dropped out of QCA.

Or the way caffeine makes me forget vital words, like the name of the university I attended, or the name of the suburb I'm currently living in (I honest-to-god forgot both of those things for easily ten seconds each this morning).

Or my ongoing insecurities that complicate my relationship and friendships.

Goodness, I could go on! I've found happiness springs more from attitude than circumstance.
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: January 9th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC) (Link)
This one a long time have I watched. Never her mind on where she was. Hmm? What she was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh! Excitement. Heh! A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!

When you last contemplated touring the U.S., I was in Salt Lake and said I'd probably be in Vegas. I am in Vegas now, and I still have a futon available for you.
tania From: tania Date: January 9th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Good thing I'm not a Jedi! I think the point here is that too often my mind is on where I want to be, rather than where I am and what I am doing. For too long I ignored the good things about my life and freedoms as they stand now in favour of fantasizing about owning a home. If I'm not careful, I'll remain so fixed on what is not rather than what is that I'll miss out on experiencing my entire life.

Hmm, Vegas!Futon is an offer I feel I cannot refuse. ;) No set date for US tour but it will happen. :)
alby_lion From: alby_lion Date: January 9th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I could've sworn that quote was 'A long time have I watched this one, as he looked to the future, peh! The horizon, heh! Never his mind on where he was...' But the Internet has proven me wrong, yet again. ;) There's a philosophical theory that unhappiness is bred from desire, so the question is 'Do you have everything you want? Or do you want more than you've got?'

No rush on the US tour, of course. Just know I've got a great view of the Strip, lightsabers, and my futon is extra-comfy and at your beckon call.
singingnettle From: singingnettle Date: January 9th, 2009 02:46 am (UTC) (Link)
You are a wise person.
tania From: tania Date: January 9th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd say my partner gets the points for this one - he pointed out the flaws in my previous decision. He wasn't the first but he was the most direct, and he was absolutely right.
singingnettle From: singingnettle Date: January 9th, 2009 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
You still get points for listening. :-)
scoutlostthewar From: scoutlostthewar Date: January 9th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC) (Link)
First of all, I agree with most of this post. There will be heaps of good times in the future to buy a house and it will work out for you.

That being said, Pedantic Viv would like to enquire about whether or not Camp Hill and Wooloowin count as 'outer' suburbs?
tania From: tania Date: January 9th, 2009 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Well spotted, Pedantic Viv! I designated the suburbs as 'inner' or 'outer' pretty much arbitrarily based on whether a sane person would attempt to walk to the City from them or not. Basically I'm just making shit up again. :D
hammond From: hammond Date: January 9th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, and Kenmore is surely west amirite?
tania From: tania Date: January 9th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha, my spatial deficiencies do not allow me to answer that with any confidence. South-west dammit! I blame it on my vagina.
radam From: radam Date: January 9th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

P.S. I like regular cute cats.

Edited at 2009-01-09 12:09 pm (UTC)
tania From: tania Date: January 11th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
As opposed to irregular ugly ones?

Oh yeah, just for your comment, I'm going to light a cigar with a ten-dollar bill in front of you when next we meet. ;)
tania From: tania Date: January 11th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, what is Australian money made of? Plastic? My quest for vengeance isn't quite at the suicidal stage just yet!
c_eagle From: c_eagle Date: January 9th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
*noddle*... maybe after ya finish (or get a little further) paying off the property, ah? then it might be great!
sigmoidal_suseq From: sigmoidal_suseq Date: January 11th, 2009 09:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Spell outer right, damnit! You should know better.

Kenmore is West to those not in the know and SW to those of us who would bleed for it. Seriously.

On that note I am back and will happily pop over for some girl to girl time anytime when you're free because it's like 2 mins away. My mob is +44 7511 098163 but don't call it because it's craploads expensive.
tania From: tania Date: January 11th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Didn't get this 'til now, no proper internets at home.

I always get 'outer' wrong (except just then, obviously). It's one of a set of about five words which I inexplicably struggle with every time. Before you ask, I can't remember what five words those are - if I did, I'd probably be able to stop misspelling them. ;)

Girl tiem eh? Well, aside from the obvious Tuesday-night cookathon, I will be paid after Wednesday so we should find somewhere good to go for coffee and catchups. Know any good places in Kenmore that are actually open at night??
sigmoidal_suseq From: sigmoidal_suseq Date: January 11th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

I'm sure we can drive around and if all else fails there's always the ever classy McCafe (okay, I am kidding).

I think there's a tapas / cafe around the corner although it may have closed because I'm not a local anymore!!!!!

On another note I am increasing disappointed with Brisbane TV, especially morning TV and yes, DS is awesome. What colour is your's? Our's is red - maybe they could be friends?
tania From: tania Date: January 12th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I wanted a red, but made the mistake of looking post-Christmas when the locusts had been through - in the couple of places that had some left, all they had was blue and pink and I didn't want to wait, so I bought blue. I also bought a purple cover for it which is pretty awesome. Rosa says it looks girly, but I say it's FEMININE, dammit!

I would like them to be friends! I have no idea how that works at the moment. ^_^ What games to you have? So far I've got Animal Crossing (on loan, it's Hammond's), Professor Layton, Viva Pinata, and Phoenix Wright (gay men and breasts! My kinda game).

I've also ordered one of those CycloDS cards and a microSD card, onto which I'll be able to download-and-store about a zillion other games. ^_^ I want to download that new '100 classic books' thing. Mmmmm, books.
daisherai From: daisherai Date: January 12th, 2009 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)
If you do plan on doing Canada, I highly, HIGHLY recommend Montreal http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/
It's one of the older, and more interesting places in the country, if you don't mind the Canadianized(tm) French!
stonelizard From: stonelizard Date: January 12th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC) (Link)
Life has a way of telling you when it is the correct time to do things. We went to America thinking it was time. Ok, America sucked eggs for us, but then it lead us to Brisbane and I think that was the best thing in the world. I have been with Rich for nearly ten years (argh) and only now are we thinking it is time to settle and buy a house - but we are happy with other aspects, our relationship is strong, we both have happy and stable jobs (Ok... Rich's not so stable right now but we have options there) and we love Brisbane. There are so many things you need to know before you can take those steps - especially if you want to explore the world:) - whee!
You guys are still young too - ok, you are the same age as me :P but your other half is young too and that makes a difference. Rich is 34 (although mentally this varies between age 4 and age 104) this year so is more ready to settle down. There is never any rush for these things! Do it when it feels right and hey - you have land!!! that is just fabulous and a great nest egg for the future.

21 have fought ~ fight the power!