It’s been a while since I did a personal update post and a lot has been changing in my life so I thought it would be a good time to touch base with you and share what’s been going on.
My partner, David, and I celebrated our two-and-a-half year anniversary this month. We met online and have spent the last couple of years dating long distance. I feel like long distance relationships have a bit of a bad reputation. Yes, it’s very hard to date someone that doesn’t live close to you. It takes a lot of planning and trust and communication and compromise. But I also think long distance relationships are great. They give you a chance to maintain your own space and life while still getting to know someone special. Long distance forces you to get very good at communication and it makes you truly appreciate the time you have with your significant other. The past two and a half years with David have been awesome. We’ve grown so close and he makes me incredibly happy. I finally feel like I’ve met someone that I really connect with, someone who gets me and shares the same values. And we always have tremendous fun when we’re together.
Although I enjoy long distance relationships, ultimately I don’t think they’re sustainable long term. Eventually, you have to close that gap. And this year David and I decided that we were ready to do that. We talked a lot about who would move to be closer to whom, and it didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to be the one to relocate.
It’s been six years since I left Melbourne to return to my hometown of Benalla. Those six years were both awesome and tough on a soul-destroying level. Within two years of moving home, my ten-year relationship ended, my Nana passed away and I lost my job. I was grateful that all this happened while I was at home and close to my family. I worked hard and rebuilt myself, creating a life that suited me so much better than the one I had before. I enjoyed living on my own, I loved my little flat and I was very happy in my full-time job. But I was ready for a new challenge.
David lives in Ballarat, a beautiful city in Victoria. It’s about three hours away from Benalla. I’d never visited Ballarat before I met David, and at the same time I was falling in love with him, I began to fall in love with this city. I’ve described Ballarat before as “a city with a small-town feel”. It’s a moderately sized city with several suburbs. It has a rich history and there are a lot of historical buildings and elements woven into the city. The fact that it’s so sprawling, that there are so many areas of natural beauty and lots of old buildings makes it easy to forget that Ballarat is a city. I adore that beautiful juxtaposition of having all the amenities of a city, while feeling relaxed and at home. It wasn’t hard for me to decide that I wanted to live in Ballarat.
I had made up my mind that I’d start looking for a flat here in July, with a view to leaving Benalla when my lease ran out in August. I found the perfect flat just two weeks after beginning my search, and my application was accepted within hours of submission. After signing that lease I felt my plan crystallise, knowing that it was official, that I really would be leaving Benalla behind and moving away from home again.
Moving was exciting but also tremendously hard. I quit my full time job and I was very sad to leave my office behind. I’d been very happy in that role and I learned so much in the years I worked there. I met some incredible people in that office and it was bittersweet to tell them that I was leaving. I had to move away from a flat that felt like mine, the place where I’d remade myself and where I’d spent some of my happiest days. And most difficult of all, I had to leave my parents, who I’d gotten used to being only a few minutes away from. Moving away from them has been the hardest thing to get used to.
The move went amazingly smoothly and I now feel pretty settled in my new flat. It’s much smaller than the place I lived before. I’ve gone from a generous two-bedroom flat with a massive backyard to a modest one-bedroom flat with no outdoor area to speak of. I’d been concerned that I’d feel cramped but this place actually feels like the perfect size for me. I realised that I almost never entered my spare room, that it was mostly used to store rubbish I wasn’t using. I have been trying to embrace a more minimalistic lifestyle lately, so downsizing my home felt like a good step. I also abhor yard work, so not having a massive garden to tend to has been a huge relief.
Of course, moving has meant getting to spend a lot more time with David. And that is the best part of all. It’s been challenging transitioning from a long-distance relationship to a more traditional relationship, but I’ve felt awesome being able to share more with him and move forward in our relationship. This is a huge step, but it’s one that needed to be made and it was definitely the right thing to do. He makes me so happy and it’s been such a treat to see him so often and share more of my life with him.
I’m still settling in and exploring my new city. I’ve been going on lots of expeditions, looking for new op-shops, restaurants and hangouts. I’m still looking for a job and I’m hoping to go back to school at some time in the near future. But there’s plenty of time for all that and things are unfolding at the perfect pace. I feel proud of myself for making this difficult leap, and excited to see what the future holds now that the move is done and dusted.