“Sydney is hard to love. If it were a person he or she would have no stomach and heart and would eat and drink too much. I see Sydney the way I always saw it from the very first day I arrived in 1968. Sydney is a derelict man, addicted to booze and clutching a bottle of cheap grog wrapped up in a brown paper bag, camped out in Hyde Park; blighted and victimised, having lived a long time without a moral compass.” This is what my dad wrote to me in an email recently, in response to my latest whinge about Sydney. I like the analogy.
My dad’s family first came as ten pound poms in 1959 and then again in 1970 (he arrived about 18 months before them, long story for another post). It’s interesting to me that he says he saw Sydney the same way all those years ago, as I have a perhaps somewhat idealised view of this city and what it was like in the 70s, which I believe was its heyday. So perhaps I should just realise that Sydney has always been the way it is. I guess it comes down to how it began, as a colony, a penal colony at that, and mixing pot of criminals and unfortunates and misfits. No one built Sydney because it was a fantastic place to start a fantastic city; no one planned it and dreamed it and made it beautiful. It was never anyone’s utopia.
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Sydney just doesn’t do it for me. But I’ve ranted and raved enough; am I ever going to shut the hell up and focus on where I want to be? It occurs to me that I waste a lot of energy thinking about the bad rather than looking for the good. In my life, that is. As part of the email conversation that the quote above came from, my dad said that I should think about what really makes me happy and go for that. But what does really make me happy? I don’t think I know.
What I do know is that Sydney is not where I need to be, ever. It’s not where my son needs to grow up, and it’s not where my husband belongs either, I know this to be true one hundred per cent. He argues that, yes, we don’t like Sydney that much, but can we be certain we’d love somewhere else? What if we moved to Melbourne and within a year I realised I hated it and wanted to move on again. It’s true, there is no guarantee that won’t happen, that’s a risk. But isn’t that what life is about, taking a chance, a risk, to get something better than what you’ve got? What’s the alternative? Continue to exist superficially in this mud hole of mediocrity? Sell ourselves short for the rest of our lives? We only have one (even though I do believe in reincarnation).
We’ve gotta get out of this place. And please, universe, don’t let it be the last thing we ever do.
As it stands, it looks like we might be moving south west, but it’s not set in stone yet. They have virtually offered us the place but there’s something about it that’s not sitting right with me or with husband. We are considering our options over the weekend, as we’ve got to leave where we are because it’s too small. We realise living near the beach is actually pretty fantastic, and maybe we want to keep doing that rather than moving to suburbia. We’re going to pay through the nose anyway, so why not?
I’ll leave you with one of my favourites from the awesome Jethro Tull. Makes me think of my dad’s Sydney analogy.