That terrifying feeling of contentment!

4th Course: Cheese Course

Image by ulterior epicure via Flickr

I realised something on the weekend that caught me by surprise. I was dusting, sweeping, cleaning – generally catching up with some cleaning…something I really have neglected lately as I’ve been so incredibly busy…when I experienced a moment of contentment. Oh – I had also raked leaves earlier that day, and the day before my partner and I had gone shopping for a dish washer (our first ever!).

But I digress. My moment of surprise came when, as I was cleaning, I thought to myself ‘I think my party days are over.’ And…I was fine with that thought…Woah.

It’s a huge moment for someone who has been known by many to be a ‘party girl’. From my mid-teenage years, I loved a drink, I loved to dance, and I loved to have a good time. That continued on and off (more often on than off) into my early 30’s. The last few years I’ve struggled with the whole buying a house and settling down thing, and have had a few moments of letting loose. When anyone mentioned the word ‘contentment’ to me I was one to scoff in their faces. ‘Content – pah!’ But today, at 33 and a half, I suddenly feel content not to hit the town to dance myself silly and write myself off, only to spend four days recovering.

No – over the last few weeks – especially – I have found myself enjoying such pleasures as whiling away hours in Ikea, putting up blinds with my man, airing out the house, and sitting on the back patio drinking a glass of wine whilst my dog plays with her new toy.

I know it’s partly an age thing, and it’s also partly to do with my new mentality. You could say that I’m ‘maturing’ like a fine wine or a good cheese?


The Passion for Travel vs ‘Settling Down’

I love to travel. It always has been my number one passion.
I was encouraged to travel early on by my Granddad, who bless his soul, brought me up on tales of his travels during the war, his immigration from England to Australia via ship with the family, and he’s numerous tours around Australia with Nan, their dog and the occasional  crocodile. On the other hand there was my Nan and Mum, who constantly told me that we had ‘gypsy’ blood in us, and that was why we could never rest, always looking for the next place to move to. By the time I was 24 I had lived in over 18 houses and quite a few towns. In a way, I had become addicted to the constant moving, half the time not bothering to unpack all the boxes in anticipation of the next move. I moved houses, then suburbs, and then travelled overseas, even living and working in the UK. Soon, every time I came ‘home’ to Australia and remained in one spot, I became miserable. That’s when I had to plan my next adventure. Singapore. Back to Europe. Hawaii. Sydney. Vanuatu. There was no rest.  I’d work, save up all my leave, then take time off and travel. Then come back and work, save up my leave, and take time off and travel. I was a restless spirit.
And then last year I bought a house – shock horror! I think it was one of the most stressful things I had ever done. I had anxiety attacks and sleepless nights. What was I doing? I loved renting. I loved moving. I wanted to live anywhere but here. I wanted to live overseas! I wanted to be a travelling nomad. My dream of being a travel writer was dead and buried under a pile of bricks and mortar and debt. Buying a house, committing to a mortgage – I would never be free again!

Obviously, I really blew things out of proportion as it has not been all that bad. I actually love having my own place. The palm trees and Japanese garden in the back yard might help by giving me a feeling that I am somewhere else.There are no more rent inspections. I don’t have to put up with constant rent rises or being told I can’t allow my dog inside the house (seriously – she’s cleaner than some humans!). I can paint the walls any colour under the sun, or ‘fantasy renovate’ (my term for planning amazing renovations with no money i.e. a fantasy that may never happen – one can dream!).  And funnily enough, I’ve never felt more rested and at peace (or, as some people would say – ‘settled’).
And the bonus is, I’ve still been able to travel. I went back to the UK and Singapore last year, and am busy dreaming up my next adventures (Melbourne being one of them – I should really see more of my own country!). I don’t know what I was worried about!