'I've moved 23 times in 25 years and learned one thing.'

I'm the child of serial renters.

My family would plop down in one suburb, in one city, in one state and make a life there until a year or two had gone by and then, for some reason or another, we'd pack up everything that mattered and move somewhere else

All in all, over the past 25 years, I've lived in 23 houses. Sometimes in two places at once.

Watch: Formerly homeless people share what you can give to really make a difference. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

I'm grateful I've always had somewhere warm and cosy to lay my head down at night. A place to hang up my photo frames with a full fridge and a fully stocked cupboard. My homes have always been filled with laughter. I'm one of the lucky ones, truly. 

But living in so many places, in such short succession, has been about as unsettling as one could imagine.

Nowhere really feels like home. The only place that ever did was my grandparents' house, and when they sold it, I was 16 years old and cried enough tears to wash every memory in that place away.

Now that I'm an adult (eek), I've been faced with the torture of making my own decisions, choosing where I live and deciding what becomes of my life. But I've been lucky in this aspect, too. I've gotten to live with my best friend for five years, in three different homes. We've decorated every single corner and made it a place that I felt excited to come back too at the end of the day.


Living with my friend felt like I had control of my own life.

Now, as my housemate and I close the chapter on living together, we've plunged back into the unknown. 

I'm sleeping in an empty bedroom. The art has been taken off the walls. My wardrobe is empty. I've downsized all of the beautiful things I've accumulated in five years and sold them off for a cheap buck. Everything else will either go with me or with him.

It's been thrilling to dive into the unknown but now I'm stuck with that same unsettled, terrifying feeling in the bottom of my stomach. The one I grew up with, when I was forced to pack down my childhood bedroom into a single box and start all over again.

That sick, uncomfortable pain I feel is the realisation that nothing is in my control.

The hardest part about moving isn't having to pack up my extensive book collection. It's not fixing up the chipped paint on the walls or even having to relocate to a new area and establish a new, potentially daunting routine.

These are all just symptoms of the bigger issue: that my life is in the hands of someone else. I can make as many decisions for my life as I like, but this simple fact is ever-present.

Living in Sydney my entire life, it's been impossible for my lower-earning family to own property. When they moved back to New Zealand and I made the choice to go at it alone at 18 years old, I didn't know that control over my own life would be the one thing I'd still be grappling with seven years later.


I've lived in Zetland, surrounded by bright-eyed university students and quiet families. I fell in love with how quiet the suburb was, despite being so close to the city. Then our share house split up because the rent was far too high and my best friend and I thought it might be nice to find somewhere in the city.

Now, after 12 months, we're moving again. This time, my best friend is going interstate and I'm going to try my hand at travelling — but it's not because I want to all that much. I'm doing it, in part, because I feel like I'm running out of decisions.

Sydney has been listed as one of the most liveable cities in the world but I have to ask... for whom? My friends are dealing with trying to keep a roof over their heads, and spending 55 per cent of their paycheck on doing so. Some have given up and gone back to their parents'. We're all running in a race that feels rigged.

My experience is far from unique — in fact, it's entirely relatable. Which is why I'm comfortable to admit I'm 'regressing' and moving in with family in another state to be rent-free. I'll be able to use it as a base to travel freely (hopefully). I'll still have a roof over my head, and I'll be safe.

I can't say for certain that it's the right decision or that I'll be better off in the end (I still have so many bad decisions to make after all) but now, for the first time, I feel like I have control over my own life. 

Who knows how it will end? All I know for sure is that I finally have some say over how my life unfolds.

That's the scariest (and the most exciting) part.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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