By LUCY GREY
We are on the move. We are leaving the town we have lived in for the last three years and heading to greener pastures, oh wait, is that a euphemism for death? Because that’s not part of the plan. I am having a break-down about this and it’s fair to say my constant navel-gazing is sending my family and friends mad.
Specifically the reason they are so over me at the moment is that I have spent exactly the last three years bemoaning this very town and plotting my escape. We moved here for my husband’s job and I have played the role of disgruntled spouse to perfection.
I was born and raised in Sydney, and we moved here directly from the inner city, so the contrast was jarring to say the least. We arrived in The Bay (not Summer Bay, but we too have an enviable caravan park) with a newborn babe in arms, our meagre possessions in tow and set about settling in. For me, settling in largely consisted of ear-bashing many a poor soul who had the misfortune of sitting next to me at a dinner party about the long list of reasons Sydney is vastly superior to my adopted town, yep run a mile if you see me at a BBQ.
“There’s no decent coffee,” I moaned.
“There is literally not a shop open on a Sunday,” I cried.
“We have no friends,” I whinged.
“I miss my family,” I sighed.
And all these things have been true, particularly the last two. The most challenging part of the last three years has been learning to live without our circle of friends and family who were so much a part of our everyday life in Sydney. Do you ever go out to dinner with your partner and look at them and think, “I have exactly nothing to say to you at this moment in time”? Well expand that to your whole life and that’s been our experience, a loooot of time spent eye-balling each other over a bottle of wine.
I felt resentful that I missed out on accessing the support network that is so important in those hellish first few months of motherhood, I felt lonely and bored while my husband worked hideous hours in his new job (and probably to escape his wailing banshee of a wife), we were back in Sydney every opportunity we had.
And then one evening I was driving across the bridge that leads into our town, the sun was setting and the world was bathed in that ethereal golden glow that happens sometimes just before nightfall and it struck me what a physically beautiful place I was inhabiting. And slowly, slowly my world started to change, or more accurately, my mind started to change.
I went on long lunchtime drives through dairy country that was so psychedelically green it almost hurt your eyes. I found sweet country cafes with divine home cooked food and staff who asked your baby’s name and where you came from. I walked long, empty beaches littered with driftwood and awash with clean, salty south-coast water.
More pragmatically, I got a job and this is where the tide really turned for me. My job allowed me to become involved in a community that was welcoming and inclusive, my role was to help those in need, but it was them who helped me
And now we are leaving. Not returning to Sydney as I once thought was a forgone conclusion, but to another place and another story. And I feel bereft. I am sad to leave the town that patiently endured my derisive snobbery and slowly taught me so much about myself and my family, a town where I became a mother and grew into a woman who didn’t need skinny lattes and skinny jeans to be happy.
For this urban dweller regional Australia has added a dimension to my city-life that I never knew existed and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Lucy Grey is a mum to two lovely and naughty little girls and also a nurse. She lives on the South Coast of NSW.
Have you ever moved to a new place and felt isolated or lonely?