Catching a bird in your house
(and other things I learned moving away)
I recently wrote about how to get through some of the horribleness that results from moving to a new city. I also said that every time I’ve moved, I have been fortunate to be able to say that it’s been a good decision. If you read the article (thank-you!) you’ll have noticed I mainly concentrated on the fact that it’s tough. I was tired and gave it an unfairly bad wrap, so I thought I’d speak to why the title tells you to try packing up everything and moving somewhere new.
It’s unfair to claim that I’m a better person for the experience because most of my fatal flaws have stayed the same, but I can say that I’ve learned a few things. Mostly these lessons were learned as the result of stubborn refusal to be defeated by something as stupid as an unreachable lightbulb. All of these lessons had consequences ranging from the horrible realisation I was super unhealthy, through to having an exorbitant number of yellow rubber ducks hanging around the house. It was worth it though, everything I’ve learnt has come in handy more than once.
Networking out of necessity Being forced out of your comfort zone to make friends and fight the loneliness from living in a new city is tough. Every time I go to a new conference, or an event on my lonesome I’m reminded of the skills I develop experiencing this. I was fortunate enough to spend a week at a training conference with about 250 amazing colleagues of which, I was the only one based in Australia and knew noone. I still get nerves approaching a situation like this, sure, but once I’m there I’m far less daunted and far better at reaching out to people as myself having had the experience of making friends in a new town
Financial Responsibility (Work In Progress) I’m terrible with budgeting. I work hard and as an entitled millennial wish to enjoy what I earn with smashed avocado brunches on Sunday. However the base of what I call terrible financial responsibility has lifted from “Weet-bix are appropriate as a sole form of sustenance for a week” to “Can be paid monthly and still reliably pay rent and bills and not have to eat mi-goreng ever”. It takes a fair few of those weeks where Pub Trivia becomes a desperate endeavor to win a free steak to learn to avoid the pain.
Spending Vs. Investing Time Moving out of home and away from family, I stacked on the kilograms and generally felt pretty miserable after spending all my time on things that involved late nights, booze, video games, and pizza. I will never give up these things, but living out of home quickly forces you to learn to balance spending time enjoying myself with investments of time in developing my fitness, education, or skill building. It may be as simple as taking the time to prep meals that involve veggies for the week ahead, or only rewarding yourself with takeout after spending a day cleaning the apartment. Personal rule –45minutes of exercise before I can play my PS4 or 30 minutes before I start writing an assignment (Procrastifitness). Setting these rules helped me balance my time, but also get creative with how to fit everything in – listening to lectures on a jog, calling people I need to speak to while shopping, writing terrible articles on my iPhone waiting for elevators/conference calls.
Catching a bird with my hands Fine laugh, but this has happened to me twice. Once living on residence at ANU, and once living in a share house in Lavender Bay. The second time I had an audience and celebrated with a bottle of champagne. True story, two weeks ago I was sitting next to a guy on a plane from LA to Seattle who had to help his mum catch her parrot that was loose in the house. My technique worked for him too. Under this category, I also put all the McGyver moments like changing lightbulbs in houses with high ceilings, having batteries charged for blackouts, and what to do if you break a window. In any case you have two options. A. Get it done with persistent, likely frustrating attempts. B. Ask for help from Google or someone who won’t laugh at a bird shitting on your bed.
When to go to a doctor Adding to the lessons learnt the hard way, this might be more effectively titled ‘am I likely to go to a doctor?’. I am unlikely to go to a doctor. As a poor uni student I ended up hospitalised because I ‘wasn’t sick enough’ to justify $75 of beer money being spent on a doctor’s appointment. Twice (seriously bulk billing is really important guys). In the event you too start having a bad trip on Phenergan, there are free hotlines you can call if you are unsure whether it’s an emergency (HealthDirect Australia call 1800 022 222). Write the number down, never hesitate to use it, and call these guys before stressing out your Mum.
Paperwork As much as I try to keep everything paperless and automated, there is a lot of paperwork and bills that inevitably add up. Even if you don’t think you have anything that runs off gas, you’ll probably have a gas bill come in. I recommend finding yourself a ‘this may be important’ draw for bills to be paid and stuff you’ll likely need. Day zero, mine is filled with everything I need to renew a license (bank statement, birth certificate, utility bill, copy of lease), leave the country or contact the right people should my power or washing machine were to blow up
Stuff you need around the house (or in the pantry) No matter how many times I’ve moved, I always take for granted things that are just there. A friend of mine moved house and was left devastated when he realised he had no bottle opener for a celebratory beer. I never had that problem but I have had similar moments at 11:45pm in Kmart involving olive oil, band-aids, salt, dust pan and duct tape. Two recommendations — A charged powerbrick to charge your phone in an extended black out, and sunscreen.