Melbourne:*Shrugging Man Emoji*

Hello you.

Things are going pretty well in Melbourne. It is sunny most of the time and I have my lovely circle of friends and we hang out several nights a week, and Jeanne arrived on Saturday from a two week stint touring the east coast with her friends. I have money for rent and food and booze and I even bought myself a second-hand games console last week with my first proper freelance paycheck – the first purchase I’ve made in around two years that wasn’t food or a flight. I’ve only been in this city for around six weeks, and everything is set up nicely.

I’ve changed since I came travelling. I can barely remember who I was at the start of this year. How did I talk to my friends? Was I cocky? Sincere? Goofy? Shy? It’s all a bit of a haze now. I miss mates in Berlin and the UK and I think of them often, but in some instances I can’t even remember what we used to talk about. Obviously no two relationships are the same, and we are a slightly different variant of our personalities around every person we know. I am a different person with my mum than I am with my dad, I am a different person with my best friend than with a girlfriend, and so on.

However sad it may be, that’s how you grow apart from old friends. That’s how you get over a girl. That’s why homesickness fades away. It isn’t that you forget what your home looked like or the funny memories with your old friends; you can recall all of that stuff perfectly. Over time, however, you forget who you were in those days. Your current personality wouldn’t have acted like you did in that memory. You’d have said something different, you wouldn’t have made that mistake, you’d have been stronger, or you wouldn’t have taken things so seriously. The inner workings of my mind have changed so much this year that there’s a strange sense of perversion as I gaze back on my own memories. Who was that guy? Did I really say that?

All those things that used to plague me and keep me up at night – man, I just don’t care anymore. Maybe I’ve forgiven myself, maybe I’ve gained wisdom, or maybe I’ve just killed so many fucking brain cells by now that my IQ has dropped a good 15 points – whatever it is, my mind feels quiet. I carry no guilt anymore. I haven’t cried in five months.

I’ve made peace with the fact that I’ll never have a normal life. It’s been more than two years abroad now, and if you add all trips together it’s two and a half. I feel grounded and safe and sure of myself. I feel excited, I feel like I can carve out whatever life I want on this earth – and my farm work has aided me in the wondrous revelation that I can switch careers whenever I want.

I’m a writer and I will always be a writer whether I’m carrying wheelbarrows of manure or teaching guitar or pitching to board rooms or washing dishes – I’ve done them all – any new work and lifestyle is a story to tell. It’s all part of aiding me on the road to becoming an author. And that realisation has freed me. I could do this forever.

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