So as is probably known by now, I’m now residing and (normally) working in Australia (pronounced “‘straya”). I’m not sure about some people, but when I thought about the process of moving over, I thought, “she’ll be ‘right!” After all, I’d moved cities, from Hawkes Bay to Wellington, before, how hard could it be?
Disclaimer: I also had moments of dread, sadness, joy, annoyance and other things leading up to the move, but my normal “she’ll be ‘right” attitude stayed strong.
As it turns out, (the proverbial) she was ‘right, and here I am, in Australia, in an apartment (ooh, isn’t that fancy!), living and working. Well, perhaps not working right now… But that’s another story entirely!
As it actually turns out, moving countries is disruptive. As you may have seen, I’ve not written in a while, I stopped dancing for a while, and my local social circle has diminished… considerably. I also opted to bring over “bugger all” (technical term) when I moved over, so there was a massive cost to getting started here again. I’m very lucky to have had a job to come into the country to work for, and also to have a place and some friends to move over into the company of.
Test of character
The move itself isn’t really that big a deal. I get on a plane, I get off a plane, I sleep on a couch for 3 weeks… no problem. What is a big deal is all the people I’ve left behind. It’s all the opportunities I might have left behind - even the opportunities coming up that I don’t know about. I’ve got a whole new city to learn, a new currency to get used to (albeit one that’s closer to the US dollar…), new job market, and new modes of transport to utilise. These things (and more) can make life stressful.
Luckily for me, I have friends here, and am slowly gaining more. I have my best friend here… albeit in another state, and I have some family here too… also in (yet) another state. I even had a job to arrive into the country to. As far as things go, I was pretty safe upon arrival.
I moved here to be with my girlfriend (and apparently the flatmate comes with, kind of a “package deal”), so we support each other. She and her best friend (the aforementioned flatmate) moved over here before me, and had to deal with all of the above, except without the safety net of friends and family. This was a true test of their character, and thankfully they’ve both pulled through, however nutty they’ve become over the time.
There are somethings that do just become difficult to do in a new place. It is hard to go meet new people. It is hard to go dance in a new place, even decide what style of dance you want to do (What’s that? First World Problems? SHUT UP.) It can be hard to find places for meetups, for your job, for going grocery shopping… You have to explore new areas, find places that you like, or that generally aren’t dicks and provide good service/quality.
Conversely, it is easy to go rock the floor of a club that is so obviously not used to good dancers.
And thus, I come back to my original natter about habits. Keeping habits. Breaking habits (DONE). Building habits. Building habits quickly. This is all, honestly, on-going, and needs further testing. I have some thoughts about habit building, and I’d like to think they’ll help in future, but at this stage it’s all trial and error.
It seems to me that good, healthy, mindful habits should be built out of needs, not wants. We all probably know (quite well, in fact) that bad habits tend to be borne of laziness (or substance abuse… perhaps we’ll call it mindlessness, but I shall ignore that here): sitting on the couch in front of TV, eating food on said couch, letting the cleaning get away on you, letting your body get fat on you… etc.
Complex habits are hard to keep, Simple habits are, logically, simpler or easier to keep. It’s easier to get in the habit of blobbing on the couch after work because, well, there’s not much to it. It’s also simple to order takeaways, because you don’t have to cook for yourself. On the flipside, it’s really hard to get into a habit of exercising in the morning (“Just 10 more minutes in bed…”), or going out to dance lessons (“We could just move the table and dance in the kitchen”). This is where you must either be willful or addicted to choose the good habits over the bad. Or, you can break down the habit, and slowly form a complex habit by building it up slowly, bit by bit, day by day or week by week.
I know that I will move away again in the future, and I want to be able to build good habits in new places, quickly. Perhaps I will need to build habits for exploration, finding new dance places, or just getting my bearings.