Finally with Lisa and I enjoying a three day weekend in the Hunter Valley in Australia, I have time to finally type the thoughts that have been slowly writing themselves in the idle consciousness of my mind over the last three months.
April and May were simply bad months. We finally had our stuff, and the struggles of day to day life in Sydney were replaced by the errands of normal life, mixed with 60 days of constant rain and the beginning of winter. By the end of May, it was easy to question why we had moved to Sydney. My health was the worst it had been since the year after my transplant. Lisa and I were spending our weekdays purely in work or commuting, and weekends eroded in mundane routines without any of the things we loved in our lives in Austin or new things from Sydney. Were we starving, suffering, or in danger? No. But we weren’t happy either.
A trip to San Francisco for a company event gave me enough distance from our lives in Sydney to see the problem clearly. Friends who I saw in the states could see it in my eyes that all was not well. A close friend who has known me for years said “I doubt you’ll be in Sydney in December.” The wake up call could not be snoozed, and I couldn’t return to Sydney without a plan. After all, that’s how I handle things. I plan. I boarded the plane for Sydney with a five point plan to reverse the direction that our lives in Sydney were heading.
1. Find a new place to live
Our current place is simply old and a dump. Living somewhere with light fixtures (which actually seems to be the exception in Sydney rather than the rule), and kitchen appliances that run off of something other than brontosaurus power. We like our general neighborhood, but just need a new place. We started the hunt as soon as I returned to Sydney.
2. Make my health a priority
Both mental and physical were in bad shape. Not working out enough, and while I never thought a city could be worse for my allergies than Austin, Sydney has something (doctors theorize mold and dust mites) that keeps me stuffy and congested despite the arsenal of antihistamines and steroids that I take daily. But I’m pushing myself to workout more despite having a sinus infection that has resisted three rounds of antibiotics, because otherwise I’ll lose it completely.
3. “Take back the weekend”
Every weekend we’re seeing something new in Sydney, whether that’s a nature trail, a museum, or a whole part of Sydney. We now treat every weekend in Sydney like it was one of our last.
4. Make more friends in Sydney
It’s much harder finding people you really sync with when the cultural difference is so huge, and the national past-time (getting wasted) isn’t one of your hobbies! We’re lucky that we’ve made some great friends and that’s helping a lot.
5. Make Lisa my top priority
Easy to say, truly difficult to do with work and health (and sleep) taking up huge parts of every day. We’re in this together and there’s nothing more important.
I broadcast my plan to keep myself honest, and to hold myself accountable. It’s already making a huge difference. I’m sure a lot of you will have great suggestions on how to accomplish 1-5, and it would be awesome if you kept them to yourself.