THIS week, I realised I have been back in Goulburn for 10 years.
A decade ago, I decided to leave Canberra for good and return to my hometown of Goulburn.
I don’t know why I had this overwhelming desire to move back here then. I wanted to reconnect with my family. My parents were getting old. I wanted a simpler lifestyle. I was starting to seriously pursue my writing (plays and stories) and I felt I needed the “mental space” of a country town to do this.
I had a partner at the time who was supportive of the move, though we didn’t have kids then. I was sick of paying exorbitant Canberra rents to live in small houses with no character, especially when I knew I could possibly buy an old house with character and charm here – for the same money.
I don’t really know what it was, but I had an instinct that I wanted to return “home” and it took over. It was not a logical thing.
Aboriginal Elders I have spoken to talk about the need to “return to country” to heal the spirit. I think this is a universal thing. We are all attached to the landscape where we have grown up.
These childhood landscapes permeate out dreams. They are in our blood, part of who we are.
After 10 years in the public service in Canberra I had a ‘mid-life crisis’. My first marriage had busted up and my job felt meaningless and soul-destroying.
I found myself wandering around Civic most lunch times feeling like a ghost – like I was out of my body watching all of the other ghosts walk past me. What was I doing? Where was I going?
I was losing my mind. I knew I needed my childhood landscape back, that I needed to “change the backdrop,” that I needed to “re-connect”. I somehow “knew” that would help heal me.
So I boldly did it. I moved back. At first it was tough. I commuted to my job daily in Canberra for three months before I got a job at the Goulburn Post in September, 2002. But by that stage, I was going mad from the long hours of commuting each day.
Though I was exhausted most days, I stuck it out – but I was starting to wonder whether I had made the right decision – so landing the job at the Goulburn Post was a sign that I had made the right move.
As I walked around the city on the weekend, I realised again what a beautiful city it is. I never tired of the grandeur of the old buildings here. They really knew how to build things once. They cared about it and it shows.
I never tire of the views over the city from Verner St hill or Rocky Hill. I love the local characters in this city, even if they do “bail you up” in the street to have a yarn. The people here have real humour and warmth.
I am raising a family here now. I am making a go of it. Life gets a bit complicated at times (yes, even in a country town) but I am contributing. I am giving back. I am happy. It was the right move.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.