Oh wow. Today’s The Day people.
Today is the day we jet off from Adelaide to Sydney, then Sydney to Dallas (second-longest flight in the world) and finally through to Oklahoma… Arriving on Monday 6th June, which is the same day we’ve left and thus becoming time travellers to the past, which goes some very small way to fulfilling my deep and abiding desire to be a companion on Dr Who.
I’d like to say that it’s all sunk in now and it actually feels like we’re moving overseas for the next few years, but it still just seems like one of those concepts that’s kind of too hard to process. We’ve been pretty busy ever since we found out that we’d be moving (only back in mid-April, so it’s been a quick turn around!) with a plethora of different and varied things, including work, uni for us both (handed my final poetry portfolio in today!), my discharge from the Army and preparation for everything to do with moving overseas… Including the painful dramas of getting my visa turned around at short notice. Add in some travelling, some goodbyes, some new creative ideas (novels, poetry and short stories everywhere, and a plan for a biography) and it hasn’t left much space for my brain to wrap around this new life we’re setting off on.
Not just the one we’re setting off on together either, but also the new life that I’m embarking on by leaving the Australian Army to transition to full-time study and writing and eventually a career – in writing or publishing and editing, or something! The world is so full of possibilities. But in and of itself, this is a challenge.
For so long, my identity has been tied to the Army. I left school having just turned 17, torn between the idea of pursuing fine arts/English or a career in science/medicine, like both my parents – but for the last seven years, I’ve been in the Army. Like I’m sure many of us do, my identity has been significantly defined by my career; it has shaped my friends, my interests (for a long period of time, I didn’t paint, write, or create at all, because I was so invested in military pursuits), where I lived and how I’ve viewed the world – and that is a very hard thing to let go of. It is like an unmooring into unknown oceans.
I have been proud of what I’ve done, even though that can be a difficult thing to acknowledge, especially publicly, and I’ve had some incredible opportunities. I’ve lived in four different states and five different cities, visited every state in Australia, lived and trained in America for four months, deployed to Afghanistan, done some great jobs (and some horrible ones) and met/worked with some amazing people (and some complete jerk bags – but hey, you win some, you lose some). I have also met my best friend and the love of my life, which makes all of the bad things seem worthwhile. But a lot of people that I know or have met in a professional sense would have had little to no idea that I write and paint, that I’m a decent singer and can play piano, that I used to play the flute – and would like to again – and that I’m a poet.
I have been so defined by the military for so long that it will be hard to explain to people what precisely I am without including that in the description – on the plus side, I know for sure that I am a writer. Not a published author (yet), but definitely a writer, and a million other things too, just like everyone else in the world. It’s not good for us to fit ourselves into one little box and ignore the opportunity to be fascinating, crazy, multi-faceted humans doing a whole lot of weird, different and maybe seemingly-unrelated activities, especially if those things challenge us and allow us to grow… and if they fulfil us, even if at times, choosing to diversify and not to conform to a social stereotype can feel very difficult and really lonely.
So, on that note, I am excited about what lies ahead. I will really miss my family and undoubtedly will miss Australia but I have so many ideas and so many plans – for rehabbing my back injury, for getting into training again, for having a million and one adventures while we’re in America, for poems and short stories and some novels and throwing myself into full-time uni and writing/blogging and just everything. I’m travelling to another country – in business class! – with my best friend in the world to have the biggest adventure we’ve had so far, and I’m pretty sure that’s what life is really about.
See you on the other side everyone!