Finally, a big decision is made

Ever since Steve and I got together, over 12 years ago now, when they find out Steve is an actor, one of their first responses is always “so when are you moving to Melbourne?”. As soon as they find out that we have no plans to move to Melbourne they seem to lose interest, and I think they stop taking him seriously.

We’ve never really had a good response as to why we have stayed in Adelaide. Just some wishy washy nonsense about this is where our lives are, our family, my job, that sort of thing.

Last week Steve asked me if I could move to London or New York, which one would I choose. This small, hypothetical question triggered an hour or more of daydreaming and internet searches about the cost of renting in London and average salaries. It also made me realise I’m ready to leave Adelaide.

I’ve always used family as my main excuse why I can’t leave, but I know now that it really is just an excuse. Yes, I play an important support role in Mum’s life, that if I left would need to be picked up by my siblings. I’ve fallen into that role by default, mostly because only I’ve had the patience to deal with her. I no longer find this a compelling enough reason to put my own life on hold.

The other reason we haven’t done it before is work. The last three years at my current employer is the first time I’ve ever had a job that I’ve progressed in, and a job that I haven’t constantly thought of leaving. I’ve never before felt stable enough in a job that it couldn’t be gone tomorrow. If we’re moving interstate then I need a job over there that will pay well enough to cover living expenses, as well as a job that’s stable enough to not leave me unemployed all of a sudden.

I can’t really take my current job with me, but I now know that I am capable of holding down a full time job, I am capable of doing more than the minimum, to earn promotions and I have transferable skills that will help me find higher paying work.

My own mental stability is the real reason I’m ready for this move now. The depression that used to keep me in bed all day is gone. Now, I recognise when the negative thinking starts creeping back in, and I can do things to stop it. Before, I lived day by day. Just make it through today, and I’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. I couldn’t make plans for the future, because I couldn’t see a future. Now I want to build a future.

Steve feels a little bit like it’s too late for him, but he’s on board. He’s 42, he thinks his acting career is over, but there’s a part of him still wants to try the Melbourne theatre scene.

There’s a lot of work to do before we can move. Firstly, I need to establish my ‘career’ a bit more. I can’t leave now, with barely any experience at team leader level. I need to bulk up my resume with higher level work so that when I look for a job in Melbourne, it’s not at entry level, it’s something that pays well. Secondly, we need to get our finances in a better position. We still have a lot of credit card debt and no savings. I want to have little to no debt and a few months of living expenses in savings before we move.

It’s not going to happen soon, we’re looking at one to two years time, but we have a plan for the future. This is the first time I’ve ever had a long term goal. It feels strange and I’m already having doubts.