I’m Finally Ready to Let You Go

April 15, 2014

in life changes, moving home, new york city, pregnancy

The other day, I was in full nesting mode and decided to clean out a desk full of clutter to organize things for the baby’s arrival.

I started digging through paperwork, wedding cards, scattered checkbooks and bank ledgers. When I hit the bottom drawer, I found under a collection of VHS tapes and undeveloped rolls of film the giant goodbye card from my job in Australia. I’d forgotten I’d kept it.

When I left my job back in May, I didn’t really leave it. I left the physical office, but I’ve continued, to this day, to work for them remotely. It was an uncommon arrangement in my company, especially to have someone working all the way from the States. But due to the nature in which Brendan and I were leaving the country, my manager invited me to stay on in a contractual capacity.

Keeping my Australian job allowed me to keep one foot in my old country. As I tried to acclimate to life back in America, part of me was happy to still have a tie to Oz. I still felt like I was partially there despite being so far away, even as correspondence with my Sydney friends began to trickle, the initial buzz of our departure slowly wearing off, and I got used to ordering tall lattes instead of flat whites and saying shrimp instead of prawn.

It’s been great to work for my company for this long for several reasons. It’s given me a full two years in one role — the longest I’ve ever stayed in one position in my entire work life. I’ve gotten to continue working with people I generally like. I’ve gotten to maintain a competitive income, one likely higher than what I would have been able to command at a similar role in New York, at least initially. And I’ve learned a whole lot more that I needed to learn.

But staying at my company has also prevented me from letting go of Australia. With each page turn of the calender, I realized that I wasn’t moving on. In fact, I was getting angry and sad. I didn’t know if I liked America anymore. I didn’t even know if I liked some of my friends. Everything seemed better back in Australia — the economy, the climate, the people. New York City was gritty and dirty. Sydney was much more easy going and clean. I’d quickly forgotten that, in Sydney, I’d missed the very facets of the East Coast I was hating.

I mentioned a few weeks ago to Brendan and a close friend that I felt like a cycle was coming to an end for me — a cycle that started back in 2009 when all the things happened that turned out to be catalysts for my move to Australia. Cycles don’t always end at clear-cut points. I also believe in a grieving process for things, not just death. Leaving a country you’d come to call home is like breaking up with a long-term partner, even if it was your choice to leave.

As I opened the goodbye card from my work mates and started to read the nice, funny messages, I was finally, after nine months, hit with a sense of Β closure. I was past the denial and anger phases. It was time to move on, and I was, at last, ready. A new time is starting in my life, and I have to fully give myself over to it. No, America is not Australia, and part of me will always miss Sydney and the friends I had there. It’s a snapshot in time that can never be recaptured. But America is where I am right now, and it deserves a chance. I need to start being fully present here and stop wishing for what’s passed.

I read all the messages, tears coming about midway through, and then snapped a few photos of the card with my iPhone — just in case I need a pick-me-up on a down day. I closed the card, looked at the cover one last time and threw it away.



10 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Danielle Duffy

    Wow this got me thinking… I guess I don’t really want to let go
    of Australia, but at the same time I feel like I’m stuck… In the middle. Like I’m
    pining for an ex-boyfriend. It’s hard to move on and know how to leave something
    behind, having “1 foot in each place” just doesn’t work.
    But to close the door? I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready.

    1. Lauren Post author

      Hi Danielle — I read an article I think on Thought Catalog last year that talked about people who had lived in other countries and how they might always feel somehow caught between two places. It’s difficult, but it’s also very enriching — almost like that quote about it’s better having loved and lost than to have never loved at all (applicable both geographically and romantically in your case). Take time to think and merge what’s in your heart and head and you’ll get to a place where you feel ready to make a choice.

  2. Ian

    Hey Lauren

    I’m so glad you came to Australia. You don’t have to let go of it, it’s just a 14 hour flight πŸ™‚ Come back some time and I’m sure Sydney will always welcome you! Take care.. Ian

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks Ian πŸ™‚ We definitely hope to visit with our son in the next few years…and of course we’d never close the door on moving back. Let me know if you’re ever in NYC.

  3. Brooke

    You still have friends here in Sydney, lady πŸ˜‰ But I do understand everything you feel in this post, and it’s something I struggle with – being able to be in the moment, the place I’m in. And I’m not sure, as an expat, I’ll ever be able to do that (I didn’t get an Australian ID until 4.5 years of living here!)… or because I’m in a relationship with someone from another country. No matter where we go, we will always be stuck in between in a way.

    I’m glad that you’re in a place of closure – it’s the perfect time with Baby H soon on the way πŸ™‚

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks Brooke. It was great to see you while you were here and I hope to see you guys and other friends over there sometime soon.

  4. Amanda

    Lovely reflection, Lauren. I struggle at letting go of ‘artifacts’ from previous jobs or places I’ve lived. Some of them I’ll probably always hang onto; however, I like the idea of taking a photo of cards, etc. that I get rid of.

    I’ll keep you, Brendan, your baby and family in my thoughts as you approach tomorrow’s due date.

    1. Lauren Post author

      Amanda, I am responding to this months later but thank you so much for your words. It’s been a whirlwind few months and a wonderful next chapter,


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