So I moved again. Anyone who has known me for a while knows I move often. I am starting to think I may be some sort of weird nomadic vagrant, since this is the 10th house since 2007, and the 25th home overall. I doubt I’m done just yet either, although I love where we are right now. That’s it there – in the picture. What’s not to love?
The more you do something, the less stressful it is – and this is certainly true of my moving habit. It’s hard to relate to the idea that moving is the 3rd most stressful thing you’ll ever do, when you’ve done it so many times. I find the constant presence of wet towels on the floor in the bathroom significantly more stressful to be honest.
But something I’ve learnt from moving is that it sorts the men out from the boys – figuratively speaking – when it comes to friendships. They say that some friends are for a reason and others for a season, and if you equate season in this context with the period during which I might inhabit a particular house, then you will understand when I say that some friends disappear when you are no longer conveniently around the corner.
I’ve had friends for whom a 20 minute drive has proven too far for them, and others who can identify certain geographical points as being the limit to their friendship – the cattle grids, the Spit Bridge, the ‘other side’ (of the harbour). And I have now done the unthinkable, and not just gone to the Dark Side (so not the same side of the harbour as the Northern Beaches) but actually moved away from the Eastern Suburbs, into an area and a suburb that generally none of my friends have heard of.
Personally, I’ve never minded travelling to see people. Even as a child, moving from place to place with my parents (it’s genetic thing you see), I maintained friendships into adulthood with people I’d moved away from geographically – but not emotionally – decades beforehand. My mum would put me on a train at weekends and school holidays to travel back to wherever we had lived before so I could stay with my friends, before returning in the same manner in time for school on Monday. And this was many years before mobile phones and social media kept us connected. The thing is that if someone is important enough to you, the distance won’t matter. And most of the time, you are not talking about enormous distances, but more about convenience.
So when you move, you get to discover which of your friendships were those of convenience. It can be disappointing to discover that for some people you’ve fallen into the ‘too hard’ basket, but it does mean that you get your real, quality friendships reaffirmed.
My closest friends in the UK stood by me when my marriage ended, and continue to provide me with love and support across the water. Some of them visit, and I’m a welcome guest in their homes whenever I’m home. My closest childhood friend and I maintained our friendship from opposite ends of the country until her death when we were both in our mid thirties – with children the ages we had been when we first met. And her husband and I have remained very close friends ever since, speaking at least weekly – latterly from different hemispheres – and this year we will celebrate Christmas together in the sun, overlooking my rather lovely jetty.
And with this move, I’ve been really touched by the enthusiasm with which my closest friends have greeted my latest venture into the unknown, some of them even inspired to purchase boats to make good use of my waterfront from time to time.
I know that for me, the people I love and care about are always within reach, no matter where I go. And seriously – it’s 26 mins from Central on the train, and I’m happy to pick you up from the station.