When I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time with my ex-boyfriend, I was completely unprepared for the huge adjustment period. I not only moved from the Northern Beaches to the Inner West, but I also left the home I had spent my entire life in. I never realised how much I would miss the house in which I’d spent the majority of my 19 years; the creaky stairs that led down to my bedroom, the 35 second wait in the shower while the water warmed up, and the large spacious kitchen that gave me so much space to cook and dance around. Very soon after moving I realised that I am a person who forms deep (and often irrational) connections to inanimate objects. Despite the fact I had basically been living at my boyfriend’s before we moved in together, there were still all of these things about the house I grew up in that I missed. Even now, after living away for almost five years I still call Mum and Dad’s place ‘Home’.
I suppose I never realised how much space influences life. I loved my tiny apartment in the Inner West. As far as first homes go, it was near perfect and there’s very little I’d change about my time living there. More than just a place to live, that apartment was symbolic of the first of many steps towards a sense of independence I had been working towards my whole life. When I moved from that cosy little space and the life I had built there and into my new home complete with four wonderful roommates, I was absolutely terrified. Leaving my little bubble meant more than just moving all my things, the end of my first home was the end of an era in many ways. When I think about it now, I realise that the fear and anxiety were really signs that I was moving on to something big.
So often, I find myself not taking notice of the things around me, of the constants in life that provide the building-blocks of the everyday. It brings home that age-old idea, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. Certainly, with the perfect little home I’ve made for myself in the past year, this is the case. This morning, my last Wednesday morning in my home, I took each one of the stairs out of my house with a weird mix of joy and sorrow.
I think often we don’t realise how much the seemingly little things influence who we are. I look back on the three homes I’ve had in my life, my parents’ home, my apartment and my share house, and it’s almost like seeing my life laid out in a map. My young life to adolescence all neatly wrapped within the confines of my family home. My first endeavour into an adult life, an adult relationship and Sydney’s frightening housing market in my apartment. And the now, in this amazing house with even more amazing people, I’m starting to see that this is the part that’s been all about self-discovery and learning to do things because they make me happy, not just because they’re things that should be done.
It’s strange to see a place as a turning point in your life. Until now I’d thought that the things that change you and influence you were limited to experience and people. On the cusp of another great change I’m realising that life can be influenced by any matter of things, that experience is not just confined to things you’ve done, but places you’ve been too. The house I have had the pleasure of living in for almost a year has provided a home-base for me in an immense time of transition. Of course, it’s not just about the place, but the people too. My exceptionally incredible roommates are the highlight of our home, and no matter where we move it will be fun and happy and marginally insane. At the risk of sounding overly-emotional and sappy, I know that in the future when I look back on this house I will see it as a place where I began to come into myself, where I actually started to really care about who I am as a person and what I want to make of myself. I’ll see the progress that I made towards becoming someone I can be proud of.