Transition and Tomato Sauce

On the weekend, I went to a barbeque picnic in Pyrmont, down by the water. I used to work in Pyrmont, so being back there, like so many other things at the moment, was a weird little nostalgia trip. That I’d had very little sleep the night before (and perhaps over-imbibed) probably did very little to keep me feeling in any way down to earth. I was in a very vague mood. Not-quite-managing-to-finish-sentences vague.

We put sausages on the barbeque, and sat in the sun to eat them. I drenched mine in tomato sauce, as is my wont. And ever since then I’ve been craving tomato sauce. In fact, as I write this, there’s a tomato sauce bottle sitting next to me because I had it on my lunch. I’m trying to work out how to also have it with dinner.

While I love tomato sauce — it’s one of those tastes of childhood for me — I don’t have it or want to have it very often. That I should be craving it now is strange. I mean, on one level it makes sense. I have two weeks left of work in Sydney and then a great big, exciting, terrifying unknown to look forward to in Melbourne. It does stand to reason that I would be craving something that is familiar (and sugary). But really? Tomato sauce? Usually chocolate is my comfort food. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m an absolute chocolate fiend. That chocolate should be replaced by tomato sauce is definitely unusual.

The closer the Big Move gets, the stranger I feel. The New Lightness is becoming more like The New Oddness. Every morning I wake and spend a few minutes trying to remember what day it is, and where I am, exactly. It surprises me each time I turn up to teach a class and students arrive, as if I think maybe I’ve got the day wrong. Everything familiar seems slightly off-kilter, or weirdly out of context.

This will be my third interstate move in the nine years since I left home (the fifth, if you include the to-and-from Canberra in between Melbourne and Sydney last time). But each of those times I’ve made the decision to go, and then left within a month or so. This time I’ve had quite a long time leading up to the move. I hope that all this pre-move oddness is going to mean less of the post-move oddness I’ve come across previously.

For now, I’m trying just to go with it. It’s not entirely unpleasant, and it’s certainly interesting to watch. But it’s very weird.

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Spring, Change, and The New Lightness

There are two phrases that are getting a work out in my house right now.

“Should we?… Ah, fuck it. Let’s just do it.” My housemate and I say this to each other every other day. Something about knowing we’re about to leave the shiny city has made us each more likely to make decisions we might otherwise be hesitant to.

Which brings me to the second phrase.

“It’s The New Lightness,” we say when wondering at our sudden tendency to spontaneously head over to Newtown late on a Sunday night when we both have to work the following day, or to buy that thing we’ve been putting off getting for so long because we’ve been saving up to move interstate.

Everything right now feels like it’s in an odd state of flux. Routine? What is that? Everything feels both heavier with meaning and like it doesn’t really matter at all.

Knowing that we’re leaving soon tinges each yoga class I teach here with a little sadness. Many of my classes are made up of regular students, many of whom I’ve been teaching for a couple of years. I’ve got to know these people, and, on occasion, supported them in small ways through some challenging things, on and off the yoga mat. They in turn have supported me as I’ve built up my yoga teaching work, and learned more and more about how to teach. I’m immensely sad to leave them. Yesterday, a student who will be away from now until after I leave gave me a little farewell present. When I got home I opened it and read the thank you note she’d included and cried.

And, of course, I’ve started having last brunches, breakfasts, coffees, lunches, dinners with friends here in Sydney. I can’t even… Well, I can’t even write anymore about that yet. Let’s call it avoidance. I think that’s acceptable at this point.

On top of that, I will miss this place. Oh yes, pretty Sydney, I will miss you.

But simultaneously, I’m hugely excited to be moving to Melbourne, and about all the adventures that might await me there. There are so many possibilities.

And so the heavy sadness about leaving is balanced out by what our household has dubbed The New Lightness. Suddenly, even while we’re still here, the world seems more open, full of possibility. With limited time left here, I’m spending as much time soaking up the spring air (oh, the jasmine, the jasmine!) as I possibly can. Taking my research reading to the park instead of sitting in an office chair, giving myself time on the weekends to just sit and stare wistfully at the sky, or out across the water.

The other day I came across a photo of some Tibetan monks making a sand mandala, and thought, ‘Yes, of course’. The monks spend hours and hours making these very detailed artworks, all the while knowing they will just blow them away once they’re done. It’s an exercise in mindfulness and impermanence. The New Lightness.