Earlier today, I visited the births, deaths and marriages office in central Sydney – the one at which Josh and I registered our relationship almost exactly three years ago – to officially dissolve our partnership. It was a sad experience; the end of an era and a line drawn in the sand under what has been a turbulent few months. There’s something about the signing of a form and the paying of a fee; the officiality of it all that made it all the harder; that even though the break up happened a while ago now, this is the final curtain call of mine and Josh’s time together. While there was no particular urgency which led me to dissolve it now, it felt only right to end the year; and to enter a new one, a new decade and a new chapter, with a fresh start, a clean slate and a new beginning from the year that was.
2019 has been a year that has tested me more than ever before, and it too has taught me about myself, about my resolve and resilience, and about my ongoing love for Australia. It has taught me what makes me happy; what doesn’t, and the importance of surrounding myself with people and with places that I love. It has taught me about gratitude and appreciation, it has further proven my fortune to have been born into the family I am blessed to call my own; it has given me an indebtedness to my parents and sisters and circle of friends who have never once questioned my decision to pursue a life in Sydney. 2019 has taught me a lot about luck, about privilege, about birthright and entitlement, all of which I am lucky enough to have been born with. I have learnt that on the other side of humiliation and shame and heartbreak and hopelessness there is bravery, boldness and tenacity. And so, despite the many things I wish hadn’t have happened this year, I am still thankful for them all. I am grateful for the things that I have done that I sometimes regret, and for all the many things I would have done differently, because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.
At the beginning of the year, I would never in my wildest nightmares have imagined I would be ending 2019 without Josh, nor without my de-facto visa in place, nor with permanent residency in Australia further away than it’s ever been before. If someone had told me that I would be entering my 34th year single, and a student, I would have shuddered with shame and embarrassment. But I am here, and I am all of the above, and I am happier than I have ever, ever been.
When my three-year student visa was granted, and I was allowed back in the country against the legal odds, I promised myself that come hangover, hell or high water, I would watch as many sunrises as I can while I’m still living on this side of the world. And as winter began its slow descent into spring, as spring melted into the start of summer, as my alarm has got progressively earlier, I have become more bleary-eyed and more reliant on the morning caffeine fix I need in order to make it down to the ocean. But as the sun begins to smudge across the sky, leaving beams of light and streaks of pink and lilac and apricot in its wake, every day I see it, I say a silent prayer of thanks that I’m in this place that I have longed for so long to make my forever home. I hope I have many many more sunrises ahead of me.
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