I’m packing my room to move to my second Melbourne Sharehouse. Gradually emptying my bookshelf, sticking big A4 things into a calico bag, I come upon an A4 envelope from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition’s Meet Your Member Finale, July 2011. The consequence of open slather of Kris Kringle style good vibes, it contains lovely notes and letters from other Finale attendees. I pause in my tidying and read. As the Into The Wild soundtrack plays, I read notes scribbled on scraps of paper, loving, half-formed messages.
At the time of the Finale, I had just got my first job with the AYCC, in Melbourne, and was making plans to relocate my life there. This situation is played out in the jottings. SA volunteers I had acted alongside wish me well and – touchingly – note how I’ve inspired and motivated them. Victoria’s staff write in anticipation of the times we’ll spend together.
The weirdest thing about the past is how we perceived it when it was the future. July last year I blew in to Melbourne town with no idea what was in store. In one fell swoop I achieved adulthood: I moved out of home and got a job. I also, for extra points, moved interstate. In hindsight, I can see many things I would have done differently. In particular, I read over the notes and think of their authors – what happened to them? What happened to us?
Today was a good day. I had my last exam for the semester, made some media calls for the Madlands book tour, roasted some vegetables, including some awkward parsnips that I really didn’t know what to do with. At 5pm I visited my new house for the second time, dibsed an ergonomic chair, and exchanged pleasantries with a future housemate.
Soon I was at the Curtin nearby for “Melbourne Social Change Drinks“, a monthly shoulder-bumper for social changers, non-profit kind of people. It was a good time. I caught up with some of my Oaktree acquaintances from the Live Below the Line days. I learnt more about the AYCC’s planning around Repower Port Augusta. I met new people, interesting people, and we exchanged ideas.
I rode home in the rain and sang Tangled Up In Blue to myself although, to be honest, I couldn’t remember many of the words. The same obstacle prevented me from even starting on Your Song. Then I was home. It was a good day.
Viktor Frankl is quoted in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as saying,
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life…. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as it is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
This is beautiful. And, as I pack up my room, pack up my life, and listen to Eddie Vedder, and put, piece by piece, my life in Melbourne into boxes, I think about it. Next Friday I begin with the AYCC as ‘Grassroots Campaigner’. By the subsequent Monday I’ll be settling in a new house, creating home anew. In the near future I’ll be doing some work with the Groupwork Institue of Australia, working on online marketing for an Institute whose culture I cherish and mission I advocate. Come July, I’m popping home for Ruth’s 55th birthday.
The weirdest thing about the past is how we perceived it when it was the future. The weirdest thing about the present is wondering how we’ll perceive the immediate future when it is past.
Almost 11 months in Melbourne. Perhaps I haven’t yet discovered my mission in life. But I’m closer, I’m getting there, day by day. This feels right.