It's been over a week. I'm in Adelaide, all the furniture I own is in Adelaide, which means I once again live in Adelaide. As if I couldn't tell, with all the red ribbon on trees, affordable CBD parking, cloudy ice-cubes and closed supermarkets in the evenings.
Honestly, I'm not sure exactly how I feel about my return to the place I grew up. Not to confuse this with uncertainty about why we moved back, the rationality and outcomes of which I'm completely happy with. An adjustment period is going to exist regardless of satisfaction, and rumination about this period will always occur in such situations for people like me.
Returning to Adelaide has not felt like a return "home". It feels nothing like that first bowl of Weet Bix and milk after a month-long overseas trip. This is not Adelaide's fault, or Sydney's fault, or a fault at all really. In my set of circumstances the experience of moving and living and working in another state has redefined the way I think about the word "home". Three years ago Adelaide felt like home because when I was in its geographical area I felt safe, sheltered and competent. Essentially by being in Adelaide the first 60% of the Maslow Needs Hierarchy was taken care of for me by default. I knew that if I was ever sick, wet, cold, lonely, unemployed or hungry I could solve any of those problems with proven steps that I had confidence would work. In the rest of the world, beyond Adelaide, I had no such guarantee. This is deeply significant to people's psychology. I theorised, obviously, that I would be capable of renting a house, buying groceries and finding a hairdresser in other places on the Earth but it was unproven and I think that's why Adelaide felt like "home".
Moving to Sydney, re-registering my car, changing jobs, driving on toll roads and getting same-day CT scans for free - these things shifted my perception. Now there was a new place where I was fortunate enough to make esteem my primary goal in life. Did this make Sydney feel like "home", replacing Adelaide? Absolutely not. Sydney never felt like "home". What this experience did do was train me that I could make anywhere home. I had the mental and physical skills to relocate to any city and survive. "Home" was no longer Adelaide. "Home" was wherever I chose it to be, assuming that the population spoke English and the culture was western and I had some form of internet connection at most times.
I have been asked a few times now what it feels like to be "home." This has caused me to cultivate these thoughts. As I said, moving back to Adelaide doesn't feel like returning home. Moving back to Adelaide has felt like moving from the living room of my house to the dining room of my house. The world had become my home.
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If you met yourself from the future, what would you ask your future self?
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