Thursday, August 04, 2011

How I Pictured It: The Setting

In recent days I've been thinking a lot about what I imagined my life would like when I was a tween - you know when teen angst was just setting in - to how it's turned out now.  Like most people, I had a picture what I thought I was going to turn out like, where I was going to live, what I was going to be doing, who I was going to be in love with (John Cusack) and how that relationship would unfold.

And to be clear, it isn't that I had some calendar with dates marked for when stuff would be accomplished or how I'd feel at what age, but there are certainly some things that I pictured that certainly aren't my reality and now.  Some are clear choices I made a long the way.  Decisions had to be made and I chose one thing over another for whatever reason and that doesn't mean that they're wrong choices or right ones, but they have certainly led the way to different.  I thought maybe I'd take some time to reflect on those childhood aspirations and projections.

Growing up if anyone asked me where I was going to live when I was an adult I only had one answer -- I was going to kick my parents out of our house and live there.  Clearly.  I could never imagine "home" being somewhere else besides that house on a hill in New England. What would waking up look like if I didn't have this view:

I mean seriously.

My mom brings up these stories of my explaining to family members how I would kick them out and live in our house a lot now.  She shakes her head sadly and wonders where things went wrong, how instead of never leaving home, I ended up, literally, on the opposite side of the world.  In some ways it's easy to chronicle how I came to live in Australia. It was a three part move

1.  I hated college so much that I really needed to escape it.

2. I've always been obsessed with Australia - kind of inexplicably.

3. Once I did a semester abroad in Australia, and was so happy, I had to come back.

In other ways, it still boggles the mind that when I open my door I walk outside into Melbourne. Where my August birthday is a winter event and my view isn't various shades of green but a suburban street. To say this isn't how I pictured it is the biggest understatement.  I think it goes without saying that I wouldn't have it any other way.

When I picture the future though, things haven't changed all that much. In fact that when I think about moving back to the US (which I do often and Inspector Climate and I talk about a lot too), there is only one place I can ever imagine living.  Home.

Are you where you pictured you'd be?


  1. Seriously D (can I call you D? I feel like I know you) - my heart lies near the Mediterranean. As a kid, I wanted to move to Italy. Then as a teen it was New York or Boston. For years now it's been Spain. I've decided that the coastal laid-back lifestyle is for me! Now to get there *sigh*

    PS. That pic of New England is seriously beautiful :)

  2. Really interesting post. I'm actually (finally) finishing grad school and face with that exact problem - where to live....unfortunately I have to make my choice based on where I can find a job....I don't really care where I live. Haha I know I don't want to be in the States tho :P maybe Europe

    Thanks for stopping byu my blog <3Tasia

  3. Thanks for dropping by my blog. ♥

    I kinda know what you mean. I live in Sydney now, but home to me would always be my terrace house in Singapore where I can hear my parents bustling about downstairs.

    I hope you find your way home in the future. :)

    The Cat Hag
    Join My Giveaway

  4. As a kid from Alabama I didn't like the heat and humidity. I think I did dream of the British Isles and moody, gray weather. I ended up in the north of France with moody, gray weather. Good for my Scotch-Irish skin but not so much for my depressive tendencies. I think if I went back to the US and didn't live near my family in AL I'd choose Virginia (lovely hills and a bit cooler). Wow, I envy your view in New England!

  5. When I was a kid I wanted to live in two places: Paris and / or New York. I thought I was going to be a famous artist /writer / marine biologist with shit loads of money coming out of my ears (I hoped for Soho not Morningside in my childhood dreams).

    I think I am secretly pissed off that I'm not rich yet. Whenever I pick a neighborhood I choose one that outclasses me so that I have "something to shoot for" - i.e. that ENORMOUS shady mansion on the corner.

    But mostly I never really thought about a "home" so much as "who I would be" and I know I am seriously let down in that aspect. I thought I would BE SOMEBODY by now, instead I am an overpaid secretary still scribbling out dreams. I'm not unhappy though. So I guess it's all relative?

  6. I grew up dreaming of leaving the small town I grew up in and living in a big city like Boston or New York. I didn't make it quite that far but ended up in Detroit. We lived in the city for a few years, and while the convenience to work was great, Detroit is not a walkable city, and if I ever went shopping I found myself in the suburbs, not in the city. So the suburbs is where I ended up. And the funny thing now is I am so sick of people I can't wait until the day when my husband and I can buy a little cabin in the woods and get away from traffic, neighbors, and suburbia. I hate suburbia.

  7. Lovely post! My biggest dream is definitely to leave my country and live abroad for a couple of years. I haven't still accomplish that, but I hope I will. Never know where the future will lead us!
    Thank you so much for dropping by my blog. I'm now following you.

  8. woah, i never thought about it, but i did picture myself living in LA when i was young. i used to assume that i would be acting or singing {performing in some way} by my early 20's. but by the end of high school i had totally forgotten that dream. i was distracted by the practicalities of life and stayed in my tiny town of TN to go to college. here i am though, in my late 20's, living in LA and performing! that's pretty crazy. i can't imagine myself living in any one place for too long, although i doubt i'll move away from the pacific rim. i love CA with all my heart {it's my true home} and i could also see myself living in australia {where dannon's family is}, or southeast asia.

  9. This was a fascinating post! I may have to steal the inspiration. I am so not where I thought I would be at ALL. I thought I'd be living in England, married, with a house and a kid and a car... when you put it like that, it's hard not to feel a bit of an epic failure lol. Maybe I'll rethink stealing the idea after all :)

  10. Not even close. I thought I'd be childless and in the city. Instead I'm a stay at home mom way out in the boondocks. Weird.

  11. Love this post

    I am a million miles from where I thought I would be, in so many different ways, but I try to find a way to be grateful for where I am and what I have.

    that is all

  12. That's a beautiful view! No wonder you wanted to live there...

    As a kid, I never wanted to live in my parent's town when I got older. I thought it was too small and there was nothing fun to do. Now, I would give anything to go back.

    My dream was maybe to live in the mountains (Rockies, that is) somewhere near a beautiful lake in a house with lots of pets and no kids. Well, I WILL be moving to the mountains (Alps, not Rockies) into an apartment with a couple of pets and no kids. Not too bad I guess. And besides, life is all about compromise.

  13. Hey !
    I always dreamed about living in the US ( I live in Brazil) and having my on home and stuff.
    I think it's so funny that you wanted to kick your folks out of your house :)
    It's nice to hear that you're a vegetarian too !

  14. i love this post. There was a time where I pictured myself in New York City, single, struggling, but crazily happy. Turns out I'm married, have a baby and live in a house on a hill in La Jolla. I'm still crazily happy though

  15. I don't think I ever had a clear picture of who I'd be...which is odd, maybe.

    Although, currently, I have dreams of dropping everything and opening up an alcoholic bakery / yarn shop. Which is a bit too far-fetched...

  16. You know, I never gave it too much thought....and maybe that is why I am in the same state (Virginia and happiness) where I grew up! ;)

    Very thought-provoking post!

    Thanks so much for coming by Twinfatuation today!

  17. Such a great post, I just graduated college and I'm about to start graduate school and I'm thinking a lot about what I wanted when I was little and where I'm going.

  18. Thank you for your comment on my blog! And I'm not quite where I thought I'd be...but nevertheless my life is awesome, although I sure wish I could move to somewhere like australia! But I'm very happy, and I know I can do anything I want in my life if I work hard.
    You're awesome!

  19. Boy oh boy can I relate to this! I am totally the opposite of where I thought I would end up...namely I still live in the same town I was born in. But just like you I wouldn't have it any other way.

    You are seriously awesome, you have done so much and are so brave! Where are you going for you holiday by the way?

  20. i'm trying to remember where i thought i would be.
    i guess i always thought i would be travelling a lot but i think i always assumed sydney would be home.

    at the moment, that's exactly the case but i wouldn't mind living abroad again at some stage.

  21. I'm still deciding where I'm going to be, but things definitely arent what I thought!

  22. I never knew that was how you ended up in Australia. That's pretty neat if you ask me! When we are little we think we know what we want, but life always has a way of going its own way. I always thought I would go to college at NYU in Manhattan and live in NY for the rest of my life, but then when I was deciding where to go to college, that wasn't what I wanted at all. I hope you do get to move back to the US and live in that house one day. The view looks incredible!!

  23. lovely post.
    do you know what, im not where i pictured id be at all but thats a good thing. because- when i was 16 i had health problems meaning i couldnt complete my drama exam and i thought my drama dreams would be over forever. i didnt do my a levels in drama, but i got in to do a university course that was english lit and drama. i majored in the drama part, and now im about to start a masters degree in applied theatre at a good drama school that ive been dreaming about for years. so in many ways that part of my life has totally come true <3 xx

  24. I most certainly am not where I pictured I would be! Verdict is still out on whether that's a good thing or not...

  25. I most certainly am not where I pictured I would be! Verdict is still out on whether that's a good thing or not...

  26. I never really thought about where I would be.

  27. Hm. I keep saying I want to move out of the Midwest in the US. I hate winter more than I can say and it's pretty much winter here 9 months out of the year. Ugh.

  28. i am not anywhere near where i imagined myself to be at this age, but i guess that's life, right? i still daydream about where i want to be in the next couple of years though -- hopefully those daydreams come true. ;)

    <3, Mimi

  29. I have no idea where I pictured myself...but I love the way you wrote this. and John Cusack? that is gooooold! :)


  30. I thought more about what would be going on inside where ever I ended up, like; would I have a family or be on my own? I was prepared for either.

  31. I love this post. I thought I'd be living in Paris, doing unspeakably cool things. Or hooked up with a travelling musician. What can I say, I was a bit of a daydreamer! That's not to say I'm not happy with how things have turned out - I'm really happy how things have gone in the last few years, even if it did take me most of college and my early adult life to figure it all out! x

  32. I was just saying the other day that I wish I would have written down my dreams as a teenager. Would have loved to see what I said. Great post!

  33. Azra - Yes, please call me D. Spain seems beautiful!

    Tiny Dancer - Yes, it can be really hard making the choice. I hope Europe is in your future!

    Cat Hag - Exactly. Although Australia feels a lot like home to me now too. Just different.

    Mil - Virginia does seem like the best of both worlds - not too harsh a winter but not too hot! Yes, it's beautiful in NE.

    Ev Rev - The next set in this for me is the "what I would be doing" post. Happy is a wonderful thing. And you're certainly somebody in the realm of expat bloggers :)

    Meredith Duck - I am not a fan of suburbia either (in Melbourne where I live it's basically in the city). I dream of farms and big gardens myself.

    Joanne - Thanks for following! Living abroad is amazing and I hope you can make it happen for yourself.

    Kimbirdy - I am so pleased that you've found your true home! That is so so so so so-oh important!

    Emily Jane - Hah, Aw, I hope you do steal it. But break it down into where you thought you'd be, who you thought you'd be and who you thought you'd be with :)

    Amelia - It is funny how it all turns out isn't it! I love the boondocks :)

    PBJdreamer - I guess that's the point isn't it? Different isn't always's just different.

    Crystal - It's amazing isn't it? I miss it so much. Yes, life is about compromoise...Who knows that house in the rockies might still be there in ten years! When you and Max are ready.

    Kimberly - Hello fellow vegetarian! Why the US if I could ask?

    Iris - I LOVE it. What's better than eating and knitting (and drinking if you're into that)!

    Cheryl - Really? Interesting. Well, I think maybe if I could live in my parents house, and get a job there - I'd be happy too :)

    Katie - Yes, I definitely think it's time of change that bring all this up where we thought we'd be and where we are now.

    Chelsey - That's exactly right! There are lifetimes ahead of us to move around the world and make things happen.

    The Many Colours of Happiness - Aw thank you! I'm going to Vanuatu in November and the US in December.

    SJ - Aw, that sounds awesome. Traveling but always having a place to come back to :)

    Savannah - luckily you have time to figure it out :) Just like we all do.

    Teacher Girl - I am sure I'll get back to the US sometime. But I am in no hurry and Australia will always be home.

    Eleanor - good for you for making your drama dreams come true, that is so great!

    Alex - It's interesting how in most ways were not where thought we'd be, but kind of where we need to be.

    The Blonde Duck - Huh, interesting.

    Krysten - Yeah, it is totally hard to have such intense winters with such little reprieve. I hope you find a place that better suits you.

    Mimi - I think it's important to have dreams, even if they don't exactly come true, having something to work to is so important.

    Chelsea - THANK YOU. I love John Cusack. he rocked the 80s teen flick.

    Twisted Susan - Yes, that's a very good point. I did that too. Wait for it in the next post!

    Red Boots - it takes so long to figure out what is the right fit for us doesn't it! Yay for problem solving and making mistakes :)

    Classy Career Girl - Yeah, it's a pretty interesting exercise. Luckily most of my dreams as a teenage extended well into my college years, so I have a good memory of them.

  34. Thanks for your lovely comment! I love this insightful post. That's so cool that you moved to Australia and that you're still so happy here. It's always interesting looking back to what you thought your life would be like, it's hardly ever the same, but fantastic nonetheless. x

  35. What a beautiful post this is. It's funny how we never really imagine the course our lives will take but one day everything just seems to fit together. It sounds as though you knew early on that Australia would be your forever home and that's a wonderful thing--how unfortunate that some have to constantly wander around aimlessly, never knowing what fits perfectly.

    I'm a girl who loves/appreciates the seasons. I am from New York originally and have always loved it here (though I have moved to various parts of hte state and now live in NJ), there is a part of me that would perhaps like to experience life on the opposite coast. Maybe one day :)

  36. It's crazy how everyone ends up where they do!

  37. What a totally fabulous post!

    Did I ever tell you that we saw Jon Cusack at the Hotel Faena in Buenos Aires where Andi got married? He was there on like three separate occasions while we were there. Weird.

    Anyways, I am actually close to where I thought I'd end up. I studied here when I was younger and from then on I always said, "I bet I'll marry a Chilean and live in Chile when I grow up." And now I am! So geographically speaking, yes. However, career way! I still can't believe this is my "job".

  38. how wonderful you are living in a place so magical to your soul. and i love the john cusack dream. so cute.

  39. I honestly don't know if I saw any sort of future because I never thought I'd get older. Hah. I definitely never saw myself going to grad school, although I did always see myself traveling or living abroad. I'd like to move abroad again in a year or so to an undetermined location...possibly Argentina or Germany.

  40. aelie - Yes exactly! I think a lot of times we consider different to be bad, but sometimes it's just different!

    Charlotte - I do miss seasons in Australia there are basically only two in Melbourne Hot and kind of Autumnal.

    Crazy Shenanigans - I know!

    Kyle - Um, no you did not. And I hope you gave him my number. Le sigh. Love John.

    Follow your own way - Thank you! John Cusack is just foxy.

    Sara - HAHAHA I loved this comment. Who needs to get older?

  41. I love the idea of kicking everyone out of the house. Well, maybe I don't love it, but it made me smile. I'm starting collge in two weeks, and I have no idea where I will end up, I just don't think it is very likely that I stay in Germany, where I have lived for most of my life so far. My college is in the Netherlands, and who know where I will go for grad school and then after that...

  42. I am an only child and grew up around most of my cousins - so they are like my brothers and sisters. I used to think that I'd purchase a house for all of us to live in. So that didn't happen, but thankfully we are all still close and see each other often. As for a number of other thoughts...I never got there either. What I was blessed with was a crazy monster...I meant kid. He's definitely the life of my party.

    Great post (I landed here via somewhere else - can't remember...blame it on the kid.)

  43. I could never have pictured living in Australia for a year when I was younger...not even in college. I wasn't even interested in travel until AFTER I graduated. I thought I'd be married with 2 kids by now. Instead I'm single, no kids, and dreaming of becoming location independent so I can work remotely and travel more often. The "responsible" (American dream) me of years ago could never have pictured any of this.

    Really good post girl.

  44. Is my life how I pictured it? Honestly, I'm not even sure how I used to picture my life, what I thought I would be and doing when I got older. I certainly don't think I could have imagined and thought up the life I'm living now, so my life probably isn't what I pictured it to be. It's much, much better. :)

  45. I know that as a kid I had to get the heck out of that small town and go live in the big city. The big city to me was New York or Houston. Hey I live in Texas.
    I ended up living in Dallas for 12 years and now live just outside in the suburbs. I guess my dreams came true.