Thursday, June 28, 2012

“Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.” ~Unknown

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I haven't written in a while and I make the excuse that I am just living an every day life with an urban routine that includes a part-time job, managing my leftover budget after paying rent, taking advantage of going out to experience all of Perth's offerings, and attempting to meet people to establish friendships and stories along the way. That doesn't mean that it isn't fun. It doesn't mean that it's boring. It's all part of the adventure. But, with that slowed-down version of what life has been, I have had a lot more time to reflect upon life in Australia and question what I am doing here. I've been applying to jobs in order to find new challenges. I evaluate what I accomplished in the day, in the week, that I couldn't do anywhere else in the world since I made a choice to come to the other side. I look for ways to learn, as in, my own search for "the best" spinach-ricotta pastry roll in the city. I daydream over what's next in my Australian adventure. I mull over whether or not I'm making the most of my time here. There is usually at least one part of the day when I'm walking down the street and have a moment where I smile and can't believe I am here but then the other day I woke up crying and couldn't explain why.  I was walking home one day, barefoot in Australian style, and was in love with the neighbourhood I was in. I texted Jess and said, you would love Perth, it's a lot like California. And she responded, well why don't you live in California - it's much closer. And I couldn't think of a reply except that, I like their accents better here. 

photo from amber rae

I was recently introduced to a a blog by Amber Rae who describes herself as "hell-bent on cultivating a world where human potential is not governed by what we’re told we can and cannot do, but rather by our highest intentions and inner gifts; and obsessed with unrealized potential and helping people claim the lives they are meant to live." Her blog posts and quotes rang exceptionally true to many of my recent thoughts. One post mentioned this article by Paul Graham called Cities and Ambition

And hence, from these two, come my latest and greatest blog post about my own life's brooding musings. 

Paul Graham proposes that each city sends a message which attract people who aspire to that same message:
"New York tells you, above all: you should make more money.
What I like about Boston (or rather Cambridge) is that the message there is: you should be smarter.
As much as they respect brains in Silicon Valley, the message the Valley sends is: you should be more powerful.
The message Berkeley sends is: you should live better.
The big thing in LA seems to be fame.
 In DC the message seems to be that the most important thing is who you know.
in London you can still (barely) hear the message that one should be more aristocratic."

I actually smiled when I read this article because I knew immediately how to relate it to Perth. Whenever I am asked, I always say I like Perth a lot. Why, they inquire. Because it has a lot of potential, I respond. I elaborate that I like how Perth isn't touristy - there are a lot of foreigners, but they all live here. There aren't really many touristy sites....the Bell Tower? Along with that, and the fact that it is so far away from everywhere else, makes Perth feel as though it's your own personal best kept secret; you have it to yourself to mould it into its potential. The messages that Paul Graham associate with these cities ring true as cities are merely collections of people with like-minds. To link that idea to what I'm doing in Perth therefore makes sense. Like Perth, I believe that I have a lot of potential to be, and do, something great, and Perth is currently my stepping stone along my life-path's direction. Me, and all the other foreigners who left home and came to Perth to figure it out. 

"No matter how determined you are, it's hard not to be influenced by the people around you. It's not so much that you do whatever a city expects of you, but that you get discouraged when no one around you cares about the same things you do." - Paul Graham

With it's potential, I think Perth must have some sort of interesting food scene, or at least I think it should (maybe that's why I haven't found it yet.) I feel like there's something missing that I haven't caught on to yet, but I'm constantly looking for it as I feel it is well suited for Perth (re: potential). Maybe the answer is me. Maybe I should start it rather than seek it out where it doesn't exist. If I truly believe I am capable of this so-called potential, then what am I doing about it? Paul Graham says that, as determined as you are to make a city work for you, to find your niche within it, you most likely won't find it or will have a hard time building it into the city. He wanted Cambridge, but couldn't find it in NYC. 

I don't mean to sound contradictory, saying that you can't build your own niche within a city of a determined message, while saying that I am looking for it in Perth and maybe it's up to me to create it. What (I think) I mean to say is that, Perth's potential makes me want to stay here. I have a flat here, a crappy job, I have friends. I want to have a life, and that daunting yet promising future may actually involve leaving to another city and starting all over again. Maybe it's an excuse, but it is safer, more comfortable, and easier to stay than leave.  I haven't been to the east yet, but everyone says Perth is at least 10 years behind it - probably the reason why there is so much room for its budding potential. I often feel as though I am racing against a clock in the opposite way of Perth. Instead of catching up with time, I wish I wasn't as old as I am - even though age is just a number - but wish that I had more time to do all the things I want to. I definitely don't regret any of my past choices or experiences along the way, but I just don't know how I am supposed to fit in everything else in before I am really really OLD. I'm torn therefore, between fitting everything into this ticking clock - I can't believe I've been in Australia 6 months already - and staying in this comfortable way of life I've created for myself over here, on my very own. I won't know until I am in a new place, and hear it's message for myself. Maybe it will ring true, resonating all the right answers I'm looking for, or maybe it will just be silent; creating just another step along the way. 

Paul Graham says he moved to Florence thinking that it would be the art centre of the world that he was looking for, only to find out he was 450 years too late. Maybe I'm too early for Perth. Maybe Perth's potential and my potential are waiting to coincide at the right moment. Maybe I keep traveling and living all over the world because I am looking for the resonating message who's city (or farm?) is filled with the right like-minded people who will help me aspire to my own potential's greatness. Everywhere along the way has led me here, and has helped shape not only who I am, but the world I am looking for. Because I do not know what that is exactly, I take life as series of adventures, of different stages where I'm learning and living through experiencing. Before I left for Italy, mum asked me if I were to get married right then, who would be my bridesmaids. When I returned from Italy a year later, she asked me the same question and the answer had changed. Some people come in and out of our lives for a reason. They all matter. They're all connecting pieces of the puzzle. They're all part of the process that move us forward. Who knows what's next?! I'm excited to find out. In the mean time, I will take full advantage of the ticking time to realise all of Perth's potential probably* until November, when the comfort of my flat's lease is up and the weather is better in the rest of Australia (because Australia is all sunshine, beaches, and hot surfers right?)

*...I was invited up to Darwin next week, and I am tempted to say yes, to grab the spur of the moment adventure and just go with it. Even though I cannot afford it, it would be fun. 

Thank you Reena. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012