I never thought I’d get here.
I guess for some people that’s a rhetorical thing. That they always understand on some basic level that they’re going to eventually get to 30, barring some horrendous accident or creeping chronic unpleasantness that stops the heart more abruptly than it should be stopped. But me, I grew up with a creeping chronic unpleasantness inside my own head, and when I was younger it tried to kill me. A lot.
So I never really thought I’d get here, in the temporal sense. I certainly didn’t think I’d be here in the spatial sense: about as far from where I started as it’s possible to be on the earth, having an autumn birthday where the cockatoos live. It still surprises me most mornings, even after almost a year – not the fact of Australia itself, but how far it is from home, and yet how many people here have welcomed me with open arms. I’ve made games and art here with very good friends who, a year ago, I didn’t know. Friends who are going to be part of the rest of my life.
Our life. I would not be here without Grant, my husband, and his unending support and love. We tend not to be too soppy in public. But there it is: without him I would be somewhere, and someone, else.
And there is work, too. The Guardian’s Australian office changes every time I turn around, at the moment (literally – while I was on holiday someone took out half the offices and replaced them with more desks, to cope with the new folks we’re hiring). It’s busy, and stressful, and often puts me a long way outside my comfort zone. But it remains consistently the best place I’ve worked, and the most fun I’ve had at a job. I am impossibly lucky to have a job I enjoy, work that’s challenging and rewarding, and such good friends and family to share these things with. I am impossibly lucky to be here, and to be 30, despite thinking that would never happen.
Despite the heartache, the hours and the homesickness it has been, I think, the best year of my life. I have worked very hard to get here. Here’s to many more, and to believing that I’ll get there too.