On being happy where I am for the time being.


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I just realised I’ve been back in Canberra for six months.

And it is quite strange to suddenly realise it, because I barely noticed the time passing.

I haven’t stayed anywhere for longer than six months since I was last living in Canberra, and the year I spent here last time was largely filled with angst about where to escape to once I had my masters degree done and dusted. A constant rippling of resentment for having to make that decision to leave America (which no doubt now was the right one) and a dull acceptance of my fate–I was here to get that piece of paper I’d already sunk too much cash into, that I’d already made a bad decision on, so I better just charge through it. Early mornings, empty pockets, antisocial academic pursuits and rising damp on the walls. I had chipped my shoulder in the fall back to earth and Canberra was the scapegoat. Though it did get better towards the end of the year, last time it wasn’t a choice to be here in Canberra and that was always hanging over my every decision.

This time it was a choice, to leave the high rises of Jakarta, to leave what I thought I wanted last time when I was here counting away the months. And it makes a big difference.

So 2012 meant another couple of steps along the path of learning the difference between having blind ambition and having considered ambition and a few more things figured out on that list of likes and don’t likes, wants and don’t wants.

I’m still a very ambitious person. But I better understand that ambition isn’t chasing titles, things that just sound good on paper or sound like good things. It’s about looking for actual good things, surrounding yourself with people who can help you make good, learning as much as you can, working hard, trying to figure out the best ways that you can contribute, and then other good things will come in time as well.

My 10 year high school reunion is next month. The high school geek girl within me would want to go back to seek a passive aggressive revenge against schoolyard labels, with some high flying job, some obviously prestigious title. Or to send apologies because I was working in some far flung place on some Obviously Very Important Sounding Thing.

But I’m happy to go to the reunion next month happy in what I’m doing and what I’ve done and happy in myself, even if others don’t get it. I hope others have found some contentment too in the 10 years since we all wandered out into the real world like lost lambs.

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