On Monday evening, I sat on the verandah of our new place and looked out over the nature reserve bordering the Merri creek. The birds were going crazy as the forest darkened. I felt like I was 30 kilometres away from the city centre instead of eight. Later, as I wandered to the fence and looked back to the lit house in which my wife and our good friend was drinking champagne, I knew that I’d found it. I’d found our home. It’s a strange feeling to realise that, barring sudden rezoning and rampant destruction, this house is likely going to be the place that I retire to and hopefully much much later die in. Given average life expectancy, that’s over forty years.

The last owner of the house, who had also built it, lived in it for over fifty years and survived two husbands. Her nephew sold the place to us. She had become too frail and had moved to an aged-care facility. But she’d spent most of her life in her home, now ours.

The certainty of home can only be an illusion. My trajectory over the last 30 years has been that of abrupt changes and reversals with brief periods of peace in between. But illusion or not, I’ve never felt this certainty before. Back then, I could not have predicted where I was going to be in a year’s time. More importantly, I did not want to. I lived focussed only on the next four to six months. The future beyond that inevitably felt grim. Slowly over the last two years, this has changed.

40 years is a long time. There is no rational way of predicting what could happen in that time and where I would be in the middle and the end of it. But for the first time, I can feel those years ahead not as a burden but as a hope. For the first time, I can feel the future brightening.

One thought on “Settling

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