A happy and a hopeful end to 2019

Today I visited the birth, death and marriages office in central Sydney, where Josh and I registered our relationship almost exactly three years ago in order to officially terminate our partnership. It was a sad experience; the end of an era and a line drawn in the sand during the turbulent months. Signing a form and paying a fee mean something. the officiality of everything that made it all the more difficult; Although the split took place a while ago, this is the last curtain on me and Josh’s time together. Although there was no particular urgency that caused me to resolve it now, it just felt right to end the year; and to enter a new, a new decade and a new chapter, with a fresh start, a clean slate, and a fresh start to the year that was.

2019 was a year that tested me more than ever, and it also taught me about myself, my determination and resilience, and my continued love for Australia. It taught me what makes me happy; what not and how important it is to surround myself with people and places that I love. It taught me about gratitude and appreciation, it further demonstrated my ability to be born into the family I can call my own; It has given me a debt to my parents and sisters and circle of friends who have never questioned my decision to live in Sydney. 2019 taught me a lot about happiness, privileges, birthright, and entitlement that I’m lucky enough to be born with. I’ve learned that on the other side of humiliation and shame and heartbreak and hopelessness, there is bravery, boldness, and tenacity. And so, despite the many things I would not have wished for this year, I am still grateful for all of them. I’m grateful for the things I’ve done that I sometimes regret and for all the many things I would have done differently because without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

At the beginning of the year, I would never have imagined in my wildest nightmares that in 2019, without Josh, without my de facto visa, or with a permanent residence in Australia, I would end up further away than ever before. If someone had told me I was going to enter my 34th year single and college, I would have trembled with shame and embarrassment. But I am here and I am all of the above and I am happier than ever.

When my three-year student visa was granted and I was allowed to return to the country against the legal requirements, I made a promise to myself that in the event of a hangover, hell or flood, I would watch as many sunrises as possible while I was still living on this side of the world. And as winter slowly fell into spring, as spring merged with the onset of summer, and my alarm kept getting earlier, my eyes became more cloudy and more reliant on the morning caffeine fixation I need to ease it to the ocean . But as the sun starts to smear across the sky, leaving rays of light and streaks of pink, lilac and apricot, every day I see them I say a silent prayer of thanks that I am in this place that I have so longed for long after making my home forever. I hope I have many more sunrises ahead of me.

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