Why leaving Melbourne can be one of the best decisions in your life

OUR recent discussion piece on leaving Melbourne has caused quite a stir. Here’s a response written by Jan Lin, on why she has moved on with no regrets. 


This story in Meld Magazine, is funny romantic in the way I can hear my then-21-year-old self articulating something to the beat of that . It was a nice smiley-giggle blast from the past until towards the end, a couple of lines evoked an old thought that I had very much forgotten:

A friend who left Melbourne a couple of years ago told me recently the first few months back home are the worst. He found himself longing for Melbourne, missing his laid-back, carefree student life and struggling to get used to the frantic, fast-paced life in Asia. Not only did he leave the relaxed lifestyle and attitudes of Melbourne, he left it for frenetic Singapore and the working world, the latter of which is a huge adjustment in itself. But as with all things, time has a way of making everything okay. Eventually, having been “swallowed up by the hustle and bustle” (comforting…) he readjusted to life back home, looking back on his time in Melbourne appreciatively.

I remember feeling a sense of longing when I returned to Melbourne in 2008 following a gap year in Europe. I attribute that longing to the extremity of leaving a place you’ve grown so familiar with for an absolutely foreign land. It was my first trip to Europe, and on different timezones.

But I’ve not felt that sense of longing and looking back since.

Melbourne has lost its magic on me not because I’m not appreciative of what it was, but all the more because of how much it has meant to me. I realised I couldn’t allow Melbourne to be the best that once was. It has to be where the best days began and are still yet to come.

Melbourne had done what it needed to do for me at a time it needed. Melbourne wasn’t so much about having “stumbled” into the World’s Most Livable City as it was about growing up. And growing up, being better than yesterday, has no end.

It’d do the Melburnian in me an injustice if any of my readjustments were to be relegated to being swallowed up by time that ticks to hustling-and-bustling.

Because whether you are 21 or 31, it’s about realising the potential was built in Melbourne, the momentum is gained in leaving, and the release has a fragrance that the world needs you to carry and for you to be you.”

There is such a sinking sorrow about that, and I hope no one has to readjust by Time. I hope stories of “readjustment” are filled with choice and courage to step out, to reshape culture and traditions.

To stay true.

Perhaps our reluctance to leave Melbourne goes deeper than the attraction of the laid-back and carefree Australian lifestyle. For many, it represents a time of discovering what it is to come alive inside,  and the fear that we will no longer be able to stay true to who we have become, or worse, regressing to who we once were.

What Melbourne has made of us, is what we need to guard and advance wherever we go. Autopilot is over.

Because whether you are 21 or 31, it’s about realising the potential was built in Melbourne, the momentum is gained in leaving, and the release has a fragrance that the world needs you to carry and for you to be you.

This is an excerpt taken from a reflection written in response to Samantha Toh’s article If you think leaving home was hard, leaving Melbourne might be harderYou can read Jan Lin’s original post on her website.

Post Your Thoughts