Sunday, 8 February 2009
Today our youngest left home to attend Uni in Brisbane.
She was up at 5.30am, and organised to the nth degree. She left with a song in her heart and her hopes and anticipation high.
She's the last of four to launch, a process that has taken about eight years in all.
Our home, which once sheltered six people, and was always full of noise, comings and goings, music, laughter, mess, argument and the accumulated detritus of young adults is now quiet, ordered and predictable.
I guess I should be grateful, but I will miss them.
Times have changed.
I left home at age thirteen to attend boarding school, and was in a job at fifteen. My dad, a product of the depression, wasn't happy when I resigned this job (a clerk in the Forestry Department) in March 1963, to become effective in December the same year.
To him it was security – to me boredom and drudgery. I left after a year and went back to school. I was able to do so, because I started school at four, and was always a year and a half younger than everyone else. Going back to school was the first (and best) real decision I ever made.
Back then, Uni was free, living was cheap, and choices were limited and life simpler as a result. Not so now. It's a tough road, as most need part time work to live, and living is not cheap. Many finish degree courses with a HECS debt rivaled only by the cost of getting into the housing market.
In that sense I don't envy them.
At least my sons didn't have to register for National Service and run the risk of being hauled halfway across the world to be shot at.
Funny thing is, I wouldn't begrudge a form of National Service, for both sexes, so long as it didn't involve compulsory military service in a war zone, unless of course the country was under direct threat.
That will never happen of course – the political risks are just too high.
For now – we're back to a situation we haven't experienced since 1983; the last time there were two of us in the house. I'm looking forward to it – but it really is bittersweet.
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