As I travel between my current home, Melbourne, and the town in which I grew up and rented my first apartment, I realise that I take everything for granted without really appreciating it. I lived in Burleigh Heads, on the Gold Coast, for most of last year. I was five minutes walk away from shimmering beaches with golden sand on one side, and on the other side a vast, clear-watered creek. The weather is almost always perfect, and the people are a different breed…bronze and incredibly fit, in a natural way. Content. Early in the morning, just as the sun has scared away the blanket of cotton-wool clouds that wrap the horizon, the people of Burleigh emerge from their nests and swarm towards the Esplanade. The women are clad with fluro Lorna Jane clothes, iPods, sleek ponytails, and tans, with the occasional three-wheeled pram. The men wear their shorts, tans and muscles. They all engage in “exercise”, although it seemed more like an effortless habit for those creatures. Contrastingly, I would have my no-brand exercise clothes, pale skin, a lack of elegance to my running style, and hair that just isn’t able to be sleek in the morning without a hair straightener and a flamboyant hairdresser to transform me.
But I persevered, no matter how daunting those flocks of tanned, tall women were. I dodged the elderly people with their dogs in prams (I thought this phenomena only happened in Japan, but apparently not), who were too deaf or rude to move from the centre of the path to make way for runners. I smirked at the girls doing the walk of shame with high heels in their hands, sequinned dresses crumpled and makeup horribly disfigured. I was overtaken by the lycra-people on bikes. I was also distracted many times by the enchanting beach only metres away from the pathway, veering onto the grass as I marveled at the Earth’s beauty. But I was rewarded when I reached the headland, sweating in a way those golden people weren’t able to sweat, with a view no-one should take for granted.
And now that I live in Melbourne, my morning run isn’t quite as interesting. People dress in suits instead of tights and run for the tram instead of fitness (although everyone could be going to the gym instead, a place where poor students like myself don’t belong). I run past a cemetery now. But at least I’ll only have to share the pathway with a few ghosts.