Benjamin Packer

Reflections: Two years in Berlin

Benjamin Packer

Recently while on a visit back to Australia I was cleaning through many of my old belongings, tossing out items I no longer have a use for, marking others for sale and just generally indulging in some nostalgia. During my rummages I stumbled across a note I had written myself in 2016, shortly after my 25th birthday.

I turned 25 this month. A milestone that, for me at least, went by quietly. No family around to celebrate with, nor any close friends as they are all off exploring the globe or moving house. You know - doing things that 25 year olds do. I would say this was merely a milestone for milestone’s sake. I’ve also been serving on jury duty. It has opened up my world and has also given me more free time. Something that I haven’t really had a whole lot of recently. It is time that I’ve been using to reflect - on my career, my health, my relationships, my life. I’ve come to realise something in this time.

I’m not satisfied.

I have everything someone my age could want - or at least what we believe we should want. I have a stable well paying job - in a field I studied for. I have a spacious place to live (albeit rented) and a supportive partner. I just don’t feel satisfied and I’ve been thinking - maybe I should throw it all away.

There are conversations I’ve had recently that seem to reinforce my thinking. People around me - colleagues, friends, even strangers all seem to be hinting at this idea - that to reach the next level i need to let go and take that leap of faith. I’m also starting to feel the pressure of time. It might be now or never.

It’s a scary thing to contemplate - throwing it all to the wind, uprooting and starting fresh. It is also an incredibly selfish thing to do and I’m worried I will end up alienating those around me. As much as I speak about the prospect of this change happening I don’t think any of my friends really understand it. They need the stability and structure of this sort of life more than I do.

I guess part of being 25 is the questions that come at that age. When are you getting married? When are you having children? I’m worried that after almost 8 years other people probably think I’m non committal and lazy.

None of this really makes sense, and I think that might be the point. I need a challenge. The threat of the unknown. The overwhelming puzzle of difference. Maybe I’m just rambling on because it is almost 2am.

I have a decision to make in court tomorrow. A decision that will probably change someone else’s life. Is it time I made that decision for myself while I’m still in control?

I had absolutely no idea that the decisions I would make would lead me to the other side of the world, but golly was that one of the best decisions I ever made. I don’t think there will ever be a way that I can fully describe the value that UP.GRADE provides but perhaps this video can go part of the way.

A lot of my personal perspective and my goals have changed dramatically in the past two years. As my mother recently commented, since the move there hasn’t been any more sitting and waiting for things to happen. It is important to find time to relax and reflect, but for the time being I am loving my time blazing this path.