Since moving house, I have had multiple messages from people who are weighing up the pros and cons of relocating and asking how it went for us, especially with regards to our children and how they have coped with the upheaval. So, I thought I would write a short blog, telling the story of our first month in Croft Corner, and why I say ‘follow your dreams’ no matter what it takes.
Growing up, albeit in a small town, and not a particularly nice one at that, I was always aware of being surrounded by beautiful countryside. I often found myself, during days full of teenage angst, taking myself off to sit on the edge of a mountain near my home, to ponder life’s difficulties (how many of us felt the weight of the world on our shoulders at 13?) I would find solace sitting amongst the heather, taking in the view of the town way below.
I am definitely a country-girl at heart – I love open spaces, spending time immersed in nature, (although I will never be a fan of creepy crawlies) and I need quiet. A good friend came to visit yesterday and we went for a walk in the woods near our home, and she told me about ‘forest therapy’, a concept I hadn’t heard of before. Apparently forest therapy is rooted in the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku. Immersing yourself in the atmosphere of the forest is good for body and mind. It can help you relax and refuel — and give you a break from the devices, worries and stress that can dominate daily life. This is definitely true for me, I always feel great after my daily walk/run with our dog Harry.
I know this isn’t everyone’s ideal, in fact both my sisters who grew up in the very same house as me, find their joy in cities, amongst throngs of people – they get a buzz from the hustle and bustle, and all that busy city life has to offer.
But this story isn’t about whether you love country life, or city life, or indeed life on the coast, it’s about pursuing what you do want, even when that may seem scary, and you see a dozen hurdles blocking the way.
When we talked to our children about moving to this village, a fair drive away from our previous home, which would mean them starting a different school to the one they had known for years, new after school clubs, and potentially losing their current friends; we were met with an uneasy response. After seeing this house (we arranged a second viewing after our offer was accepted so they could explore the garden and see their new bedrooms), they were definitely excited about what it had to offer, but were still very apprehensive about moving on from what they had always known. My husband and I were obviously concerned about how they would adapt, but we talked in length to the girls about it, always putting a positive spin on things. We told them that we could arrange visits from some of their old friends, how the house and surroundings would all become a new normality after a few weeks, and how making friends would be easy for them, they are both fairly sociable (although Molly less so than Ruby, her older sister.) But we never really knew, we just hoped this would be the case – for all of us.
As D-day approached, Ruby (the more sensitive one) experienced a few nights where she would go to sleep crying, scared mainly about the thought of starting a new school, and saying how she would miss her wallpaper, and her walk to school and the grave of our little hamster Nibbles, who we hadn’t long buried in our old garden (sorry new owners!) I remember saying to my husband that we must be prepared for some hard times ahead. The girls, who at 6 and 8 aren’t especially apt at expressing their anxieties, would probably start behaving badly, being full of pent up anger and sadness. They would pine for their old life, and we would have to expect lots of tears.
We haven’t had any tears. No discussions about old bedrooms. Ruby has written a letter or two to her old friends, but that’s fine and probably a good thing. I can honestly say we haven’t looked back, any of us. My husband has a longer commute now, but he loves coming back here, a place which feels restful (well when I’m not making him decorate) and where he has space around him (and a much yearned for man cave.) I am already making friends and am finding a new passion for gardening! The girls are loving their new gymnastics club, and have made numerous ‘BFF’s’. They also have much less tablet and TV time, as all they really want to do is play outside!
I’m forever wiping their little feet with baby wipes where they run outdoors, all in a hurry to play horses, and forget to put their shoes on! And we have stunning countryside on our doorstep too, where we love to spend our time on sunny weekends (roll on spring!)
So, although I know every family is different, and everyone’s children are different, I still say ‘follow your heart.’ Sydney J Harris said ‘Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.’ And I believe this to be true. Don’t let fear stop you doing what is really in your heart, what you believe will benefit your family. I waited about three years to move, due to various hurdles rearing their ugly heads, but I am so glad we finally did it. Life will go on of course, nothing is perfect, and there will certainly be bumps in the road, but I’m loving every minute here in my ideal location, and I’m sure you will too!
Until next time,