I'm ready to leave the city
Last March, just before I left for a trip to the mountains with Rory, I stood at my attic bedroom window next to Gav and looked out across London. We reminisced on the years we had lived here, both separately and together, the place we had met, and now in this flat where we had grown together and had our first child. We spoke about our plans for the future, for moving on from our flat and into a house. Would we stay in the city? Would we move to somewhere else? And if we did, where would that be? It was in that moment we decided it was time to leave, and even though we didn't know where we would go, we just knew that it was time. This flat had been good to us as a couple, and even better to us as new parents with a small baby. But now we had a fast growing child, and all of us yearning for more space and a different kind of life...it was time to say goodbye.
I've been ready for a long time, to leave this city. What was a gentle itch has become a gnawing at my insides. With the decision to leave came a realisation of how stifling I've felt living in London to be. I was born here, stayed here for almost seven years before moving to the wild countryside of North Devon with my family. If you've read anything of my writing before now, you'll know only too well that Devon is a place that weaved itself into my bones at an early age. I can't tell you who I would be without it's fingerprints on me, and I am afraid to even think about it. A childhood spent outdoors, well there's no money in all the world that can make you richer.
I want that life again, for me and more importantly for my daughter. She can learn lessons from the city later, if she wants to, but everything important that I know was taught to me by the countryside. There's a freedom both inside and out that comes from so much time spent in nature, often alone, and an understanding of your true place in the world that is hard to find amongst so many people, cars and buildings.
After a long year of trying to sell our flat, losing buyer after buyer and having to repeat the process all over again we are finally almost at the end. Not quite out of the woods yet, but almost there. It's such a wonderful feeling to have the sunshine return and imagine ourselves in just a few weeks lying outside in our own back garden to enjoy it. No more early morning or late night dog walks around the streets, no more stuffy days indoors and no more carting us all out to the park for lunch because we can just spill outdoors from our kitchen. And goodness, I know how lucky we are. To even be able to have this choice in our lives, of where we live and how we live when so many people on this earth don't have either of those. We don't take it for granted, this new chapter in our lives. We've worked hard for it, sure, but there's been plenty of good fortune on our side as well.
I am ready to leave the city, but with that comes a little sadness to be leaving a place that has brought so much good into my life. There was a time when living here was all I wanted, when I was young and free enough to soak up all it had to offer. It brought me my partner, my daughter and some of my closest friends. But now, it's a place that's out of balance with the way I want to live, and as a result it makes me feel out of balance. I am ready to leave, and I want to leave now while I can still look back fondly on everything it gave me. Onwards to a new chapter, a new home and some new memories...