It’s fair to say that the last few months have involved the biggest changes in my life for a while. As if quitting my job, starting a new business and writing full-time weren’t enough, the changes are just about to get bigger. In a matter of days I’ll be writing this blog from the snowy countryside of eastern France.
When big stuff happens, it always seems to arrive all at once, in a big flurry of stress and action. Although we’ve had a vague idea that we would head over to France for a while now, the final stages of it all happened very quickly and meant that we’ve crammed everything needed for a move to a new country into a month. Add to that a bit of self-isolation with a toddler and attempting to continue writing and running my own business and I’m surprised I’m not rocking in a corner somewhere.
The only thing I can say that might have helped is the two-week stint over the holidays where I pretty much managed to ignore the fact that any of this was happening and lost myself in a lovely fog of wine, cheese, meat and chocolate. Having emerged from that last week, the reality of it all is currently jabbing me in the ribs and demanding attention.
I’m someone that has spent their life seeking out change. I remember back when I was looking at Universities and when Mum suggested a local option I told her that it wasn’t far away enough from home. Hopefully she didn’t take it too personally. I travelled to China when I was 22, lived in Spain not long after that. More recently I moved to London, started a family and went travelling with a tiny baby for five months. Admittedly the gaps between the big events have got bigger, but somehow I forget all the queasy anticipation and wrenching that happens before the change happens.
Looking back, all I see are the great things that happened as a result of my decisions. The people I met, the things I saw, the things I learnt. After the step has been taken, it’s easy to forget how difficult it was to make that leap in the first place.
At the moment, it doesn’t feel like it will make an enormous difference. I’ll go from being shut inside a flat in London to shut inside a house in France. Ok, there’ll be a boulangerie instead of a corner shop five minutes away, but it’s not like I’ll be able to interact with people there anyway until vaccination programmes roll out and the outside world becomes a slightly safer place.
Having said that, it does seem like a bigger step now we aren’t in the EU. As if the distance will be stretched out thanks to the change in borders. It also means that coming back to visit and having people visit us becomes all the more tricky. Even in Tier 5 London I’m able to meet one friend for exercise.
There’s also the impossibility of imagining my life in a different way. These walls, these streets, the constant hum of traffic, chat and living that has accompanied me for the past eight years. I can’t see how I will fit into such a different place, how the rhythms of my day, the flow of my words, will be shifted or changed when the view out of my window becomes unrecognisable.
We’ve all been through a lot in the past year. So many have lost those they love, lost jobs, been separated from loved ones. Here I am, placing an even larger gap between me and those I care about. All I can hope is that all those connections we’ve woven over my years in this country will hold strong and continue to grow even though I’m far away.
All change, please.
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