Thursday evening was beautiful. The sun was shining and the heat was building up in the car, I probably should have put the roof down – but I was on the motorway, so it was too late. I was playing some of my favourite music, Rag n Bone man, on repeat. I recently went to one of his concerts and I am proud to say I knew ever lyric – I could have stood in for him if needed …. well apart from the fact I don’t have his amazing voice, and the audience would have been mightily disappointed! I love the soul and power of his voice and his lyrics touch me deep inside.
This week has been a weird and tiring one. My son was due to make his first visit to me this weekend – but he got Covid and so was unable to come, this has really upset me, and I’ve shed a few tears. I have some ongoing admin stuff to work through with my siblings which has also been very draining, and I’ve been toying with lots of things in my head. So, as I started the drive, I was tired and deep in thought.
I knew Thursday’s route reasonably well. With the sun shining, the scenery seemed even stronger than usual, the hills even larger and I was driving mulling over issues, against a backdrop of ‘wow this place’ is so beautiful thoughts running through my head. The traffic was fairly light, it usually is on this stretch, and I drive fairly slowly. I’m not a great lover of speed (in any aspect of my life) and definitely not on a motorway … feeling the pressure of someone driving on my tail really stresses me, I soon get hot, flustered and so I prefer to stay in the inside and slower lanes.
After a while I had this slight nagging thought – where am I ? do I usually drive into this range of incredible hills, what signs am I looking for. It was a slightly scary thought – not as in I’m lost, but more a wow where have I metaphorically been… and I’m driving a car – how can I have such little awareness of my route … but yet at the same time I did.
We talk about auto-pilot, but this was more about being fully absorbed, I was in the ‘flow’ .. I realised that my mind had dropped all my worries and contemplations I was (as Wiki would define it) ‘fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full enjoyment in the process’ and as a result something weird happened to time (again according to Wiki) ‘transformation in one’s sense of time’. I was no longer driving home.. I was absorbing and feeling the beauty of my surroundings, I felt rewarded and ‘filled’ by this. Then a moment of panic, I began to wonder and worry about my driving during this time, had I been safe .. but no one had beeped at me, I was still in the same line, at the same speed – yes, I think I was safe.
A sign appeared on the motorway – I was not where I should be, I had never been this far before on this motorway. As I headed towards the exit I realised that I was not one, but two junctions past mine, and when I checked later this equated to, 20 miles off course. 20 minutes in the complete flow of driving and connecting to the surroundings. I began to doubt myself again – had I drifted off, but no it was the hills I was in those hills.
I got off the motorway, did a full 360 and got straight back on in the correct direction. I switched off my CD and focused hard for signs – I needed to get home.
As I drove back fully attentive for road signs, I had a huge realisation. I may not be fully settled in my job, I still miss good friends and family, but I realised I could never fully leave this area.
Five months ago, when I moved up I was nervous, unsure and convinced that I would return to Warwickshire. At the time I told myself as much as others, that I would aim to do at least a year and then see how I feel, and at the same time I gave myself permission to not stay if it was not right. Now after 5 months here, I realise that what most people say is so true ‘once you come to the lakes you never leave’.
That evening I realised I can’t let go of the beauty, this ‘living on the edge of opportunity’ feeling, the lakes, the hills, the nature, the fresh air, green algae and all – this is now in my lifeblood.
Would I have realised this if I had not got lost… I don’t know, I don’t need to know. I know that I need to get a base here, I may not always live here, but I need a base so I can choose to stay here or visit here as and when I want.
I’ve signed up with the estate agents…. let’s see what happens now.