There’s a song in there somewhere.
Just over 4 months I crammed a small selection of my worldly possessions ( I am never going to be that minimalist poster girl) into my small convertible and headed north… At the time I was houseless and jobless or footloose and fancy free – depending upon what’s important to you.
I joined the M6, one of the many soulless motorways in the UK, sat nav on, CDs playing (yes you did read CD!) and headed north to the lake district. A mix of trepidation, exhaustion, excitement and sheer relief as just an hour earlier I could neither close my boot or put the roof back down, and I had thoughts of hire car flashing through my mind. But somehow it all just fitted, the roof and boot closed and off I went. Most of the journey I was in that zombie driving state where I intersperse routinely checking speed, mirrors, ahead, behind ( back off big lorry why do you have to get so near!) with moments of singing, basic thoughts such as when will I eat/ stop for the loo. It was far from being a wistful moment of reflection.
The journey went pretty well and I began to pick out familiar landmarks around the lakes – which are unbelievably stunning, and then I landed, physically anyway.
I had taken a new job in a charity, on a beautiful lakeside estate with a house to rent included. Sounds idyllic – but I knew no-one…. but I was still feeling very rough after Covid… but the day I arrived it was grey and drizzly and there was no real welcome (maybe I expect too much)….
I opened the door of my new little house, I was literally opening the chapter on my new life. At this stage I was not fearful, I had rationalized any fears with a ‘ if you hate it you just leave’ mantra, and knowing there is always a room for me at my brothers….
The house was furnished, nothing fancy and way too much grey, but furnished. The the main thing I initially noticed was – oh boy was it cold! Still March, old slate built, no real insulation. I whacked the heating up, I found my chocolate (I’m never far away from some), sat down and breathed long and hard… well this is it! No turning round now, although my mantra is ‘I can go back’, I’d also committed to giving it a year.
I now had a house of my own, I was starting a job in two days… I was rejoining those established social norms distilled into me since a child – I’m not saying they are right but they are definitely there! One thought creeped into my mind – had I actually been brave enough..?
4 months prior when I’d idly typed ‘jobs in Cumbria’ into the Guardian jobs search engine I’d wanted a change, I’d wanted excitement and this ticked many boxes but there was just a whisper in my ear….. ‘had I been brave enough?’