The Next Chapter…

What do you do when you are in the depths of moving to a new house, and you find yourself with two and a half hours to spare? You write a blog! Inner, creative me has won over organised, there’s too much to do, must stay on track me as I park myself in a corner of our new empty living room while I await the arrival of a workman. The echo of each tap of the keyboard resounds as I avoid the inevitable to-do list for a little longer.

          For us, this house move is exciting. It’s the beginning of a new chapter where my husband and I make our lives a little easier, give ourselves more precious spare time, and enjoy what will now be a remarkably smaller and more sensible garden to keep. This move is about looking forward, onwards, and planning new and exciting trips (once Covid allows). It’s about living, about embarking on new adventures as we find ourselves with an empty nest while we are still only in our early fifties. The fact that this move will give me far more writing time is filling me with excitement and an eagerness for the next couple of weeks to be over. I’m desperately looking forward to a new daily routine which will work far better around my writing and I’ve already picked out my new writing spot.

            It does come with the realisation that all I am doing is delaying the inevitable as the next week and a half will be spent packing up our old house during the day and finishing the painting, renovating, and working on the new house in the evenings and weekends all with the unwavering goal of uprooting years of an existence and packing it away into boxes. Which brings me on to the real reason for writing this….

            My children are now twenty-seven and twenty-three, they have finished university and have embarked on their own journeys in this ever-changing world. They have moved out, met wonderful partners, and, coincidently, are happily living just a few minutes away from each other in our capital city. But they regularly come home, filling our house with their familiar laughter and personalities. Of course, our dinner table has grown from our little bubble of four to six and that is wonderful. Their laughter, hilarity, games, and the joy this brings is, to me, what life is all about. Not to mention our two little dogs, they have no idea to what extent their little world is about to change, but I’m sure if we are all together, they will settle quickly.

            I was organised, on track, and in the swing of all that I had to do until my youngest came home to pack up her room. Obviously, there will always be room for our children no matter where we are, but this room has seen her through her primary and secondary years and through university. It has evolved with her, grown as she has, and, even although she now has her own flat, her room has always been here, waiting on her whenever she needed to return. Now though, those memories have been packed away, boxed up and labeled through tears (mine, I should add) and neatly given their place in our new attic. I was that same, tearful person a few years ago when we packed up my eldest’s room to allow for a spare bedroom. At the time we weren’t to know how handy that room would become. But now, removing those same boxes from our old attic and transporting them to our new attic, it hurts all over again. Memories are by far more valuable than possessions and I will live determined never to forget the memories and images that have brought us as a family so much love and happiness in a house that we have adored for so long.

            But the dreaded time has come. Our beloved house is now too big and the heartache I feel at leaving must be turned into an overwhelming appreciation that we were lucky enough to be one of its caretakers in its lifetime. At almost one hundred years old, it has seen many people come and go and the excitement we felt when we moved in all these years ago is now turning to sadness as we prepare to leave.

            But there is more to life than hoovering and dusting rooms that are mostly unoccupied. There is more to life than battling to keep up with a garden that goes on and on and there is certainly more to life than maintaining an existence that we have all outgrown.

            So where to now? Well, having had no neighbours or streetlights for almost twenty years and having been surrounded by fields and woodland, we are moving back into civilisation. We have decided that because the sun disappears around three-thirty, four o’clock in the depths of winter our days should certainly not be over. We are looking forward to the luxury of walking our dogs in the evening under streetlight, we are looking forward to the luxury of walking to a local shop, of going out for a meal without having to drive miles to get there. To be able to walk out our front door and carry on with our day will, to us, be luxury.

            We have lived the ‘out in the sticks’ lifestyle and we have loved it! I cannot emphasise that enough, but as we get older (and the point is older…not old) we still have so much to do, so many places to see and so much life to live. Our house was at one point bustling but now my husband and I barely make a dent in its rooms.

            So, our big decision is to give the town a year and see if we like said streetlights and town living as much as we think we will.  We are moving back to the town I grew up in and where my husband was just a year below me at secondary school. We will be closer to some members of our extended family and further away from others but as always, our door to them will always be open.

        Last night, as we put the finishing touches to some of our DIY projects, both my brother and brother-in-law turned up to help and, as is always the way, both acquired a couple of other jobs while they were here. My point is, home will always be where we are, where we congregate and the people we come to for love, support, and to make things better when the universe throws us a curveball. Just because we are leaving a happy (albeit too large) family home doesn’t mean we can’t create another.

       That is the challenge that excites! That is the challenge that we are ready for! That is the challenge that will be met as we are why our children still come home. We are why our children make their way north, we are why our children meet up even without us. A home is not only bricks and mortar, it’s the people within! Its generations keeping in touch, sticking together, and not allowing the nasties of this world to intrude, to hurt, to damage the precious existence we have worked so hard to create.