If only a few years ago, I felt like I was stuck in a rut (single for six years, flat-sharing, middle management job, a feeling of déjà vu day in a day out), the last three (this year in particular) felt like I have been riding a rollercoaster. I met my husband during The Love Project, got engaged after 7 months, moved in with him after one year, went through the process of selling a flat and moving into a new (grown-up) house, got married, adopted a cat and planning to move to France. Every one of these life-altering changes has been exciting and terrifying at the same time.
The funny thing is we crave change but when faced with the decision-making moment when you are certain that life as you know it will never be the same, it scares the pants out of us. So how do we do change? What makes us grow wings and fly into the unknown?
The answer might surprise you: planning.
We’ve just returned from France. I’d spent the first week at Circle of Misse writing retreat in the Loire Valley with the mission to rewrite The Love Project (Note: it is now being completely repurposed and, dare I say, massively improved, but more on this subject in another blog post) before meeting my husband in Paris and making our way down to the South of France. We were in desperate need of a honeymoon (which we didn’t have after our wedding in July) and decided to combine our need for rest and intimacy with the more practical purpose of doing a reconnaissance of the area. After a few days in Biarritz and San Sebastian (more about my love affair with anchovies also in a separate blog post) we made our way into the Bearn region to explore our feelings about making the Pyrenees Atlantiques our home. A few days later, we were viewing properties: large Bearnese houses with blue window-shutters and brick fireplaces, barns in needs of converting, huge gardens and streams running through their back yards. It was paradise. I never imagined that I would be the lady of the manor, but there I was contemplating having my own pigeon tower attached to a four-bedroom house and a large loft, as well as three guest houses, a swimming pool, a large garden and two fruit bearing fig trees, at half the price of our house in London.
Sounds like a fairy tale.
Except the fact that most of these stunning properties are in the middle of nowhere. No chance to step out and walk to your nearest restaurant, boulanger, Tabac, library, gym, or (God forbid?) a hipster café. So you can imagine that relocating to France countryside would be a hugenormous change in our lifestyle. We would have to drive everywhere and accept the fact that our diet will be mainly French and our wine will most certainly be only French. That we would be eating a lot of baguettes. That we would not be going out for dinner to the local (unless we strike gold and find a property within walking distance to a village that actually has a restaurant – which is kind of what we are desperately looking for). That we would enjoy fresh air and country walks and a lot of quietude for the rest of our lives. That everything will be completely different!
I must confess a part of me is scared shitless. This is all lovely but so different than everything I’m used to. I’ve always been a city girl. I negotiate my way through the bustling swarm of London with ease and confidence. I don’t drive. I love to watch people. I love to have everything at my doorstep (even though I hardly go anywhere anymore). And this is all going to change. Coming back from France I began to notice all the things I love about London and less of the things I find annoying. An incredible shift has happened when faced with the imminence of leaving it all behind.
But isn’t this the point of life? To never stop going on an adventure? To challenge yourself to the bones every few years? To walk on foreign, unknown, shaky ground?
So I have decided to embrace this change because we have been planning to leave it all behind for a long time. I’ve planned this when I quite my job three years ago, I’ve planned this when I started writing, I’ve planned this the day I left Romania and moved to London. I’ve planned to be scared as hell but do it anyway.
And so this is it. Possibly my last few months in London. I’ve had a love affair with this city and I will love it and carry it my heart forever. But it’s time to move on to…