How strange that we’re all growing up and drifting off to make our own little corners of the universe.
This weekend Sam and I finally went to visit my cousin in the small village near Milton Keynes she moved to a couple of years ago. Toria’s only a year younger than me, and got married a year before, so we’re very much proceeding through life at a similar pace. But -unlike me- her cute, tidy little home is miles away from the nearest big city, surrounded by parks and woodland. The small town high street is lined with cosy pubs and shops where the staff smile at you and say good afternoon.
Would we ever move away? Go a little bit further up the road to somewhere greener, where our car insurance renewal quotes don’t make us want to spontaneously vomit every year? Will we ever get to the point where we actually want to take our fingers off the pulse and go into hermitude away from everyone and everything? Move to somewhere crazy like, say, Ilkley??
I spent the first ten years of my life on the outskirts of Nottingham city centre, and my Dad has always lived walking distance from the market square. When I moved out of home (save for a miserable year in halls near Adel) I’ve always been throwing distance from the centre of Leeds. I like that. I like that if the weather’s nice, I can take a long walk in along the canal and just mooch, with no real purpose, stick my nose up against the shops windows and look at all the people coming and going. When I think about moving away from the city, I get a tight, panicky feeling in my chest. That fear-of-missing-out-on-something feeling. What on earth do I think I’ll miss?
The baby boomer‘s golden era is over now - if you want to own a home near a city with a good standard of living these days, you need to be earning some serious money. You can certainly live here on a modest income, but then you need to make compromises on the area you live in. Compromises on personal safety, on choice of schools for your children, on having a sense of local community. Compromises on the amenities you have on your doorstep, on home insurance premiums, on having a garden or a garage. As I get older I think these are compromises I’m less prepared to make.
I do love my house though, filled with its clutter and music and tat. Its deceptive little seaside-cottage exterior, and the tardis-like inside that goes back forever. The big south facing windows, the feeling of space and light. I wish I was a tortoise so I could strap it to my back and waddle off up the road with it to somewhere green and pleasant.
Do you love where you live?