Over the weekend, we attended a leaving do hosted by friends bidding their final fond farewells before embarking on a new life in Australia. Apparently he was given twelve hours to consider a role with his company in that faraway land and he accepted it. Obviously he consulted his wife and toddler – the former who was in agreement and the latter oblivious to the life changing decision that will result in his inevitable Australian accent.
After we left, Mr A asked what I thought we would have done, hypothetically, if the same or a similar opportunity had arisen for us. The answer to that I’m still pondering but the only conclusion I’ve reached so far is that my initial response to the news that our friends were moving was ‘how scary’ rather than ‘how exciting’.
And it seems that, in the same way that all our friends are having babies, everyone we know these days is deserting us for country living – well, moving out of London anyway. They have a point: the air is cleaner, the grass is greener (and there’s more of it), the schools are better (apparently – I’m not organised enough to have done any research yet), and it’s undeniable that houses and gardens beat flats and roof terraces hands down.
So I’m left wondering why it is, that after more time spent house hunting than Baby-Bel has graced this earth, we are still no further than square one. We are still in the first flat Mr A and I bought together before we became Mr and Mrs – a flat we deemed too small for three personalities (especially one whose small physical size belies her vast spatial needs) but, owing to lack of suitable alternatives, still reside in.
After partaking in our initial excitement of a hunt for a new, appropriately sized abode (outside London), MiL (mother in law) now insists that we are not serious about moving at all, in light of how eager we are to dismiss what some may consider perfectly acceptable properties. I beg to differ – the choice is simply too limited in the current property market and we don’t want to compromise on our key criteria (secluded garden, no nosy neighbours in too close proximity, within walking distance to station, Mr A wants, sorry I mean ‘needs’, a double garage, I ‘neeeed’ a walk-in wardrobe (fair is fair), and so on).
Difficult as it might be to believe, we aren’t the ‘Kirsty and Phil’s typical unrealistic couple with an idealised dream home that doesn’t exist (or certainly not within our budget)’ type. So could it be true that we are indeed harbouring a deep seated subconscious desire not to move? And if we are reluctant to move out of London, why are we telling ourselves that this is what we should be doing? Is it because we are lemmings, worried about being left behind by all our friends, to suffer rural-envy while continuing to live the shattered urban dream? Is it that we are just die-hard creatures of habit, unwilling to step into territory unknown?
There is something very resigned and terminal about leaving the city behind; like the closing chapter of a really good book – as much as you don’t want it to, it must come to an end. Mr A and I are stubbornly clinging to the vestiges of our carefree youth and the life that we once had here.
In conclusion then, my reply to Mr A might be: we can’t bear to move out of London, let alone the continent or even the country, so one step at a time?