Last week I alluded to changes being afoot (#cryptic) … so I thought I’d go into that in a little bit more detail.
I’ve lived in Kent all of my life … all 24 years of it, and although my life has been a rollercoaster for the most part, I’ve certainly had nothing personal against Kent. (It’s not Kent’s fault I have really bad taste in men.) I’ve managed to commute to London from Kent for nearly 20 years, had a great ‘as good as you can get being a single mother’ type social life, I’ve raised two children here and it’s where my family and best friend live. I live halfway between London and the seaside and well, it’s not so bad.
However, life has changed a lot for me … particularly over the last 3-4 years, and I don’t know whether Kent really feels like home anymore.
I lost my house last year (bad relationship blah blah) and, as Whitney once profoundly said, I now have nothing. In the material sense at least. I’m 44 years old and I have nothing. No house to call my own, a real banger of a car that, bless it, remains ever faithful (unlike my boyfriends), a lovely sideboard from eBay … and not much else.
(Trust me, I’m well aware that things could be a whole lot worse and at times, they have been. I’m lucky I’m here to tell you tales of bad dates and pillow sprays. I get that.)
But the strange thing is, having ‘nothing’ has given me a sense of freedom I don’t think I’ve ever felt before. I’ve had a mortgage since I was 19, I was married at 20, and then in another 10-year relationship at 32. I’ve been a parent for 20 years and of course, that will never change, but everything else around me has always been so … suffocating? I don’t know if that’s the right word. Traditional? I have always conformed, did the things my parents wanted me to do for a large part of my life and now, at 44, everything is different.
Mum died nearly ten years ago now and I feel like a middle-aged orphan. That makes me sad beyond belief but it means I don’t feel that parent-child guilt and that’s a rather ‘freeing’ feeling because, as much as I’ll always be there for my Dad if he needs me … he doesn’t need me. He has what he needs.
And so, the question is … is it time to move on? To try living somewhere else? To finally address the wanderlust I’ve always felt?
Everything is pointing towards the answer being yes. Dexter has just passed his 11+ test (hooray!) and we are at the stage where we are choosing a senior school for him so moving wouldn’t mean a break in his education, insofar as I wouldn’t have to take him out of his current school. My eldest son is at university and, more importantly, is happy where he is. He has friends, a job, he knows I’m there whenever he needs me, but I don’t ‘need’ to be near him anymore.
Am I scared? God, yes! I’ve only ever lived in this town. I haven’t even visited the north of England, let alone lived there. But were I to move north (instead of Australia), I have that cushion of still being near enough to London to commute and so I don’t feel I’m ruling myself out of any dream job that I may find. A little safety net.
What is the right thing to do? I have no idea. Seriously. This isn’t just about me, it’s about a wonderful, curly haired boy who relies on me for everything. He’s relying on me to make the right decision and I just don’t know what that is at the moment.
I have a plan though. Of course I do. More of that in a later blog post. But in the meantime, as my tenancy in this house slowly comes to its natural conclusion, I realise that all I want is to feel like I have a home. I want to feel like I belong. (Where everybody knows my name etc.)
Sometimes in life you, just have to be brave.
In the meantime, my priority in life is to be happy – as twee as that sounds – but I remain optimistic and positive that whatever my decision is about my future, we will be happy.
Because that’s just how we roll.