A guest post from a Londoner, a reminder that moving out isn't for everyone......
For as long as I can remember I was going to live in the countryside. Born and bred a country girl my London days were spent kicking up a storm, having a blast, safe in the knowledge that at some point I'd be growing veg and wearing wellies all day long.
The perfect house
Children came a long and the property portals got busy sending me a daily update of properties in our chosen area and then it happened...the perfect house landed in my inbox. A rush of childcare organisation and a high speed drive down the M4 landed us at said perfect house. Stereotypical roses around the door and acres of garden and a football pitch, room for a pony and a vegetable garden to make Abel and Cole jump for joy. Even better it was within our budget with room for improvement but liveable in right from day one. The discovery of the perfect local village school just 5 minutes walk away signed us up for certain.
We drove back to London holding our breath; this was it - what we'd always dreamt of...nothing could be more exciting.
So why did we both have sleepless nights? What was holding us back? Were we fearful of change? Commitment phobes?
Or were our instincts telling us something important....?
Two years on
Fast forward two years and you find us the happiest we've ever been and we're living in London. We have no football pitch, no room for a hamster let alone a pony and the only vegetables we eat are those we buy from Abel and Cole rather than growing our own. So what changed?
Well we did the grown up thing and listened to our instincts rather than ploughing on with our life plan, and it turns out our instincts were shouting that we were OK where we were. Yes, there are compromises. We do not have a garden, we spend a lot of time with dog poo on our shoes on the walk to school and the children aren't free to roam in fields and I don't grow my own vegetables. However on the plus side we are happy.
We don't wish, we don't wonder, we just get on with living in the here and the now.
We make the most of London and all that it offers, we see our friends on street corners, we eat out a lot, we hang out in the parks with random strangers and play cricket in any small amount of green space we can find. AND we invite ourselves to stay a lot with friends in the country whenever we can. We try to teach our children how to be happy, independent and kind just like our friends in the country.
We return on a Sunday happy to be coming home. Yes we moan about the pollution and the traffic and we see the faces of our children sad to be leaving the huge gardens behind and yes, we look forward to August in London when everyone goes away and we can drive without stress but we've survived. We've more than survived. We're living as a family and we're loving our life.
That house still looks gorgeous and I feel sure the people who live there have never looked back - they too had moved from London. I'm sure they've never been happier and they wonder how they ever lived in town but for us...our instincts were right. For our family we did the right thing and we'll never judge our friends who move out. They all judge us, it has to be said - 'I don't know how you cope living there' is a cry we hear endlessly. But we do cope, we more than cope.
Life can be stressful wherever you live but we're happy with our choices and we hope you'll be happy with yours.