This is a story about learning to work out the difference between what you think you want and what you actually need. And about learning to love your life as it is right now, not how you hope it will be in six months’ time.
Like all my stories it has a happy ending, although unexpectedly so.
It’s no secret that this summer hasn’t been my favourite. Glorious weather aside, my health has been terrible and I was signed off sick from my day job for three months before realising that the only way I could prioritise my health was to leaving my day job entirely.
Disclaimer: The only reason I was able to leave my day job was because my very clever fiance got promoted – I’m not going to pretend for a moment that I earn enough from my books to support myself. I don’t.
But there was a flipside…
The promotion would mean my fiance would have to work from his company’s head office, which is in Bournemouth. We live in Yorkshire. The move would be a logistical nightmare, especially with three cats, but surely it would be worth it? A new start after a fairly awful couple of years, all that sea air – what could go wrong?
And what writer doesn’t want to live by the sea?
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that we spent quite a bit of time in Bournemouth over the summer and, on our last trip there in September, we started house-hunting. The weather was glorious, we looked at all sort of properties and we both pretended everything was exactly how we wanted it to be.
Except it wasn’t.
We wanted to live in Bournemouth, walking distance from the sea. We didn’t want to live in a village miles away that my fiance would have to commute from in horrendous traffic. I didn’t want to be stranded without a car in the middle of nowhere. If we were going to uproot our lives it had to be to make positive changes, not negative ones.
But the properties in our price range either needed huge amounts of work or were flats or both. And lots of the apartment blocks didn’t allow pets, so they were ruled out straight away. With each new property we looked at we both got more despondent. And we both pretended we were fine.
We walked miles and miles around Bournemouth that week and I came home feeling really ill, just as I’d started to feel better. We put in offers on flats we weren’t in love with only to be gazumped. We didn’t know what to do.
And then he said “What if we just stayed where we are?”
I felt a sense of relief and lightness when he said it, as though I’d just put down a heavy backpack. And that surprised me.
I’ve been really unhappy since we moved to Yorkshire, for various reasons but most of them were to do with how much I’d hated my day job. Maybe I’d confused my feelings about my job with my feelings about Yorkshire and where I lived and other things in my life? Because now I didn’t have the day job to worry about things didn’t seem so bad. And now I’d looked around every awful property in Bournemouth my three-bed new-build semi with brand new carpets and bathrooms and fitted wardrobes felt like a palace.
Maybe we could stay here.
Somehow my very clever fiance managed to talk his company into allowing him to keep the promotion and work remotely/from the Leeds office – travelling whenever he needs to. And ever since then we’ve both felt happier.
I realise now that I’d allowed one part of my life (my day job) to taint all the other parts until I believed that I was unhappy. I realise now that I’d fallen into the trap of believing I could only be happy if I lived somewhere else. I also realise that right now I’m not well enough to move across the country and all the stress that entails.
So here we are, in Yorkshire, looking forward to our wedding in January and beginning to understand that the only place we need to find contentment is right now.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m dreading another Yorkshire winter, but at least I don’t have to commute to work in it this year!