The last ‘joy’ I could develop was in the middle of fraught tensions before Christmas, and life has been a frenzy of strenuous physical effort since to pack up all our stuff and vacate our home. Now that we can sit still, in our tiny bolthole within a pleasant village, and sigh in some relief, it feels like a cloud of confusion has descended. Now we have to figure out our new lives, find some direction, and live again.
As a dear friend exclaimed, when we caught her at the point of heading out in our heavily laden motorhome and jam-packed Fiat Panda, ‘But you live here!’ Her words cut straight through to our hearts. Yes, this is where we have lived, really lived, for the past three decades. But ageing is a constant, and we are constantly pondering how best to cope with the frailties that attend this natural process. We can’t feel safe living so far up in the high moorland any longer.
This morning a headline caught my eye, and I felt an internal smile as I wondered if, indeed, by aiming to live within a village and nearby amenities that we can actually walk to, whether we aren’t perhaps really embarking on the right path after all. ‘Entrenched car culture‘ is a concept to reckon with, and no more so then when ageing infirmities mitigate against popping out on a three to fifteen mile jaunt for some crucial errand. At some point in our lives we’ll be unable to drive.
Downsizing, or perhaps re-sizing, have been ambitions too, as the urge to live more simply compels us onward. Real estate costs have figured in our future thinking, of course, as prices are steeper in vibrant villages than in remote rural settings. It’s not an easy gambit to find the right fit, not when one has been entrenched in a lovely setting and blithely making a car’s journey into the village hubbub for so long.
But our friends and neighbours, now that we’re here in what’s our actual home, and not merely a tiny bolthole, now that our home has gone to the next owners, we’re missing everyone quite desperately. It feels like a confused and gaping hole in our centre, as if we’re floundering around now trying to figure out everything anew.
We do, we do believe that out of the confusion we will find a road to joy. We do believe that life goes on and that we must continue onwards. For now though, that aspiration is clouded with unknowns and I can’t quite find the switch for the fog lights.
Perhaps this effort, this simple sitting down and thinking about things, perhaps this is a small step towards a kind of clarity.