The house is ours. We got confirmation a few days ago that all of the checks came back fine so now we’re just waiting for the tenant to move out so the landlord can do the work and then we can move in. This doesn’t feel like any old house-move though, this feels like a new beginning and a whole new chapter and it’s one I’m well and truly ready to start. I have a feeling that I haven’t felt in a very long time that this is an ending; a true end and then a real new beginning and so I want to record this momentous time in my life, even if what I note isn’t that exciting and doesn’t seem that worthy.
Life, it is said, goes in seven-year cycles. I’ve always thought of it as being in age intervals; 0-7, 7-14, 14-21, 21-28 and so on and so forth but today, while out walking Jasper, it suddenly struck me that maybe this typical seven-year pattern isn’t quite that way for me, at least not in terms of those ages.
By the time I move house, sometime in the next couple of months, it will be seven years since I left Tom and began a new life as a new person, not necessarily a better person. Scarred, jaded, cautious, wary. The seven years before that were all about meeting, falling in love and creating a life with Tom. Before that, those seven years were predominately about motherhood.
The last seven years have not been easy and they’ve taken their toll at times but through that, the real me has emerged and still develops day by day, week by week. A self that I don’t always recognise as being me; introverted, strong, ruthless, timid, feisty, passionate, outspoken, quiet. A contradiction much of the time. And so, we’re moving to a new house. We’re moving to a new area too. I don’t know the area, I don’t know the people, the shops, the parks. It is all new. It’ll be me, my children and my dog in the great unknown.
A few years ago I read a book and saved a quote from it… ‘Roses planted in soil that has grown roses for a number of years are prone to a disease known as rose sickness. If you plant new roses in this situation you must take out as much of the old soil as possible and replace it with fresh soil from another part of the garden which hasn’t grown roses before. This makes me think of Mr Malone, trying to grow in exactly the same place as his wife has died. It makes me think of anyone who is trying to grow where something, even a part of themselves, has died. We all experience that sickness. It is better to move, uproot ourselves and start afresh; then we will flourish.’
It’s never been more pertinent. Our lives here, in this little town that we live in, feels stagnant, it has for a very long time. Every day I walk the dog around the same streets, meandering through alleyways, trying to find a new route and every day I feel as though I no longer fit in and I don’t belong anymore. I feel as though I’m living in the past, the past that I should have left a long time ago because it just doesn’t feel right anymore. It’s not just the town, it’s the atmosphere, the memories, the people. It’s people I used to be friends with whose energy now grates with mine not because they’ve changed but because I have. It’s exes and all of their friends who I see almost every time I step outside my front door. It’s endless roadworks, trains going past, people hurrying everywhere, constant sounds and smells. It’s a cacophony of the past screaming in my ears that it’s time to go.
Last night I dreamt of Gary. In the dream, he wanted me back. I didn’t want to go back. He found a heavy safe and jumped into deep water, the safe kept him down. I dived down and pulled him to safety but as soon as he reached the surface, he allowed the safe to take him down again. I thought about rescuing him again and then realised that it’s his choice to live or to die, to sink or to swim and I let him go.
I can make that choice now. Let the past go totally or hold on to the false sense of security that comes from a comfort zone. I’m letting go.