In the past five and a bit weeks life has undergone a pretty big transformation, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised I’ve hit a bit of a wall where energy levels are concerned. I’ve moved country, moved house not once but twice, and started a new job in a new country where the employment system is more complicated than the Matrix. Not to mention the fact I’ve gone back up from working four days a week to five, which in itself is quite a shock to the system (I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mourning my Mondays off – sniff). So yes, I guess I need to cut myself some slack, as my transatlantic friends would say. Getting into a new routine takes time, especially when the repercussions of that new routine involve a run of terrible nights’ sleep that leaves you feeling like your head is full of cotton wool.
Oh, and did I mention that good old Lady Karma has bitten me hard on the arse for boasting about my amazing new flat by sending me the neighbour from hell who appears to have no concept of bass control on his/her stereo, nor a concrete understanding of the less than concrete thickness of the wall that separates our living rooms. But hey, these things are incidental, and they shall pass. I just hope they pass sooner than later, because I need to get back to writing my screenplay and setting myself on the path to making the millions I need to be able to give up working for someone else and start setting my own agenda in life…A girl can dream (or at least she would if she was actually getting any sleep at the moment…Grumble grumble).
So, it’s official: Five weeks on Saturday I’ll be moving to Brussels. Why? Because my other half’s job is taking him there, and also because I know enough about both life and love to know that when opportunities come up you have to follow them – as well as your heart. To say I’m terrified would be an understatement, but the overriding feeling is one of excitement. I’ve lived in London for the past twelve years, and whilst I love this crazy, vibrant city and will miss it – not to mention all my friends here – more than I can say, I feel ready for a change.
Whilst ‘what will I do’ and ‘where will we live’ are pretty high up on the list of burning questions, ‘will I write more when I’m away from the distractions of London’ is the one that’s really running on a loop through my mind. It’s no secret that reducing my working hours by one day a week to give me time to write has been less successful than I’d hoped. But you know what? After a lengthy hiatus I’ve started meditating again and I’ve done some thinking, and have decided that it’s time to stop beating myself up for what I haven’t achieved, and start taking steps – no matter how small – towards what I am capable of achieving. That may be a published novel, or it may not, and for the first time in a long time I can honestly say that I’m okay with either. My new plan is to ease some of the pressure I’ve been putting on myself and fall back in love with writing, hopefully at the same time as I fall in love with the new city that is to become my home for the foreseeable future – and I’m excited.
Life is for living and the world is for exploring. And whilst Belgium might not be all that exotic, or, in distance terms, all that far away, it’s certainly a start.
I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed efficiency on such a scale as I did this morning. The man with the van arrived at 8.45am (fifteen minutes early), our friend five minutes after that, and within half an hour my entire room was packed into the van and the boys were off to the new flat, leaving me to do a final spot check and tidy. By the time I arrived at the new place some twenty minutes later the only things remaining in the van were a couple of bags. Inside the flat things were strewn everywhere, granted, but it didn’t take long to make in-roads into the chaos, and I’ve left it in a reasonable state to pick up from tomorrow when I get back from my friend’s wedding in Cambridge. It really is all go!
As for the wedding, it’s the third one of my best friends from school, and all the more significant for me as I missed the first two because I was travelling. Today will also be the first time the five of us will have all been in the same place at the same time for years. In fact, since we were last together there have been two weddings and one baby-I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone. So I’ll certainly make the most of catching up and celebrating-after the move I think I deserve it!
Moving day is nearly upon me, and whilst I’m almost beyond exhaustion I also couldn’t be more excited. There’s something quite thrilling about moving house. Perhaps it’s because it offers a clean slate, a chance to reset and start again. In other words, a new beginning; a bit like January 1st when the new year lies before you like a pristine and untouched canvas, ready for you to stamp your mark on it as you see fit.
And whilst I’m no Kelly Hoppen I’m very much looking forward to having a bash at making the new flat into a home that reflects both of our personal tastes. I also want to create a corner for my writing, where I can sit and feel inspired each Monday (and in the evenings and weekends too-for it’s finally beginning to dawn on me one day a week is not sufficient time to become truly proficient in the craft of writing; better late than never).
For me, this particular move holds the further dual significance of a) moving in with my boyfriend and b) having more space to myself, since the aforementioned boyfriend is likely to be travelling fairly frequently with work. Whilst I’ve always enjoyed living with other people, as the inexorable passage of time has worn on I have come to crave solitary time more often. Whereas a few years ago I loved the hustle and bustle of a four person tenancy arrangement, now me and one other is as much as I can cope with – and it’s becoming increasingly more vital that the “other” is someone with whom I get along like a house on fire rather than merely live and split bills with.
So there you have it. It is the eve of my next move, almost all of my belongings are packed into bags and boxes and my furniture is bubble wrapped. The only thing left to do is post this blog and pour myself a generous glass of red wine. It’s time for the next chapter. And I really cannot wait.
It’s at times like this – when I’m simultaneously juggling a house move (and all the stressful admin and hard physical labour that involves) with the organisation of two birthday parties (only one of which is mine, I might add-I’m not that much of an egotist. Though having said that my party does involve a 48 person entourage at a Bavarian beer festival..)- that I wonder why I have this strange compulsion to always over stretch myself.
I’ve always been a planner – often to the point of anally retentive amounts of attention to detail – and in the main I think that is a positive thing. The earlier you book a holiday, for example, the more choice you’ll have on where to go and the cheaper prices of flights and accommodation are likely to be. The same applies to parties; plan ahead and you will find that the world of entertainment venues is your oyster.
Another reason it’s vital to plan events early is because in this day and age people’s diaries get booked up months in advance. If you want to avoid standing alone at the bar on your birthday or sharing the entire wedding breakfast with your husband and in-laws, therefore, you have to get ahead of the game.
So, having established planning in advance is a good thing I’ll admit the bit I’m really struggling with: My inner control freak. Once an idea has been mooted -whether a concert, a mini break or a full blown holiday-I can’t help but take the reins and steer. It’s not because I want to make all the decisions (far from it, we Librans are rather averse to making decisions of any kind) it’s more because I hate when things are left to drift. The uncertainty of not knowing if a plan will come to fruition or not causes my stress levels to rise, so to combat that I go into planning overdrive, getting everyone to commit to the plan and therefore taking the stress out of the situation altogether (aside from the stress it takes me to organise said event, which is often not insignificant).
When all is said and done we are who we are, and we can either choose to embrace the slightly more kooky parts of our personalities and learn to work with them, or turn our backs on them only to find they keep on coming back to haunt us. And so on that note I acknowledge my inner planner, my inner control freak and my inner indecision, and I also acknowledge my not-so-inner exhaustion and take my leave to bed.
I have to admit that today is the first day I’ve been perilously close to forgetting to post something on this blog since I started it almost eight months ago. Whilst one could argue that it’s pretty impressive I’ve managed to post something every single day for almost eight months, it could also be argued that the fact I nearly forgot is indicative of a somewhat stressed out state of mind. And that’s hardly surprising given that in three days’ time I will be moving house in London in the morning and attending a wedding in Cambridge in the evening.
Providing everything runs like clockwork – by which I mean the man with the van and our friend arrive promptly at 9am, all of the furniture easily clears the corners of the three flights of stairs it needs carrying up, nothing breaks and I remember to pack my overnight bag for the wedding before packing all of my belongings into nondescript brown boxes (which will no doubt loiter in the living room for days like a pop up shanty town) – things will be great, but there’s limited margin for error.
On another note entirely today I had my three month review at work. Fortunately my boss has seen fit to keep me on for a while longer, which means the bills in the new pad will at least be paid on time and I won’t have to sell my body on the mean streets of Stockwell to put food on the table. She was keen to point out, however, that there was some room for improvement, so I shan’t be resting on my laurels just yet. She did take me out for a nice lunch on the river afterwards though, so I must be doing something right.
Roll on Saturday, roll on the house move, roll on some time to collapse on the new sofa and R-E-S-T, because I tell you what; I’m already pooped, and it’s only Wednesday.
After rising with the lark (well, at 8.30am, as it happens – but for a Saturday that’s as good as dawn) and completing a 5.2km run in an impressive 28 minutes I returned home to begin the mammoth task of clearing out my room and packing for my two forthcoming holidays. The long overdue clear out was in honour of my imminent (it’s five weeks away, but that feels imminent to me) move, which I’m enormously excited about. And the packing, well, the packing speaks for itself.
Six hours after beginning these tasks I’m typing this post feeling both satisfied and utterly exhausted. I managed to get through every cupboard, drawer, box and bag in my bedroom and whilst it was a huge undertaking I made it out the other side relatively unscathed. A sizeable amount of my belongings are now stuffed in various bags; some destined for the tip, others for recycling and more still for the charity shop. My holiday packing is almost all completed too – there’s a Glastonbury pile on one side of the room and a Florence pile on the other.
There’s something immensely satisfying about having a spring clean, especially in the run up to a life change such as moving house. It makes you feel that you’re throwing out the old and embracing the new and is, in essence, as much a spring clean of the soul as of material possessions. It’s also bloody knackering – if you’ll excuse my French – so for the rest of the day I plan to take it very easy indeed!