The most common question I’m asked right now is whether I’m excited and if I’m being honest my answer is no, I’m not. I am scared, apprehensive, terribly anxious and a little bit sad. I run through a never-ending list of things to do in my head, which go from the less pressing ‘finish sewing curtains for back of van’, to the more essential ‘book van in for MOT’ and ‘get travel insurance’.
From now on all our worldly belongings must fit into several cupboards and a generous boot. Effecting this shift from overly stuffed, tat-filled life to a more minimalist and simplistic existence is turning out to be tougher than we imagined. Along with the ‘to-do’ lists is a map in my head of all the various spaces generous friends and family have offered us to store our stuff. Boxes full of books, games and cuddly toys; unworn clothes and unslept in bedding; tickets from long-ago gigs; childhood photographs; faded cards and letters wishing congratulations on the birth of a child, a new job, an unfulfilled engagement; the floating ephemera that follow us from home to home, continually escaping throw-out as they spark some memory, some fleeting moment in the blur of our lives that we want to hold on to. All this packaged up and sent off to sit in someone’s eaves, someone’s garage, someone else’s spare room. I’m so grateful to everyone that has offered to hold these pieces of our lives. It gives me comfort to think that while we drift, some part of us is still anchored and held safe.
What we’ve been reminded of through this process is just how utterly brilliant people can be. So many folks have offered to help, dropped round with little gifts for us to take away or given words of encouragement. We’ve felt the love, and it’s been humbling. So, although I’m not recommending that we all start leaving each other for big chunks of time to test how strong our relationships are, it’s pretty amazing to realise what a big hearted, generous community we’re part of. It’s also pretty sad to be saying goodbye to that same community.
We’ll be absent for significant birthdays of friends and family this year; and absent from any sledging shenanigans should there be snow. We’ll miss camping trips, and Sunday walks and drinks at the Fox. All the little everyday meetings as well as the big get-togethers. All the things that remind us we belong.