Sorry about the cliffhanger. Due to numerous reasons, I wasn't able to post the final installment of the Sleepless in Seattle series. In case you haven't seen the rest and have no idea what I'm talking about you can see parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 by clicking on the respective links.
So where we left it was thus: We'd made the decision to move to Seattle.
Our final day in Seattle saw us having lunch with my husband's boss and telling her that yes, we would like to move there. We rounded it off by seeing one last school before catching our plane and flying back to the UK.
Getting home, we kicked all our plans into action. We told friends we were moving. We contacted estate agents to put our house on the market. My husband told his company to start finding his replacement. I started making plans about my business.
It was all systems go.
But I still wasn't sleeping. I had hoped that having made a decision at last, I could settle down to the practical business of moving, rather than the woolly umming and aahing that we'd done for months and months. So why was every fibre of my being saying that this was the wrong decision? I kept telling myself that it was just nervousness about moving to a new place, that it was normal to feel this way about such a big move. But how do you distinguish between a nervous knot in your tummy and a gut instinct that's telling you it's the wrong decision?
I began to look at the world around me, the British world I had not only taken for granted, but felt didn't live up to my expectations. And suddenly I saw everything with new eyes. The gentle spring days that offer up a soft, subtle loveliness. The friends we have here, both old and new that add richness to every day. The quirky quaintness of virtually everything. The proximity of so many cities all within a few hours, all offering variety. Having Europe and all that it offers right on your doorstep. The BBC. Never ever underestimate the marvellousness of the BBC. The lack of underlying aggression and tension which I felt in the US. The sense of humour.
It was as though blinkers had been taken off my eyes. For so long I'd been looking for perfect. And the grass seemed greener just about everywhere except where we were. But we caught a plane to take a look at the grass. And it wasn't greener. It was different. And probably better in some ways. But on balance, there is a reason why William Blake described England as a green and pleasant land.
I realised that moving was the wrong decision. I figured that if we invested even a small part of the amount of energy we'd have to put into moving and starting from scratch, we could create a life right here that works for us. After one particularly lovely weekend with friends, my husband realised it too.
We cancelled all moving plans. And instead, put into action our 'Create the life we want right here' plan. I will be making changes with my work (more on that later in the year). My husband is going to be putting a new virtual working model into practice where he works at home most of the time instead of commuting into London, compacting his time spent there and abroad into specified weeks. We're changing our house around to use it better. My husband is getting involved in the local community. We're looking at new clubs to join. We're taking what we already have and making it better, instead of starting from scratch. Mostly, we're genuinely appreciating all that living in good ol' Blightly has to offer. It may not be perfect. But it's a lot more perfect than we realised.
I'm still getting the email alerts from US estate agents and a tiny part of me thinks: 'It would have been lovely to have one of those huge houses. And it would have been a grand adventure.' And I do find it quite terrifying to be able to see what our future looks like, rather than the freedom of the unknown with the wealth of possibilities it offers. But this whole experience has made me realise that life can be an adventure wherever you are. It's what you make of it.
Most importantly, I am sleeping soundly at last.
PS - to celebrate the brilliance of having Europe on our doorstep, we're off to France tomorrow. Happy Easter!