Leaving This Life We Built - little girl climbing a fence

Leaving This Life We Built

Leaving this life we built over the last 10+ years is hard. For the last year I’ve asked myself so many questions and dug deep to try and understand what drives my desire to change our life. Our life is privileged and I’ve struggled with my yearning to abandon it.

On the days when my brain feels like it might explode with the voices arguing back and forth, for and against leaving, I write it all down. These are some of the questions I’ve asked myself:

Why can’t I just be happy with this life?

About a year ago I got to thinking about all the things we must get rid of. Whether we should put them on eBay or carboot them, offer them to family and friends. Mostly it doesn’t bother me what I list off in my head, but this particular day I got to thinking about getting rid of ours cars (yes really!) and it broke me.

I burst into tears. I know these are just things, but still it’s painful. Most of the time I don’t think it’s because of the things themselves, but the process of deconstructing life as we’ve known it. Our norm. A norm I don’t think I actually ever thoughtfully chose, just the one that we’ve grown up being told is what we should want.

Those tears sent my mind into a spiral of thinking about digging up fruit bushes in the garden because if not they’ll just get overgrown if we leave them here. Now I’m thinking about leaving here. Argh! This lovely cottage that’s perfect in so many ways, its peaceful woodland garden full of birds, even a den with a fire pit.

Leaving This Life We Built - tent in the garden

How can we leave? Why would we ever leave? Are we mad?

I’m sure many people would love to live in this place with our predominately comfortable middle class life. Why can’t I just be happy with this life? That question hurts so much. I feel my heart breaking, torn apart by a longing to stay in the physical parts of this life, but desperate for a life spent together more as a family.

Am I greedy? Do I want too much? In these moments usually in the black of night, I just wish I could be happy with this life. I long to be content with what I have.

It feels as though we have spent the last 10 years of our lives working towards this life we built together. I thought this is what I wanted. To furnish our lives with these things, go out to our separate jobs, have the occasional holiday.

That night I wished I could close my heart to the other possibilities and just carry on as we are, happy in this life that we built.

Leaving This Life We Built - family portrait

What is the price we pay to stay in this life?

My brain rarely stops chattering, and the night of ‘Why can’t I just be happy’ led into yet more thoughts about our dreams.

What if we didn’t bin off our current life, and just stayed put, what is the price we pay?

This question made me both scared and excited to explore it. Scared because I knew the answers would push me away from this life. Push me to confront my fears. Excited because the answers will remind me of what we stand to gain if we take this risk.

So what is the price we pay if we just stay put? I guess what I’m really asking is, what is the price I pay?

Leaving This Life We Built - family walking in the countryside

Dreaming of another life

For me, my life would likely continue as a mum most of the week, but with the added challenge of two children instead of one. My experience of motherhood is that is can be bloody lonely a lot of the time.

Alone at home with two children, still counting the hours until Nick returns from work. Never feeling like the weekends and evenings are enough. Dreaming of another life, spent all together.

Carrying on with activities and routines that often feel soulless, just there to be done, to get you through the week, done because that’s what you do as a mum.

Never feeling there’s enough time. Time together. Time to myself. Time to do what we really care about. Time spent on things that really matter. Always rushing about, endless to-do lists, but never feeling fulfilled. Satisfied.

These questions are hard to ask, especially as it feels like we have a lot to ‘lose’. We are privileged because we have savings in the bank and family to take us in if that shit really hit the fan. So what have we really got to lose? I am slowly realising I need to focus more on what we have all got to gain.

Photo Credits: This Makes Us Tick