When we discovered that we were having twins, we decided that it would be good to move near family (we're talking seconds away!!)
For twelve years we lived in Leeds, a vibrant city well known for its clubbing / bar scene and shopping. As a young couple it was a great place to be, we indulged in the nightlife and were happy to be part of the hustle and bustle of a reasonably large city.
During our time in Leeds I was trying to juggle two jobs, one as a gym instructor at for Virgin Active, the biggest, a swanky gym with over 1000 members. The other was as a PR and marketing consultant. So I knew lots of people, but having to spend so much time being bubbly and sociable in my job soon left me with little energy to socialise outside of my work.I avoided going to social events for work and always felt like I didn't really fit in as I wasn't one of the "team". I think people thought I was a bit of a snob or just very boring I had a small group of friends but, and I apologise to them now, I was an elusive friend, drifting in and out of their lives, never really making any firm commitments to them. Now, I don't want those that knew me to feel like I'm disrespecting them in some way, because I know that those people cared about me, it's more of a failure on my part to be a good friend.
The decision to move away from Leeds wasn't really a heart wrenching one. Whilst I would miss teaching my classes at Virgin and my regular indulgences in the M&S food hall, both me and Rick were ready for a change, especially with two little tiddlers on the way. We were living in a 2 bed terrace adjacent to a main road, with no garden, not the most ideal place to live with children. No, now we needed a house with a garden, preferably in a quiet and safe road - it was time to be ouch, dare I say it...sensible
So on a very cold and icy week in December 2010, we moved to a lovely house in Shropshire. For a few months I had withdrawal symptoms from living in the city. Whitchurch is a sleepy little town in what some would term "out in the sticks" Tractors are more common place than cars and an Indian is considered as posh food.
In Leeds, I was indulged with a choice of shops, restaurants, cinemas, bars, even museums.When I first hit Whitchurch town centre it felt like a step back in to the 1980's. It has that battered and bruised feeling of many town centres around the country due to the influx of giant supermarkets and retail parks on the outskirts. How was I ever going to survive, I thought!!!!
My saving grace were my kids, it was through them that I have learnt to love this town and all the many people I have met that live here.
Yes, I have become part of the mummy brigade, most of my friends are mums. OK, the children do factor highly in our conversations, but who else is going to understand when you feel like shit because you've been up since 4am, or are get as excited when your child does their first poo in a potty. But as a parent that support is crucial in surviving the sometimes exasperating parts of being a parent.
Being in a small place allows you to slow down and make more time for people, there is a need to be connected and after many years of feeling adrift I finally feel part of something again.
You know in my last blog post I mentioned that I was grieving for that little girl I once was? I honestly feel like I have been given a second chance to live again, I'm beginning to feel like I'm getting that sparkle back, there's a warmth and energy that is climbing up from my soul and starting to radiate through my skin.
As dramatic as it sounds, it's like my cold heart has been melted, fro many years, being a friend was a chore to me, something that didn't come easy. Now, being a friend means so much to me, having people to turn to is as important as breathing.
To those of my dear friends past and present, I owe you so much...........
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis