Explain Yourself

14 Nov

This weekend has been an exercise in patience. Two of Patrick’s schoolfriends have been staying with us, and “school” is the operative word. It seems that when we’re around those who knew us best at a certain point in life have the ability to always take us back to that point. My husband is one of the most gently confident people I know, but something about old friends seems to take him to a place where he needs to explain his life choices.

Explaining why you’ve left London, moved to “the country” (the London-centric term for anywhere with a population under half a million) and got a Land Rover and a dog is difficult. They’re things that you do because you like them – because they make you happy. There are other reasons, but nobody wants to be negative about the place that people live to their face. Because paying three-quarters of your take-home to live somewhere with crime, litter and both poverty and wealth rammed in your face every day is somewhat soul-destroying. Because my face seems to be at the same height as the average commuters’ armpit.

I gave up women’s magazines some time ago for a couple of reasons. One was the absurd fawning over celebrities. Every issue would feature an interview with a celebrity who was “surprisingly” the nicest person ever, and oh-so-naturally beautiful without a hint of make-up. I kid you not – they would rehash the same actual article week after week,  changing only the name and a few personalising details. The main reason, though, was the unattainable lifestyle that they were pushing. A group of local, identical-interest girlfriends with whom you go drinking most evenings; a designer wardrobe with no mention of a career; a rich, successful boyfriend and acrobatic sex life (presumably after the drinks with the girls); holidays to far flung exotic climes or the Italian Riviera.

Living in a big city feels like living in one of those magazines. Where I am now, having designer labels and the fact that I’m not out every night doesn’t cross my mind until I have them dangled in front of me. The line “you can’t miss something you never had” isn’t quite it – more like you can’t miss what becomes irrelevant.

I’m happy here. It’s just difficult to put it into words, and any attempt sounds like protesting too much.

Anyway, it’s a new week, so I’m setting some goals.

1. Walk 10 miles.

2. Speak to my local Slimming World representative and get signed up for meetings!

3. Finish all the work I need to do for clients A1 and M1.

4. Book a doctor’s appointment! I know they won’t see me for two weeks, but I’m impatient and want to get started.

5. Have a total wardrobe clear-out.

6. Finish off our thank-you cards from the wedding. I’m 2/3 of the way there.

7. Buy all the copies of the Sun I need to get our £9.50 trip to Disneyland Paris! I swear I don’t buy that filth normally, but it’s too good a deal to miss.

8. Write up another honeymoon post.

Busy week! Is anyone else weirded out by the big picture of Jimmy Wales at the top of the Wikipedia page at the moment? He just looks so… sincere.

Is there anyone in your life who makes you feel 14 again?


12 Responses to “Explain Yourself”

  1. Peridot November 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    WHY would you need to explain to anyone why you want a Land Rover and a dog? I would love both! And the rural lifestyle!

    Bet Meg’s liking your number one goal this week!

    And no7? At least it’s not the Mail

    • Becca November 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

      Haha, I know – the shame! I promise not to read any of the, erm, articles.

  2. claire November 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Good goals! I know what you mean about friends. I have it the other way around: family that cannot comprehend in the tiniest way why I would be in London, and continually ask when I’m coming back. They all hate London and no one else in my huge family lives here, or ever has. So it’s rather hard to explain it to them.

  3. Chris H November 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    Re: Women’s Mags. I think you’d like this…


    • Becca November 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

      Chris, my cousin is actually publishing director for Take a Break. Oh the shame! 😉

  4. Jenna November 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    It’s great that you’re happy where you are, and that you’ve chosen to live where you want! Everyone makes different choices, and frequently the only rationale is because it’s what makes you happy. It’s what you like. Thankfully right now my husband and I have very understanding families and friends who have supported us through our past 2 moves–to Delaware for 3 years, and most recently to Chicago where we’ve lived for a little over a year(yep, I can identify with stinky commuters in my face =).

  5. Cat November 15, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Oh man, do I ever hear you on that ‘perfect lifestyle’ bit.

  6. Kat November 16, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    Land Rover, Labrador and Love.

    Trying to explain why you’ve moved out to the country (or the burbs as it were in the States) is really hard when those people aren’t at that point in their lives. Once you’re there and everything “clicks” it’s the best. But until that happens, to others it can be more than baffling.

  7. lisaou11 November 16, 2010 at 1:47 am #

    I LOVE the way you compared magazines with city life.

    I long for a life where a lot of that material stuff just doesn’t matter!

  8. moonduster (Becky) November 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I love the idea of living rural. I live in the suburbs of a place that is not London. 🙂 My town isn’t all that big either.) We have a dog (a collie – having a collie is a way of ensuring that you will ALWAYS do a lot of walking) an dlots of kids. Maybe someday we’ll have that begetable garden I’ve been planning too. 🙂

    Good luck with signing up to Slimming World meetings! 🙂 I love going to mine. (Lately, I’ve been going to two a week, but that’s because a good friend of mine changed the one she’s going to, so now I attend one with her and the other one with my husband. )

  9. Summah November 17, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    Oh my God, I was wondering if anyone else felt the same about the picture on Wikipedia!

  10. Lisa November 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Maybe I’m crazy but I think the English “countryside” sounds divine! I loved everything about England when I visited there. London was great but I imagine I’d get burned out from city living the whole time.

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