I deliberately adapted this photo, of one of the wonderful sunrises and sunsets that we are privelidged to see living here for a reason.
As you know over the past few months we have wondered whether this is still the right adventure for us; I have fully got back to being me; and this has led us to a better place than we have been for a while. But….
I have loved living here, I needed to recharge my batteries and they are now fully recharged but now I don’t honestly know if this is still the right path for me. I said when I moved here that I wanted an adventure, I didn’t want to just ‘wait for God’; so we did this. But now I am wondering that is this? Is not just waiting for God in a different place? Ambrieres is beautiful, the neighbouring towns and villages are beautiful but I have seen them and for me, now, they are not enough. They don’t have enough in them (nothing in fact but that is for another blog) to inspire; add to that my need (yes need!) to work and have purpose and I will not get that here.
I believe that life shows you the way; anyone who reads this blog knows that. Over the past few months as we have deliberated our way forward I have said how living in the deep and rural countryside is very hard work: you have to clean your house every day, it is never ending. I came out here with the wonderful ideal of open shelves inmy kitchen – not in the rural countryside unless you want to wash everything every day! The garden is stunning but extremely hard work, and as I have turned 56 I have started to ask myself whether we can continue to do this for the long term and the answer is no.
As I was thinking this we visited a client who said exactly the same: they sold up their sprawling old stone house and bought a new house with a smaller garden which was manageable because their life was not their own whilst they were trying to keep on top of everything. I found it to be an omen because I had a similar conversation with Rich as we were driving there!
A few days later on the way to another clients house I said to Rich how I Ioved the countryside but that I had seen it; been here 4 years, loved it but now I needed something more. When we arrived at the clients house I commented on the pretty view and she replied that it was lovely but you can only see so much of it; and because she was so rural there is nothing to do. Again – just as I had said to Rich on the way there.
Now other things have reared their ugly heads, and made me re-evaluate life as they should and they have reminded me how you should treasure every day; never take anything for granted; and that life really is too short.
It has all got me thinking: is an adventure really about moving forward all the time?
I know that you cannot stand still and keep everything the same no matter how hard you try. You can shut all the windows and all of the doors and try and keep the world out but life will still take you where you are destined to go and things will still change no matter how you resist: you will grow older, and less able to do what you could do; your children will grow up and move on; people will move away; things cannot stand still.
So is the adventure about not staying in the same place; about doing what you have to do at that moment in time for your life and then accepting that at some point that will change? We moved here because we loved France, we were both burnt out (I was) from our chosen careers, we didn’t want to feel hemmed in any more. But now this beautiful house and our surroundings have replenished me; I no longer feel burnt out, I don’t feel hemmed in; but as a result of that I have changed again and now this may not be enough; and I feel ready to go back to something with more life than where I am. Not full on but somewhere in the middle.
When we chose our house we were moving from a beautiful house with a very small garden,and no outbuildings. So we bought a house with an acre of land and outbuildings, and all the work that entailed. We have enjoyed the time here but is this now what we really want?
Is life about accepting the changes that happen, and realising that it is time to move forward again?
So that brings me to my first photo, with the comment ‘Happiness is a state of mind’. Despite what I have said, and despite the fact that we may well move on sooner than we thought, I don’t regret moving here. Rich would look at it as a failure; until I remind him that at the time we made the decision to move here it was because it was what we needed – at that time.
We have learnt so much from this adventure: We have learnt not to be wasteful; that simple things can bring you so much happiness; that having each other (despite all we have been through) has been a blessing. We have learnt that we do not need material things to be happy. We got Wiglet! All of these lessons will be taken forward to where we go next. You see – my state of mind is that we did the right thing; I did not want to continue with the life I had before and I know that I will honestly not go back to it.
And again I have chosen this photo carefully. I love to watch washing blowing on the line. I find it so fulfilling: what was dirty is now clean and blowing in the wind and sunshine, it’s a simple thing but one that brings me pleasure; and it is all about change, dirty to clean, wet to dry, free to blow in the wind and sunshine. Yesterday Rich and I (after having many discussions this week) were out in the garden with the Welshies cutting logs and clearing the garden. It was a blowy sunny March day and I found myself looking across the valley and thinking how blessed I was to have lived here; even though now I am thinking of moving on. I know it will be a couple of years before our house sells, and even a year of more before we have it ready to even consider putting it up for sale. I also know that in that time things may change again and we may have a different plan. So right there in that moment (because that is all we have) I looked across the valleys on a glorious spring day, with my beautiful dogs running around the garden like teddy bears, and I still counted my
I looked at Rich, and he looked as miserable as sin! I asked him was there not anything in the day that made him happy; because at that moment in time I was happy. He replied by saying ‘but you said you weren’t happy anymore that there is not enough here for you.’ To which I replied:
‘I am happy in this moment in time; no I do not think that this is the life I want to follow for any future length of time but right now, in the here and now (because that is all I have) I am happy: I am happy I get to spend time with my husband in a sunny spring garden; I am happy that I get to work with him chopping logs, with the dogs running around my feet chasing the rats and chickens. I am glad that I get to feel the wind on my face and the sunshine; I am happy that I get to look out across that view; I am happy that all the little spring flowers are appearing in the lawn, and that summer is on it’s way. I am happy that I have logs to cut and logs for next winter; I am happy that we have made some decisions; Just because I have made the decision not to stay here does not mean that I am unhappy, or that I cannot appreciate what I do have.’
I then looked at Rich and asked him what he was happy with he looked at me like a rabbit in the headlights and said ‘I am happy that I’ve got tobacco!!!’
Good job I love him!
It is so clear that happiness is just a state of mind. How often do we fail to look at all the small things that are in the here and now because we have made decisions to change things? How often do we not just do that anyway!
So we will continue on this journey but there are new horizons ahead……