Okay, the itch is supposed to be about relationships rather than life, but there is a school of thought that says life runs in seven-year cycles: every seven years or so you change as a person (which would also explain the seven-year itch). Well, I’ve been living in London for just over 7.5 years, and working for the same company that entire time (and yes, I will miss them a lot). Prior to that I travelled and studied for seven years. So maybe there’s something to it. Maybe in another seven years or so I’ll be training to be a chef, or a pilot, or working as a dog musher in Norway! World – oyster – ALL THE PEARLS. There are so many projects in the works at the moment, exciting plans afoot beyond moving, beyond a new job, (although currently being slightly hampered by snowboundness) which I really hope will grow to fruition. That last bit was vague. I will unfog the info as soon as it feels solid enough to be revealed.
All the anticipation for the future means it’s been pretty easy to stay dry-eyed and practical for the most part. As I was callously and cheerfully throwing items on to the Giveaway pile, Coffee Monster told me I wasn’t very sentimental. And he’s right – in some ways, I’m not. I can’t get sentimental about a DVD or most cuddly toys (I make an exception for Ahrthur, my wonky-eyed teddy) or CDs that have piled up over the years. I’m not very good at being sentimental about stuff, however lovely the memories associated with one of the songs on the CD or the film on the DVD. I am sentimental about the written word, though. Books, notepads, sheet music, letters, cards. Ink on paper gets me every time, more so than words on a screen (though those get me, too). Which is sort of a shame, on the packing front, because it turns out most of my life is on scraps of paper and it’s densely filling an awful lot of boxes. Heavy, heavy boxes.
Hate to go…
So it’s appropriate that after a couple of weeks of manic packing and focus and looking forward to seeing my friends without really registering that for some of them it’ll be a long time before I see them again, it’s written words that have started to tug my heartstrings and let the sad, good-bye emotions have their moment. I came close to a cry when one friend presented me with a card, but was too dizzily drunk to get over-emotional. But then last night I met up with Miss P, and she presented me with my very first Moleskine notebook and a list of the best cafes in Newcastle. And a card. I love the presents, but the card… well. I wept a little weep, on the bus, on the way home. This even though I’ll probably see her about as much as I already do, once we’ve moved. That sounds like a joke, but it’s sad fact. It’s the London effect. I’ve got friends who have moved here that I see less than I ever did when they were travelling in semi-regularly for a weekend visit, because we’re too disorganised to make the trip across the city.
… love to leave
But despite being sad that I’m leaving people, the upside is that knowing that there’s an end-date can make almost anything bearable. So despite the work involved in moving, I’m a far calmer, less-crabby person at the moment that I normally would be. The usual irritants no longer rub. Knowing there’s an end-date means I’ve stopped really caring that our upstairs neighbours think it’s appropriate to have full band practice in their mid-floor flat (a recent development) because in a couple of weeks, that’s going to be the next tenants’ problem. I’ve stopped caring about the way the window rattles horrendously every time anything larger than a mini drives past, and the fact that the water pressure is dying in the hot-water tap. I’ve stopped glaring at the kitchen ceiling every time I walk into the kitchen because I no longer care if that plasterboard panel is sagging eversoslightlymore than it was two hours ago.
All the things that made me sigh and wonder how-in-the-hell we were going to find a decent place that we could afford, a place with space and no leaks and decent insulation, in a city that is becoming less and less affordable: they aren’t an issue anymore. I’ve even stopped getting too annoyed by my crowded commute (bar one particularly bad morning) or the way people spill and leave coffee all over the side in the kitchen at work. Nope. No skin off my nose anymore.
Two weeks and we’re off and pitching the next year’s fortunes to the northern devils – because who listens to pithy advice about devils and which one’s better, anyway?