Monday, 3 June 2013

Great (lack of) expectations

Expectations are funny old things.

When we first hatched our Great Escape Plan to leave London behind and move back to Scotland for good, our imaginations ran wild. We talked about the kind of house we would have, where we would take the boys and the family traditions we could enjoy with our wider families.

But that was almost 2 years ago. When we made the decision to move back here, we knew we'd have a bit of a wait before our dreams became reality. So we made a pact not to wish the next 2 years of life away. Plans had to be kept secret for the first year at least to protect our jobs and we knew that if we started daydreaming about a life in Scotland, we'd soon lose what little motivation we had for our existing life. We don't wear our hearts on our sleeves, we wear our hearts smack bang in the middle of our foreheads for all to see, like giant neon signs letting everyone know our innermost thoughts.

So we tried not to plan. We tried not to think. We made an effort not to even consider our expectations for the new life we were embarking upon. We didn't want to feel let down when we finally made the move, to feel that any idyllic dreams of a simpler life had been just that, idyllic dreams.

But now I think we went too far. We spent so long keeping everything secret and not setting any expectations, that now we're here, it doesn't quite feel real yet.

I didn't imagine how my heart would soar every time we announced an impromptu beach trip to the boys, because I didn't let myself imagine it.

I had no idea how lovely Sunday lunch with my parents would be, because I didn't let myself think about it.

Not once did I consider the look of sheer joy on the faces of my boys as they played outside in our quiet cul-de-sac, thinking they were unsupervised and completely freerange (I keep an eye on them from the window, don't worry - I can see and hear them but they can't see me), because it didn't even fully register that it was a cul-de-sac we were moving into.

Kitchens and tiles were chosen in a hurry, then forgotten about. We were so far away from the reality of our new house being built, that it all just seemed like a concept. Something abstract, not really relating to us in South London.

Even when we went public and everybody, including our employers, knew of our plans to relocate, we still couldn't bring ourselves to dream those dreams. Colour schemes, garden layouts, blinds or curtains, carpet or wood flooring, we couldn't contemplate any of it. It was too big to take in, our brains couldn't process it. Probably because we hadn't dreamt about it and we'd refused to visualise it.

Even the logistics of physically getting the 4 of us up to Scotland wasn't really thought through. We just did it. In the end, not over thinking that part of the process worked out for the best. We had no expectations of what it would be like driving 600 miles with the boys and it was actually pretty good fun (apart from the first 2 hours when they both asked when we'd be stopping for a break every 10 minutes).

I don't really know if our lack of expectations is a good thing or a not so good thing. On one hand, every day we discover some freedom/perk/advantage of living up here that we hadn't thought about. But on the other hand, we missed out on all that lovely anticipation.

Mind you, the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry. Maybe travelling by the seat of your pants is best. Even if it does involve a 600 mile drive with 2 small boys.

Dusk by train in South London.
Dusk by foot in Scotland. 


  1. I can imagine it's a bit dream like, will probably feel like you are on holiday for at least 6 months! We felt similar moving to our house a few months ago, never dreamed we could own a place like this and it still doesn't feel real.

    1. I find myself doing a little dance every night. We're so lucky to be here in a house we never thought we'd ever be able to afford - not in London!

  2. Replies
    1. Tough in terms of stress levels, yes! But then moving always is...

  3. Ha, I so know that feeling! We moved up - from London - to North Yorkshire a couple of years ago and it's only recently it's sunk in that we're not on holiday! Of course we miss the sophistication and pace of the big city but nothing can compare to zooming off to the beach, or the mountains, whenever we feel like it! I don't think that anything can prepare us for the experiences brought about by such a huge life change...

    1. So it takes years for it to sink in?! Well, I guess feeling like you're permanently on holiday isn't that bad :-)


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