I have found myself considering a move away from Essex for the past six months. Essex hasn't done anything wrong, not to me anyway, but with the boys at the ages of 10 and 12, and with a blossoming romance I'm proud to claim as my own, maybe now is a really good time to consider where we could be better off living?
I started living near Harlow in Essex at the age of 19. Having lived in Romford all of my life leading up to that point, this new area was adopted as my own because of a young lady I was seeing at the time. How often is relocation purely down to a relationship? Next thing you know 17 years have passed and I'm still there!
I have no unbreakable ties to the area but there are some limiting factors that might put us off 'upping sticks'. These factors either tell us it's impossible to move, or at least make it a difficult decision to make, depending on the type of person you are and how reliant you are on the people, places and things around you that form life as you know it.
Supposedly on the lesser side of importance (yet still something I won't be able let go easily) is the kid's football team I coach which would possibly have to manage without me for the new season. After putting in 18 months of hard work to see them improve significantly, it's not an act I would take without very careful consideration.
Moving up the list of relevance, Bobby is doing particularly well at his secondary school; he doesn't love going in on a Saturday but it's mainly sports all day anyway. I have written about Fred and his exploits in the past and I don't think he would really mind what school he goes to.
For me, the deal breaker is letting go of the luxury of having my mum around the corner to help out with the kids. I have experimented with au pairs and nannies in the past, mainly to do the school runs, and some are better than others, but there's nothing like having your own grandmother to take you to school when Daddy can't or to make you a sandwich when you get home from school is there?
After a year of coaching and helping other people make a variety of important decisions in their lives I understand how we often hold ourselves back, some go as far as imprisoning themselves in a situation which they complain about constantly but do nothing to change.
I like the idea of having a sense of freedom, a right to choose and the awareness that I have exactly that; a choice. I understand that the things we feel we cannot do without one minute are often distant memories the next. We adapt and mould to our surroundings instinctively so why would I not ignore the fear and take a gamble, if it is even a gamble in the first place?
First and foremost, a question I often ask in my sessions when helping people gain a different perspective is "what's the worst that can happen?" One or all of us may not like our new surroundings but then we can always just move back.
I like to turn problems into solutions, to find a way around things because there is always a compromise and there are always options you only get to discover when you are actually willing to look for them in the first place.
Taking the kids football team is without doubt the highlight of my week, training or match day, the satisfaction I get from seeing the boys improve would be tough to replace, so I won't! If we move I can make training day my coaching day back in Kent and Essex where there majority of my clients are based and just venture home when we're finished. I could also find an assistant to take the sessions when I am unable to make it meaning I don't have to completely detach myself from it and won't have the guilt of letting them down.
The kid's school situation; well again, Fred is happy to move and sees the adventure in everything. Bobby wants to leave because of Saturday school and it was he in fact who gave me the inclination to consider a move in the first place when mentioning a particular place he thought it would be cool to live. It sounds silly but it was my 12-year-olds 'permission' that made me look at our options.
Turns out there is a performance academy in Bobby's desired destination and drama and performance are his keenest interests, so I would be willing to see him leave the fantastic school he's in, only if he were to be successful in getting a place in this particular school.
The last thing, childcare; how to replace the system that works so well? Just because that works it doesn't mean to say nothing else will. I'll go back to the service from childcare and parent assistance site care.com to find some recommended local nannies and babysitters so I know I'm covered when I need to be and have the assurances the site provides about the suitability of the individuals I'm using.
All things considered, what's stopping us? Very little by the looks of things. Despite what people say, change is good. A chance to de-clutter, domestically, socially and personally. A chance to start again and form the life you want instead of grinding out the one you feel stuck with. We love our life as it is now but if I think we can improve our lifestyle for the better then why not?
Good question, why wouldn't we? Because Nan might find it slightly strange not having Fred knock on her door to raid the treat cupboard every day after school? Because I won't see my friends as often? I can't really think of any more excuses not to go for it.
The boys will make new friends instantly, my good friends and family will want to come and stay with us because we will be in the kind of desirable location people like to visit for the weekend, so I will actually end up getting more quality time with them anyway. Nanny will come and stay but she won't be relied upon nor have her week hijacked by my child-minding requirements.
Thanks for listening guys, you've helped me make my decision; we are on the move.