“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
I’m waiting, these days, to hear whether I’ll be moving within the week. In the last fortnight, the two friends we’ve lived with since discovering this dreamy, alpine retreat have returned to France. We’re back to the UK for a visit in August and hoping to escape rent bills on top of travel expenses, so it’s time to go. Meanwhile, this lovely place has been put up for sale. Leaving early wouldn’t really be an issue if it weren’t for the fact we signed a fixed term lease, locking us into payments until the house is sold or the tenants replaced, but life’s a learning curve. And if we’d planned for the unanticipated, we would never have ended up living here at all, so I don’t regret it.
The cottage rattles emptily at the moment. It’s also, now the season’s changing, colder than any house has a right to be. But I’ll be so sad to leave it. Leaving conjures feelings the antithesis to those that flavoured the post I wrote when I was about to move here – Home Sweet Home. But I am still excited about the future, still hopeful, just in a more subdued way. I’ve achieved so much of what I set out to do while living here – I’ve built up the business over the last six months, I’ve launched a website, engaged with wonderful writers, edited valuable work. And I’ve written the-book-to-be. Admittedly, every waking hour that’s not spent working is being spent rewriting the damn thing, but I’m still on track to publish this year. So all the big bits of life are where I wanted them.
So why the melancholy? Although I like to be on the move, I don’t like moving. It takes so much time, so much effort, there’s so much mess, and I *hate* packing. Thankfully, a wonderful friend is taking us in, but we’re losing a place of our own and I don’t know when we’ll have another. I’ll miss my window seat study. I thought we’d be here longer, be more settled. I thought many things. I thought this was my perfect pad, a utopian dwelling where everything would go right and nothing wrong. Instead, many things have gone the least helpful of ways.
Queenstown is a funny and unique place. It’s a high-octane, beautiful bubble full of comings and goings. Everyone’s on an adventure. That makes it an exciting place to congregate, and those who hang about feel a real sense of achievement just for being here above a couple of days. After a week, they call themselves ‘local.’ But there’s a saying here, ‘No one stays.’
Do you embrace change? I try to. Sometimes, I crave it. A change can be as good as a rest. It’s a fresh start, a new beginning. It’s freedom. Other times, it’s unwelcome. It’s exhausting.
You can’t always hold onto the people and places you want to. The main thing is to recognise and cherish the value they’ve brought to your life, rather than bemoaning their loss. The winds of change mess up all sorts of things, but they can’t sweep away the memories you choose to keep. Choose to keep the good ones.