Thursday, 2 August 2012

Epsom Girl

Have you ever felt like walking out? Escaping your own life? I have, numerous times, and I've tried. Plotting to give the whole lot up - resigning from my job and relocating, or failing that losing myself in a book or daydreaming. My head screaming: “I want a different life! A different home town and profession!” I want the reverse of the Cheers theme tune - where nobody knows your name - and be unrecognisable. To not get stopped in the street or bump into new or old acquaintances. I play this game of love-hate with it. Sometimes I don't want to converse or be distracted, but other times I do, enjoying these spontaneous tĂȘte-a-tĂȘtes outside local shops or inside supermarkets. Living and working locally has meant I've formed a link to more and more people. I never forget a face, (occasionally a name), and neither does it seem I have a face that's easily forgotten.

I'm the Epsom face that never changes. People may come and go, but I'll still be here; my face and physique unaltered. I should be flattered by this recognition, so why aren't I? Because I've yet to accept this is where I'm meant to be, for eternity. But deep down I know it, and even deeper down I'm content with it. The perfectionist in me says this is a failing: 'You're missing out, you have no ties, challenge yourself, start again somewhere else – leave!' Gripped in fight or flight and depression I listen. This is the rescue I need from myself, this will help me, and so begins research...

I can list the places I've looked, believing them to be better: Wimbledon, Guildford, Woking, Bournemouth, Littlehampton, Worthing, Bognor Regis, and Chichester. Every year, the search gets further... These dreams of a new life are never brought to fruition because each time I wake up and realise what I've got. The familiar. Family 10 minutes away, the rumbles of trains and the chimes of the clock tower. London and the countryside on my doorstep. Nostalgia. If I lived anywhere else, I'd miss it. Epsom is a part of me as much as I'm part of its history.

Is the grass always greener? I realise it's not and yet occasionally I hanker after it. When the monotony of everyday life stifles me, I plan my move. I imagine standing on the top of a hill like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, skipping through a new cobbled town with nuns and children behind me. The world will feel alive and music will accompany me. I will be the pied piper. Is this just a fantasy or could I make this real? At these times, I choose to believe the latter. This will be my nirvana. Then the bubble bursts, the circuit is complete again. I'm not a mover or a shaker, I'm a stayer. Why is this seen as a weakness? Is it because under-40s have not been taught how to be satisfied? We think we have to, or at least try, to have it all.

I flew the nest, I just didn't fly very far. It's a documented fact that I've never been able to. My wings clipped to short distances, well within my comfort zone. My flight path mapped out clearly spells E.P.S.O.M. A map I continue to add to as I explore its niches, finding new streets and businesses. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but familiarity is also home.