There’s grind in every dream

I think it’s often taken as a bit of a joke but I’ve always made the point to anyone who suffered to listen that I would love it if my kids never did a day’s hard work in their lives. If all they ever did was pursue what they loved and what captured their souls and made a living out of that. I don’t want to be proud of them for the job they’ve killed themselves to get, I want to be proud of them for the happiness they’ve found in their lives. And to give them that opportunity I need to make some decisions about my own life, about the work I do and the example I set. The last thing I want is for my son to grow up wanting to make me proud because of how hard he saw me working in order to give him his chance. Instead I want them all to know the sacrifices and decisions we took as a family in order to give us the sort of lives that other people only fantasise about – not later, but now. Achieving that dream, our dream, isn’t about working harder. It’s about using our time and what we have in the best way to achieve that outcome. It’s about knowing what that outcome is so that every step we take can get us there. Staying in the UK would make it nigh on impossible for us to give our kids a platform to build dream lives upon – the plan just doesn’t work. But we only know this because we’ve embraced the pursuit of the dream, we’ve embraced our responsibility to make it real. If we leave the Cotswolds for the Wye we raise our bank balance and remove our debts but having ‘enough’ isn’t enough to guarantee our kids a powerful future. They need more than a trust fund to reach their dreams. They need opportunities. The Wye would boost our finances but minimise their chances. The Island of Wight wouldn’t even do that, only put them further away from where the action is. In either situation we may as well move to France anyway – the sole major difference really is the language. We want to integrate and that might even be more difficult on the Welsh border or in an island community. Crucially though, while moving to France might mean a period of isolation or loneliness for us while we dig in as new locals, the Ariege could offer our kids skills totally beyond value. It’s a real possibility that they could grow up with English, French and Spanish fluency. That their world citizen status will give them confidence and our close family give them comfort. That a successful writer’s retreat could give them inspiration and intellectual stimulation and the beauty of the environment give them a connection to themselves and nature and overall a peaceful soul. They could do snow seasons, grow their own food, meet partners in three or four different countries. They could do internships in Toulouse with the space industry or the eco energy movement or study with archaeologists uncovering prehistoric remains or Cathar history. Take roadtrips to see art in Barcelona or Cannes, swim in the Med or the Atlantic, learn woodcraft, small holding, massage, building, landscaping. Their lives can be so much bigger in France, so much beyond what this over-crowded, over-worked and economically-obsessed country can manage. We’ve got a grind to get there, not least the work that needs doing on the house but the work I’ve got to keep getting up for every morning over the next two years. But then everything is possible. Then we can really say we’re practising power-up parenting.

|B

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