Six months ago I booked two nights in a hotel in Ross so we could have a proper house hunting break over Valentine’s. We had no reason to think we wouldn’t still be interested in viewing properties in the Wye Valley. Even if our ideas had moved on, surely we’d want that comparison, that reality check?
We haven’t thought or talked about the Forest and Wye for months. But I started to get really excited about us going away together for a much needed break from paint scraping and sanding. I thought Ross would be as pleasant a town to spend our break as Cirencester. And was excited to explore Puzzlewood forest. I thought we’d be happy to be back and able to build on our first happy memories around Redbrook and Brockweir. I thought we’d feel content in our new life plan progress and leave again fondly. I can see now that I held an outside hope that we’d leave feeling reassured that moving to the Wye would be something we could be happy with, if we had to abandon the move to France.
But Ross didn’t deliver while Puzzlewood was more amazing than I imagined. The Forest of Dean itself, first seen back in August? September? through our most positive and optimistic eyes, now appeared before us a dead end, a back water. The life we’d be supplanting the kids into more like a sentence than power-up parenting. I saw my own depression and resentment of Ben in the lacklustre landscape. I saw us breaking apart as a family when the lack of life and opportunity and joy hit home around every bend in the road.
It wasn’t the place we had convinced ourselves it could be for us. We had been too determined to see the best in it that we dismissed the truth of it. It was nowhere near good enough. Not for me, not for Mom, not for the kids, not for us.
But worse was the nagging feeling that haunted me that I couldn’t trust myself, having entertained such a flawed plan. What was I thinking? How could I be so naive? What if I’m still kidding myself about France? Will we really be happy? Will the kids?
So I requestioned the Ariege, and our new lifestyle. I listed all the ways a life in the Couserans would in no way resemble a life in the Wye.
Only Ben could cut through my self-doubt and fear. It doesn’t matter where we started. We had to start somewhere. And we could never have conjured the current dream out of the blue. We had to arrive at it through a process of research, inhabiting possibilities, scrutiny, reflection and elimination. What matters is that we chose to change the plan. It was our strength of will and mind, our drive that jumped ship. It wasn’t a near miss, it wasn’t a close call, or a lucky escape. What matters is why we chose to move our aspirations on and go further with our thinking. These things prove how well we know ourselves and what we need to be happy. These things show us that we can trust ourselves and our judgment.
So no regrets.
You can never go back when trust is lost in a relationship, you can only move forward, remake your bond. You can never go back to the person you used to be, you’ll only find what you’re looking for in who you have become. You can never recapture the thrill and excitement the anticipation of the new brings, you have to cherish the new excitements mature love brings.