Living the dream

B| Things have never been better for us, despite what’s gone before, and regardless of the fact we’ve even committed to and then, after exploring thoroughly, discarded what feels like several further dream plans. Because things have never been this free before. But with my grateful-and-sorry alarms tripping every now and then into overdrive (accompanied by the self-deprecating “I’ve not had a job for …”) what I feel most right now is an urgency, a need to grapple with our future and get started properly on hammering our next chapter into shape. Not being able to leap forward with both feet is frustrating, never mind how busy we are just ‘being’ at the moment.

~J Our days are spent largely as they would have been spent in Cascade de Reves our French chambres d’hotes. I come downstairs to catch up with Ben’s latest brainwave. We bounce ideas off each other, deconstruct, analysise and reflect, counsel each other, develop plans sparodically throughout the day, like two tides crashing together, merging white horses before rushing away again. We have the time together and headspace now for more fully formed, better ideas and plans, for business, for educating the kids, for parenting, for writing projects, for our next move, for useful schedules. We take lots of baths. Driving is just for fun.

B| Yesterday I saw a job ad for a Press Officer with the National Trust. A year ago this would have been my dream – and in fact I was almost in a similar job at English Heritage just last October, having put my all into two interview days. I stood looking out the back door at the sun filled expanse of our garden and thought, ‘Should we stay? If we can make anything work (which we can) why don’t we try and make this work?’. I’m sure the job would be great, for at least 6 months. I could believe in it, and push forward with a lot more passion than I’d done in a long time. But what about the cost? No taking kids to nursery, and no post-nursery countryside saunters, with third chidler pinned to my chest and sleeping. No space to explore those ideas, those poems, those opportunities. The gig I’ve just won doing video games reviews (and the cargo-load of tech I’ve got people to send me in order to make it possible) would be out of the question. Even more pressure on the two of us when all three little people are sprouting like power grains into interesting and challenging shapes. No room for me and Jen to bond, to grow. We had a dream in mind just a year ago but honestly until now I certainly didn’t know what a dream life was really like, and what it really provides.

~J We are used to committing to our vision, our projects, our goals, but now we have to commit to the life we’re actually now living. To commit to doing and sacrificing whatever it takes, to preserve this new found dream life. To commit to Ben never again going out to work. Because that’s the only thing that has changed, has brought about the life we expected to start once we had moved to France. But the house we’re in hasn’t changed. The weather outside is just the same. But Ben is home. Now there’s no going back. The happiness of our marriage and children depends on us continuing to be this complete unit. Life is not suddenly easier, but it is finally in balance, and so it feels right. Ben has never been more comfortable in his own skin. I’ve never seen him more relaxed. The children have never been happier.

B| I wanted to start this blog, nearly 18 months ago, because I knew we would learn things along the way or experience things that we could learn from time and time again, and I didn’t want them to slip through our fingers. I also thought, and this then became our book idea, that what we learnt and experienced might give other people the nudge they needed or the platform that they were missing to do something similar. Now I feel it’s been a record of a long process in our lives, a stripping back and peeling again and again away the layers of ‘norm’ that I certainly had built up and that had been laid on me through every relationship and institution. Eventually I started to feel that whatever this blog was the most important thing was writing it for our kids, and writing the book to speak to them, telling them how anyone can have the life they want so long as they want it enough to embrace the consequences. But now, even though we’ve hardly had time to write it over the past months, I feel that while we look ahead to unschooling and decoupling our kids from a system I’m convinced will begin to buckle and fold in the coming decade, this blog has in fact been a process of reinforcing an unschooling of my own, a way to stop any backsliding into fear or conventional thought. It’s been a form of therapy, and the best kind – not the sort of ‘get you back to how you were’ repair job I was offered after the accident last summer. Progressive change. Seizing the future. Living the dream.


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