I never would have believed that my dream was here…

…just 15 minutes from where I was born. I’ve always been looking for something – a fresh start, a new opportunity, a change, a difference – something that would give me what I didn’t have wherever it was that I felt I didn’t have what I wanted. Moving forwards has felt natural, necessary. Though, when I consider it now, it was moving ‘back’ that first brought me into the path of this dream, when I went back to Oxford to escape a rut and after a period of wilderness found what I’d always been looking for – my goddess, my wife, the woman who has strengthened my own dreams and inspired me to pursue a dream together. Now the two of us have travelled full circle (give or take a few dozen miles) to bring our new family back to the Midlands where our own families brought us up. This past few weeks has been all about cycles, from us celebrating Seb’s fifth with the kids’ first garden party in the week exactly five years on from getting the keys to Jam Jar House to the milestone of a full 12 months since I last went into an office job and the accident, to the two-year anniversary of the conversation (“How’s about this for a radical idea”) between me and Jen that kickstarted this whole dream-chasing in the first place. It’s nearly two years from our first blog post. Our first France plan. Our first argument about what this thing would be, what we wanted and how we would achieve it. Even at that point if you’d told me that I would find my dream, or rather that I’d find the fertile soil in which to plan the seed of that dream, here in a small but perfectly formed miner’s endterrace a short hop from my parents and slap bang in a district many of the people I was at school with came from, I would have laughed. But five, six years ago the very idea of returning, of ‘coming home’ as it unavoidably is, was ludicrous. Back then the dream we were shaping had a definite path and that did not lead here. But as we developed our dream, as we adapted to the shifting of the world beneath us and the opening of doors ahead, in really wrestling with what a dream life would actually be, especially with three kids, we were moving inexorably towards this picture. There are other things we want – a barge life, an eco life, a rural life. But all the other scenarios are based on things we want for ourselves, on desires that I have for my lifestyle or surroundings. This situation, this dream life isn’t just perfect for me as I start both founding a business and answering a calling, or for Jen who can develop her established position into something closer to her heart, it’s what our children need. It’s a dream life for them. Perhaps not the rambling off into the woods, exploring wildernesses and rocking home for supper when they’re hungry sort of dream life, but that again is more to do with what I want. This next stage, of five years or however long,  can be a dream for them because it can be a dream for us and because we can finally, honestly, deservedly give them what we’ve been promising to commit to giving them over the gruelling months and years as we continued to ask more and more of them: Us. 

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