Friday, 7 February 2020

Dreaming of The Good Life

As a child and teenager I was relatively normal. I come from a privileged background and was extremely lucky to be given lots of wonderful things but in terms of who I was and what I wanted I think I was fairly normal. We all have our little quirks, the things that make us us but day to day I was like any other young girl of our generation. I loved fashion and clothes and as soon as I was 14 and allowed out to Liverpool on my own I would spend nearly every weekend at Primark, H&M and other cheap fast fashion stores. I bought make up and beauty products in huge quantities and spent hours in front of the mirror after school perfecting hairstyles, eyeliner flicks and red lipstick. I consumed at the rate I was told was normal. I enjoyed everything our culture told me I was entitled to enjoy.

As I grew older I started to dream about living in a big city like New York or London. Having a job that allowed me to buy designer shoes, handbags, clothes and luxury make up. I wanted to live the high life with cosmos at the bar like the Sex and the City girls.

Around this time me and my friends started partying. We would have house parties, we would drink, we would go into Liverpool to go to night clubs and we'd do it all clad in bought that day cheap and sparkly fashion. It was a fast world of bright lights, hazy drunken dancing, too tight dresses that you couldn't go to the loo in, boys that wouldn't leave you alone and the inevitable holding onto your drunk friend and trying to safely deposit her in a taxi home. 

After my gap year I moved to Birmingham and carried on exactly the same. I partied, I shopped, I consumed and thought little of any of it. But I'd been unhappy on my gap year. Things had happened that made me question what life was really about and what would truly make me happy. I pushed them to the back of my mind, carried on living as I was living convinced that once I had a job, money, more stuff it would all fall into place. 

But Birmingham was unhappy too. I found I didn't want to party anymore, I didn't want to drink and the clothes and make up I kept buying didn't make me feel any better. I didn't enjoy studying or working in events management. I didn't enjoy the stressful work place, the long hours into the night or the ridiculous amounts of money that were being spent on things that would last one night. I was confused, I felt alone and I didn't know what I wanted anymore.

I was lucky in Birmingham. My Auntie lived a few stops away on the train and her flat was a safe and quiet haven. A place full of home made food, cosy sofas and quiet nights in. I retreated there a lot during that year and it was one of those evenings that she introduced me to The Good Life, an old 1970s comedy TV show following the lives of a couple called the Goods. On his 40th birthday Mr Good starts to wonder if this is all there is. Is life just about a mediocre job, paying the bills, going to dinner at the neighbours and wearing the right clothes. In one evening they decide to turn their life upside down and become self-sufficient. They turn their suburban home into a homestead with chickens, vegetable patch, pigs and goats. It's a hilarious TV show and if you haven't seen it please go and watch it. 

I remember being completely enthralled. Amazed that people could decide they weren't going to follow the standard way of living and instead would step out on their own to do something spectacular. It ignited a passion in me for something more, something different. As the years went on and the jobs, university and standard life started to feel more and more wrong and my passion for something different grew. I met my husband and he shared my loved for all things nature, quiet, slow and green. He encouraged me to seek the unconventional, to follow my dreams and believe they could happen. 

And so here I am a few years later. Working from home, pursuing a slow life as a writer, blogger and running a small craft business. This year I am starting to grow my own fruit and veg, only a small amount but it's  a start. My big dream is a farm house in the countryside, a few acres of land and becoming as self-sufficient as we can. I want big vegetable patches, fruit trees, chickens, horses, dogs and a gaggle of foster and biological children that know the importance of taking care of our planet, appreciate spending time in nature and are connected to their food and where it comes from. 

I dream about opening our doors to anyone and everyone who might need it. To use nature, animals, growing food and creativity as therapy for those who are hurting. I know we are a long way off but we plant the seeds now. My chronic illness was a total curveball but it's forced us to remember what is important in life, to re-evaluate the things we want and to start to work towards the big dreams. 

A few years ago I never would have believed I'd be working from home, writing, studying, running a small business, growing veggies in my garden and cuddling a retired greyhound. This is the beginnings of the good life I always dreamed of. It will take a lot of hard work to get to where I want to be but the journey is just as important as the destination. These years have taught me so much and have given me an inner strength to fight for what I want in this life and to keep dreaming of the good life. 


1 comment

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