Well that all sounds a bit dramatic doesn’t it. The truth is, it’s been a while since I’ve even thought about dreaming and what might or might not be in the future.
When you go through a big change in your life, be it a traumatic break up, major house renovations, house move, change of job, change of career, change of country, or perhaps a perfect storm of several of the above all at once, your brain switches into practical/survival mode to keep you ticking over.
Your focus is intense, and complex logistics are processed with ease. There’s only one way through, which is to keep your head down and not stop for anything. You balance many things in one go, to-do lists of biblical proportions are tackled with gusto and you barely stop to breathe, let alone look further than the end of your own nose. Stopping means thinking, which is debilitating and often upsetting.
There comes a point, however, when you realise that not only is this pace unsustainable, but also that actually, most of the hard work is behind you. The final bowline still remains but the signs are good and progress is being made.
You realise you’ve achieved (almost) everything you set out to achieve, which is exhilarating but strangely scary when you look back to how stuck you had to get before you made the break. In fact, not only have you achieved it, but it’s gone better than you could ever have hoped for. You think back to the things you put on your perfect day list, and most of them are there.
This point arrived on Wednesday night. I went out for a run with a new club, somewhere very near where I now live, but not somewhere I’d been before. I knew everyone would be faster than me, which wasn’t a problem, but it still hit quite hard and I wasn’t prepared for the way I felt. An old sense of panic began to rise, and the first hill came quite quickly which is always a problem for me. However I was with someone who I desperately didn’t want to wobble in front of, and I managed to keep it under control. It had been a while since I’d had to do this, but last time things were very different and I took some comfort from this.
Gradually the hill was over with, and the mountains started to open out in front of me, seemingly a long way off but in reality not so far away. It was a beautiful evening, the sun lit up the hills around me and I really didn’t want to run any more. I wanted to stop and breathe and think and chat and look around me. But I managed to keep going, walking far more than normal, as my lungs slowly warmed up and I began to feel much better.
(the picture above isn’t where I was running but I was looking in the same direction, out towards Loch Lomond)
The rest of the club was miles away by now, but a sneaky shortcut soon brought us back together, as well as providing great lungfuls of whisky from the local distillery which was a very pleasant distraction. Before long we were running downhill again and I was enjoying myself, while cursing my legs for not being able to go as quickly as my head wanted to run.
I stopped to watch a beautiful chestnut horse having a jolly good wriggle to scratch his/her back. It looked very satisfying, and I thought about what it must be like being a horse (or a greyhound for that matter) and having nothing more pressing in your day than scratching an itch.
We started to reach some houses, and suddenly I found myself standing outside what was almost my perfect place to live.
For such a long time, the dream was to live where I am now, in fact it was just to get here, get my boxes unloaded and register for my course and start meeting new friends and work out what my timetable was going to look like so I knew whether I’d need a dogwalker or not.
It’s hard to picture the Hollywood Hills while up in the Campsies, especially given the typical climate here, but the sprawling modernist mansions featured in films like The Limey and Mulholland Drive have always held a strong pull for me. I used to spend far too long on Wowhaus, and Grand Designs was not to be missed under any circumstances.
The house and the top of the street had that kind of vibe, secluded and spacious but with a panoramic view of the hills and the valley beneath it. Or rather, I guessed it had such a view as it was so tucked away.
Thinking of the perfect house and creating a home there has always been difficult, for a variety of reasons which run too deep, even for this blog.
I felt a slight movement beneath my feet as I started to look into the future, rather than just being in the present. My head span a little bit, and I don’t think it was to do with the running. It took me well into the next day before I could really process what I was feeling, and I realised that I’d now moved onto a new phase. One where I need to start daydreaming again, and contemplating what the next phase will be.
My initial determination that I wouldn’t think too far into the future is no longer appropriate, although it was entirely correct as a self-preservation strategy this time last year.
The term paradigm shift is now overused and cliched, thought of as a very significant big dramatic thing, but in my experience, those of the non-scientific variety are often very small and subtle but with big consequences. Sometimes you don’t even see them until you look back on events with the crystal clear vision that only hindsight can give you. But when you do, you realise you can pinpoint the exact moment where things changed.