Yeah I know, a bit of a weird thing to be peeved about, but the past is really messing about with my mind just now, and it’s annoyingly pervasive and persuasive in its pester power.
Let me explain. Four months ago my husband and I sold up in London in the South of England and moved to Inverness in the North of Scotland. This was a long-anticipated move, and one we’re both delighted about – in fact, we first met as children in the local area (but not in the town itself) forty-six years ago, when I was 10 and he was 12 and our families became near-neighbours. (I say near-neighbours because we all lived in the countryside, and rural neighbourly closeness is in no way measured on a similar scale to urban neighbourly closeness.)
Anyway, although my husband had moved away from the area in his late teens, I stayed here, got married young (to someone else at that point), had three children, got divorced, and became a working single parent while my children were still relatively young. So I find myself in the strange situation of once upon a time having gone to secondary school here in Inverness, had my children in the hospital here, commuted in to work here, and having done all my main shopping here for years, but never actually having lived within the town as we do now – and it all feels very weird.
It’s weird because I remember places that don’t exist any more, or have had several name changes and/or changes in use. I remember people I went to school with, or worked with, and have a basic understanding of the geography of the layout and yet I’m living in an area of the town I’d only ever passed through in the past on the way to somewhere else, so in that sense it’s all quite new to me. In fact, even me calling Inverness ‘town’ is well out of date, as it achieved city status at the turn of the Millenium, just as I moved to London so I keep forgetting – I still think of it as ‘town’ because to me it’s always been ‘town’.
So overall I have both good and bad memories of a past reality that sit rather disjointedly with my present reality, and an 18 year gap in between when I was no more than a short-term visitor to the area coming up to see my family several times a year, and I find it all quite disconcerting to deal with at times. For example, there was a reunion of staff at one of my old workplaces at the weekend, but I found myself unable to face it so in the end I didn’t go. I know I’m still the core ‘me’ in many ways but in terms of age and life experience I’m not the same person who left all those years ago.
So I find I’m no longer living a London life, but not yet living a full Inverness life again, either. I’m back here for good, but not as the young insecure person I was, and not to the same place or the same circumstances that I moved away from. So I feel like I belong, but I don’t belong all at the same time. In the intervening years I’ve got a degree, got married again, have become a dreaded mother-in-law to two strapping lads and have had six grandchildren who I absolutely adore.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being here so close to my family again, and feel like I’ve come home for sure, but I also inevitably feel a bit out of step with the real-time everyday actuality of the world around me. I know for sure my future here will be fine once everything settles down again, but for now I’m finding the past and present colliding in a confusing kaleidoscope of thoughts and feelings that I’m struggling internally to visualise clearly.
I know I need to just sit with all of this and let it all unravel and settle and sort itself out in its own good time, but I’m thoroughly peeved to be feeling it all the same! 🙂