Lucy and I have been in Devon for just over a year and it has been undeniably hard at times. On the social-media-surface our life generally appears all sunshine and rainbows; pictures of us enjoying the beach, Monty grinning like a lunatic, friends visiting us from here and across the country. We have been very lucky in more ways than one but this avoids the truth of our situation.
Moving as a couple and with pets (let alone kids) is a real challenge. I salute the families that have to up sticks and leave on a regular basis like those in the military. Even more sympathy for those poor souls who had to flee war torn parts of the world, learn a new language and have to dodge Nigel Farage loving twats. But I can safely say that if you are planning on moving across the country then be prepared to work a lot harder than you expected.
And expect to burn out. Expect to fall out with those closest to you and drop into pits of depression when you consider your life choices. But also expect that you will have no choice but to make it work as you’ll likely be too poor or too committed to ever move back. Not that Lucy and I ever truly believed we would head back.
I’ve been lucky to have fallen in to the most stressful job I’ve had with some of the best people I have ever met. Before my current job I met a few lovely people at Exeter University who all made me feel massively welcome (cheers Ed, Hattie and Seb) but the commute and the time it took to get there was just crap. Now I work for the NHS and it’s as awful as you’d expect but with the bonus of working with some legendary characters.
I finally burnt out this week and took the last two days off work as I really had reached my limit with all the stuff going on inside and outside of work. I felt crap for doing it but I really needed to get some help (which I have done). Now, hopefully, I can concentrate on just getting through the next working day, sorting out our new house and dealing with all the other minor stresses like becoming a father and shite broadband speed.
Our first year in Devon has seen some pretty low points. Losing Juno the rabbit after nine and a half years has been the lowest even though I never thought it could ever be. She was the bravest and most loving animal I’ve known and the house still feels strange without the sound of her throwing her toys around. It’s also been hard to make time to see friends here but we’ve both been trying our hardest to make new companions here and keep in touch with the old ones. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to do both a lot better – god knows Christmas has been an additional stress that I could have done without right now.
But I am a believer that what doesn’t kill you will likely scar you for life in one way shape or form. Lucy and I both have scars from Devon but we’re kind of proud of them. We’ve worked bloody hard to be where we are and next year I can plan on making this place work for me rather than the other way around. I still maintain the Devon will be a brilliant place to bring up kids because, lets be honest, I grew up here and that’s worked out well so far.
And things really have worked out well so far. Lucy is doing a fantastic job at work and she has been amazing at home; I am a very lucky man to be with her. Together we’ve managed to get good jobs, new friends and also, finally, a mortgage so that we can hopefully leave our future bambino something other than extreme healthcare bills.
Would I recommend moving across the country to anyone? No. You need a support network or, alternatively, to be single and pet/childless so that you can network freely rather than walking a dog or picking your kids up from school. But you can make it work no matter what your situation is and in our case I am so glad we’ve moved down here.
Because for all the moaning above I can safely say that the starry skies and beautiful beaches of Devon are a wonderful contrast to the chaos of Portsmouth. Our neighbours have been amazing in both places we’ve moved to down here and both houses have been nicer and cheaper than anything we could have got back in Portsmouth. Exeter is a great little city and I still feel connected to the outside world despite moving miles from my past. I feel very lucky and honoured to be living in Devon again.
Here’s to a new year and to absolutely smashing it. Hope you’re good people and remember…
…Never Surrender Dreams
A special shout out to some people that have really helped us since we’ve been here. Firstly to Jim for welcoming me back to the shire and always being ready with some trolling. Secondly to Wayne and Laura for being as confused about life in Dawlish as we are. To my in laws who have helped us move house twice in the last year despite not even living here.
And lastly to my parents who have been ready to drop everything to come and support us whenever we needed them. We literally would not be where we are now without you.