I bought my first flat seven years ago, and tonight is the last night that I’ll spend in it. It feels a bit emotional for many reasons. I guess it’s like moving on from a first love, although I’m not having an affair, as my title may imply, I’m certainly moving on to a new love, and I wanted to capture my feelings for my old one, whilst it’s still familiar.
I bought my flat when I was 27, having been through, at the time what I described as a 1/4 life crisis. I was just about a year out of a difficult and tempestuous relationship, and I had also moved on from a career that I thought was going to be for life. Teaching is considered/was considered as a career for life, and I was devastated when I realised I wasn’t satisfied and wanted more. Sometimes the most difficult decisions are the best ones, and once I made the decision to leave the teaching profession, I literally didn’t look back. The ill-fated relationship was intertwined with teaching too, and it was a difficult one for me to get out of, but essential for me to leave in order to grow and develop as a person. I’ve heard many a wise businessman say that Strategy in a business context is about working out what a company shouldn’t do, as much as what it should, and I knew that that relationship was wrong for me, along with my career choice. So at 26, I left the world that I knew and embarked on a new adventure. I took a risk, and got a huge amount of happiness and fulfilment in return, culminating in buying my first flat a year later.
That was seven years ago, and so much has happened in that time. I’ve had numerous different flatmates, who were all lovely on the whole, with one exception. Those of you who know me, will know who I am referring to. Meeting this man on a bus, and then inviting him to live with me, was probably not my finest hour! My over developed sense of empathy tainting my better judgement once again! But I’m a firm believer in learning by mistakes, and I certainly learnt my lesson with that one (even if I facetiously blame the Alpha course for making me even more charitable than usual).
There have been so many fun times too: My moving in party where the next door neighbour knocked on my door in his dressing gown to tell me to keep it down, numerous cigarettes smoked out the window with numerous friends and numerous bottles of wine being drunk, my poor brother being woken up by Maximo Park blaring out of my stereo after school night nights out, random people coming back for ‘parties’, playing the guitar really badly, singing really loudly/badly, having to call an emergency plumber whilst trying to stop the water gushing out of my radiator when I tried to bleed it at midnight, my Christmas gatherings and laughing until it hurt. I could go on and on.
There have been serious and sad times too. The serious times were mostly of the “What am I doing with my life nature”, or working on MBA assignments until the early hours, and the sad ones were mostly to do with losing people that I cared deeply for. One in particular though, I know will be looking down at me, “like he was in the next room”, ‘deligthed’ with what I’m doing and where I’m going.
252 Chiswick village has been a haven for fun and love I suppose. Deep friendships have been curated and love has come and gone. I’ve felt settled here yet transient. (Perhaps a metaphor for my life). So this feeling of sadness is natural. It’s natural to feel sad about something you’re leaving behind, or someone that’s left you behind, and I think I tend to suffer from that more than most, having lost my mother at a young age, but expressing the feeling, and knowing that my track record has meant that in leaving something behind, however hard it may be, I usually come up trumps, I have faith that in the long run, this can only be good.
So here’s to my next seven years. I doubt there’ll be an ‘itch’ for a while in my new home, but who knows. The number 7 is usually considered lucky, and I’m moving to number 21, which is the ‘key to the door’, so here’s hoping what’s behind that door is as good as what’s gone before the door I’m leaving behind.