“We’re so lucky to live here” she said.
I was talking to a friend about how lovely it is to live in Cornwall, and not a big city, especially during all the lockdown stress of the past few months.
“I’m not lucky” I said.
Fortunate, yes. But being lucky implies that I don’t have any control over my life. That I bought a lottery ticket one day and and when the numbers came up I got given Cornwall, and a load of other things which make up my life, with no input from me whatsoever. No. It was a conscious choice.
Yes, ok, I’ll concede and agree that being born in the UK, during the 20th century, to a family that wasn’t living in poverty, makes me privileged, and fortunate, and some might say lucky. And I’m beyond grateful to whatever power is out there that I was born when and where I was. But given the freedom that I have because of those fortunate circumstances, to attribute where I’m living now to luck? No thanks.
I want to take responsibility for the good choices I’ve made in my life, as I absolutely do for all the bad ones.
Seven years ago, sweltering in the heat of the house I rented in London for a massively inflated sum, closing the windows because I couldn’t hear myself think over the sound of the Gatwick Express thundering past every three minutes, and on the verge of separation from my husband, I chose to move to Cornwall.
Yes, I had family here, and I grew up here, and I considered it ‘home’, so it wasn’t a completely random choice, but it was a conscious choice nonetheless.
I could have stayed in London, where, for the consulting work I was doing at the time, the money was good and the opportunities for work were plentiful.
Instead, I used all the money I received from my latest contract to pay a removal firm to move my stuff the 250 miles to Cornwall, where I rocked up with no money, no job, and two-year-old twins.
Standing in my new home (still renting, but for half the cost) I looked out of the window at the river Tamar glistening in the sun, the tors of Dartmoor rising up behind it, and I knew I’d made the right decision. I had no idea what I was going to do to earn money or how I was going to cope as a single parent, but I knew I’d made the right decision.
Seven years on and my life has meandered in a number of ways that I didn’t see coming. But every change or development came from a decision that I made, and that I take full responsibility for.
I felt, and still feel, glad that I chose to live here.
But lucky? No.
P.S. Every so often I write a letter to those who want to explore life with me. Themes including (but not limited to) writing, PhD study, parenting, philosophy, sociology…
Sign up at https://tinyletter.com/soozibaggs