“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. Finding time and space to write can be challenging, but finding time and space to *think* about what you’re going to write is the far greater challenge.
Thinking Time is my regular(ish) letter about productivity, positivity, and (ugh) procrastination, and is dedicated to writers and students who want to get more (thoughtful) writing done.