I am having some MAJOR swings up and down about moving house.
The estate agents told me if I want to get this Stamp Duty holiday which ends next March, I need to have found a buyer and a house I want to buy and exchange contracts by Xmas, as it’ll take at least 3 months to process everything. And that all the solicitors and banks are already getting backlogged with so many people desperate to move house right now, so a bank mortgage valuation that used to take 1-2 weeks now takes 4-5 weeks to get done and so on. So if I want to move I have to move fast.
One minute I think fuck it, I really love it there, and I really want to live there, and the kid’ll be fine and it’s SO lovely and there’s a great school and we’ll have so much more space and there are lots of other factors that will decide our future besides race and so on.
The next minute I think no, I can’t, it’s too much pressure to move and find the perfect house instantly and it needs to be somewhere we’ll be happy living for the next 20 years, and I can’t find that so fast, I need more time.
And I just can’t shake off the niggling feeling that I’m wrong about it all.
Deep down, I LOVE Abingdon, I feel a connection to it as similar to where I grew up and every time I visit it, I can picture myself living there. I want to live there SO MUCH. And deep down I want just one person of colour to tell me it’s ok to move there so I can feel exonerated and erase the guilt.
But the more people I ask, the more answers I get that say the same thing. I have not yet found a single person of colour who experienced it who thinks it’s fine to grow up as a minority in an overly white small town. I keep on asking more and more people, I’ve got my friends asking their friends, and I’m just getting more of the same response. And it’s just too compelling to ignore.
It is really and truly making me re-assess my priorities and think carefully about what really is best for my daughter. And of how to weigh up what I want for myself for the next 20 years vs what I want for her. And how much I’m willing to sacrifice. I mean, don’t get me wrong, parenting is all about sacrifice, but to what extent does one put their child’s needs above their own? In what ways does it make sense and in what ways does what I want also matter? There is no right answer here. I’m allowed to want nice things for myself – I work hard and I try to be a good person, and I’m allowed to want a nice garden and a better house. But how much will those things be at a potential cost to my daughter and her sense of identity or her experiences of racism? Such an impossible thing to weigh and measure frankly.
So literally one day I think, screw it, I’m doing this, I’m moving, it’s happening. And the next day I think no, I’m not moving, this is madness, we’re fine here. We just need to brutally declutter the house and throw half of my stuff away to make more space where we are right now.
Side note – Decluttering is an emotional ordeal I am not yet prepared for. Natural hoarders such as myself have an almost physical attachment to their belongings. I kid you not, a while ago I spent more than a week agonising over whether or not to throw away the first proper book I ever bought for myself, River Phoenix’s Biography. He was my first crush and his tragic death was deeply mourned by 12 year-olds the world over. I finally gave myself a stern talking to and placed it gently and lovingly in the recycling bin. It’s been over a month and I still miss that book, and wonder if I made the right decision… There is also a disco ninja hamster sitting on my table right now that I’ve had for almost 20 years and have been trying for 2 weeks to bring myself to throw away. He’s still sitting there on the table looking balefully at me, ready to swing his tiny nunchucks to “Everybody was Kung Fu fighting” if I turn him back on… Serious decluttering for people like me requires a monumental strength of will and time to mourn all those beloved items. It sounds ridiculous but I don’t care. It’s part of my DNA. I literally just love my material possessions way too much. I can’t Marie Kondo it because EVERYTHING brings me joy. Except the hoover, I hate that damned thing.
(Another side note, I’m happy to report there are other members of my family who hoard almost as badly as I do, so I know I’m not alone at least. My dearly beloved Grandma kept EVERYTHING, which is why I now have a stack of amazing newspapers documenting Hillary mounting Everest and man landing on the moon, and King George’s coronation and so on. But it’s sadly also why I have a pair of 90’s PVC plether knee-high platform boots slowly disintegrating in a box in my loft…).
So in a nutshell I cannot decide at all what I want, or what’s best for me, what’s best for my daughter, what’s best for us as a family, what’s best for my beloved comedy disco hamster. I think overall it’s not a good idea to rush into this, and so I might try and take more time to think about it. But of course time is running out on the stamp duty issue… Tick Tock…. Tick Tock…