We are moving house next week. Contracts have been exchanged; deposits paid. The movers are booked. The clearing of cupboards is underway.
For us, this is more than a move to different bricks and mortar but a move to a different life. For me, it is also about coming home.
Mrs J and I have spent the best part of the last fifteen years living in or around London. We have loved being part of this great city; a city which has provided us with amazing opportunities, fantastic experiences and the financial rewards that only London within the UK and Ireland can provide. We have not – to paraphrase Samuel Johnson – tired of London or of life but instead have now embraced new choices and a new life up north – on the magical Merseyside coastline.
We are moving now because our world has changed. We no longer owe our livings to big city firms or the employment of others. Working for ourselves means we can make different choices about where we work and where we live. Building AMJ Comms – to a point where we have great clients all of whom understand that this endeavour is a lifestyle choice, something in which we will not compromise our commitment to be family and home first and always – has made this move possible.
For me, this was a dream that daren’t speak its name; the idea of being able to come home to be among the people and things I care about more than anything seemed impossible. Unrealistic. Never going to happen. I always dismissed the suggestion; where would we work, how could we get jobs like the ones we have in London? Looking back, it was clear that we allowed the golden handcuffs of well-paid jobs in the metropolis to keep us trapped. Don’t get me wrong, we have lived well and been very happy in west London and Surrey – but happy where we have lived through necessity, not choice. We have missed the character and community that comes with a life in Ireland or Liverpool. We have in the last year or so in Surrey missed even more the diversity and personality that comes from multicultural, multi-racial, multi-class living.
Our new life up north is a life built around the things that make us most happy; time and space for each other; closeness to family and friends; roots in a place we love with people with whom we share a values and an outlook and the beauty of a city and a coastline unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
It’s a cliche about taking the boy out of Liverpool but never Liverpool out of the boy – and such sentimentality leaves me open to others taking the well-trodden Scouse-bashing path of criticism and ridicule – but I don’t care. I have learnt one thing over all others in the last two years; life is for living. Living for you. Not for anyone else. Not for your employer. Not for money. Not for status. Not for what others think. But for you and yours.
Life is for living. Doing the things that matter most to you – whatever they are, wherever they are. Life is for living. Living to be happy. Home is happiness.