Since moving from the Dublin suburbs to Co Kerry I’ve experienced only two types of reaction from people. The first is to tell me that I’m quite simply mad to leave behind all the conveniences, people and services of the East for the wild, sparsely populated and remote West. The second is to tell me how lucky I am to be ‘living the dream’. Now that we have been here for over two years it’s clear to me that the reality is somewhere in between.
We came here for a different way of life. A slower pace of life. We wanted to get away from motorways and traffic queues. From soulless shopping centres and concrete jungles. We wanted Little P to have the freedom to run on empty beaches, to be surrounded by nature and breathe clean fresh air. We have all of that, we love it and she is thriving on it. But, there is a but.
We are far away from the centre of things and I often worry that she may want that when she is older. Maybe we will want it when we are older too. I occasionally find myself missing certain things about my old suburban life. I miss being close to the big national events that almost always happen in Dublin. I miss services like high speed broadband, varied employment options and the proximity to big cultural institutions. Sometimes I just miss feeling close to the centre of the action, close to where all the big decisions are made.
The gap between Dublin and the rest of the country can seem enormous when you live outside Dublin. Both media and government can appear to be very ‘Dublin-centric’ and that certainly adds to my feelings of living on the periphery. Even the attitudes of friends and family have changed since we moved. I’ve heard all the ‘jokes’ by now. ‘You’re a real culchie now…..’, ‘We won’t be able to understand Little P with that accent…’, ‘Do you actually have cinemas down there?…..’ etc etc!
So will my feelings of discontent gradually fade and disappear or will they just grow stronger and eventually become impossible to ignore? I know that at the moment my love for and my connection to the new home we have made is much stronger than any feelings of restlessness. But that could change. Perhaps some of us need different things from our homes at different life stages. Perhaps, like the idea of only one true love for a lifetime, the idea of one perfect home for life is only a romantic notion.
In her later years my Nana, who lived in a quiet cul de sac, would often say how she wished she could see people passing by her window. Her secluded and private home was the perfect place to raise a family. But when she grew older and her home became less busy inside she longed to see human activity and busyness outside her windows.
So, maybe the blog I’ll be writing in twenty years time will be from an appartement, a tower block or a condo. Or maybe I’ll still be here just a lot more windswept and a little wiser than I am now.