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Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes: Sometimes You Just Need to Make the Bold Move

No. I don’t have a jammed keyboard. That title is a reference to the famous David Bowie tune. I’ve been thinking about change all weekend...

No. I don’t have a jammed keyboard. That title is a reference to the famous David Bowie tune.

I’ve been thinking about change all weekend – and how we come to make the big changes in our lives.

It started when I had coffee with a friend whom I rarely see anymore. She showed up with her husband and before we even ordered, she glanced over at  him and asked: “Do you want to tell her or should I?”

I glanced furtively at her belly, wondering if she might have some”news” to impart. (My own personal rule: never ask someone if they’re pregnant unless you literally see the child’s head crowning with your own eyes.) But she didn’t look pregnant. She did, however, look extremely happy so I ruled out life-threatening illness or death of loved one.

“Go ahead,” her husband said.

“We’re moving to the coast,” she announced. She was positively beaming.

“The coast” in this case is Cornwall – a beautiful section of rural England that runs along the Southwest coastline. This couple has owned a second home there for years, in a small village right by the sea. The town is about as different from London as you can get:  there’s one main street with a few restaurants, a one-room library and a school.

In other words, this wasn’t just a “let’s pick up and go to the burbs” kind of move. We’re talking Green Acres. You know – chickens, foxes – that sort of thing. They’d already sold the house in London (the very one they just spent nine months re-furbing) and were set to complete (close) by July 31.

What was amazing to me was how quickly they’d arrived at this life-altering decision. They were driving around Cornwall one afternoon in April, saw a “for sale” sign and thought it would be fun to take a look. A few hours later, they made a bid.

“But didn’t you agonize?” I asked. Much as I myself am a big believer in change, I’d have to do a lot of thinking before making that dramatic a shift in lifestyle.

“Not really,” she answered. “We drove to a café and sat down and thought about what we wanted out of life. And we realized – why wait until we’re 60 to have the kind of life we want when we could have it right now?”

Why indeed?

What they came to realize was that, as lovely as their life in London was “on paper” – big house in a nice neighborhood, three children happily ensconced in excellent local school, weekend getaway – the financial pressure to maintain that lifestyle meant that they didn’t spend nearly as much time together as a family as they wanted. In particular, their hectic schedules meant that rather than spending time outdoors  – something that was particularly important to my friend’s husband – they spent almost no time at all enjoying nature.

So they decided to cash it all in. Literally. The sale of the London house will more than pay for the entirety of the new home in Cornwall. And because both primary and secondary state (public) schools are excellent there, they won’t have to pay private school fees until university. Best of all, both of them will now telecommute 3-4 days a week, freeing up an awful lot of time to just…hang out.

I was truly impressed. As we get older, I think many of us live with a sort of “deferred gratification” model of adulthood: someday we’ll lead the life that we want. But in the meantime, it’s so much easier to just stay right where we are (same house, same job, same neighborhood) that we don’t pause to think about what a change might look like.

Of course, sometimes change isn’t called for because we like where we are. And sometimes it’s just not feasible for all sorts of reasons. But sometimes, you just need to be willing to make a bold move when an opportunity presents itself, like – literally – seeing a “for sale” sign on the road. And you just dive in and see what happens…

Image: For Sale Broker by Neubie via Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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  1. Maggie Mae July 7, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    Great post. Changes don’t even have to be all that bold to be life-changing. I up-and-went about 10 years ago. Moved to the middle of the US, from the right coast, for 3 years. It was an absolutely GREAT move. Sure, I’m back… but it changed my life forever for the better professionally and personally. Hmmmm, might be time for another rad change…

    • delialloyd July 7, 2009 at 6:59 pm #

      good for you! thanks for stopping by!


  1. Tips for Adulthood: Five Reasons The Elegance Of The Hedgehog Is For Grown Ups « RealDelia - March 17, 2010

    […] 2. It’s about the possibility of change. Which is – perhaps more than anything else – what defines adulthood, at least for me. Sure, all those personality tests I’ve taken basically confirm that I’m the same person I’ve always been. But growing up is about being open to change. It’s about knowing that  – however sure you are of yourself – there’s always a possibility that you’ll discover something new. Or find out that something you thought was closed off to you is actually within reach. Or just recognize when it’s time to make a bold move. […]

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