I moved from the capital to the North of England 1 year ago and I don’t know how else to describe the feeling in my head except that my brain feels happier. In trying to work out the cause of this, I realised some of it is political stimulation, some of it is how I see myself, some of it is health.
- It’s the heartland: Something spooked me with Brexit that didn’t seem to be talked about much. That yellow bubble around London – an island in this country, completely disconnected with thought elsewhere. I personally want to explore that. I want to understand the thought outside of London. I don’t want to stay in a bubble surrounded by people who agree with me and boost my ego. I want to learn. I want to challenge my ideas. I’ve always felt that way about learning, and I’m surprised more people don’t want to come out into the counties to challenge themselves too.
- There’s still work to do: The north is at least 10 years behind when it comes to equality. There’s a different understanding of men and women here and I’m not even sure the desire to change is there. Again, I could just stay in the capital where things are moving along nicely, or I can see how to take what I’ve learnt and seen progressed there to share insight in these northern cities.
- There is actual peace: You can talk all you want about yoga an mindfulness in the capital, I don’t think you truly know peace till you’re 5 minutes from your house in a field, pretty certain that you could stand there for an hour with no one bothering you. There’s a calmness to life in the North, at least some of the time. Work still (at least for me) is intense and stressful and constant, but here at least the weekend stops. You’re not stuck in a box and there’s no to pressure to go make the most of your £2k a month location, where anyplace you’d go is no further than 2 meters from another person.
- There is diversity everywhere you turn: Yes London has a great mix of cultures, but there’s always a sense that it’s being smushed into a single idea of a single multi-cultural city. I drive home every day through a part of Bolton that could be India if you woke up in the middle of it. I utterly love it. Likewise there are tens of cities all with their own separate history and determined to retain their own culture here.
- I am a human being: rather than a generation rent / millennial / career woman. For all the paths you can supposedly explore in the capital, for all the different people you can dream up and be, someone always wants to but you in a box. Surrounded by advertising and limited so greatly by your environment (namely the costs of that environment), you can maybe manage a bit of creativity for a few hours in a class but ultimately you don’t have the space or financial freedom to just be. Here I see women of the same age and backround to me living a hundred different lives, and all respecting each other for it. Gosh is that powerful and oddly rare.
This article is part of challenge to write a post every week, to share my perspectives and understanding of the world. I work a lot with young women to encourage them to be brave and share their voice, but too rarely do I practice what I preach. If you know me / follow me and would like to see a post on a certain topic, please tweet me @xbluexskiesx with the hashtag #blog52.