Several times on this blog, I’ve made reference to the fact that I’ve been living back at my mum’s house since the beginning of August and that, as much as I enjoyed the space and independence of living alone, I wasn’t happy overall with the conditions of where I was living. Money was one factor that bought me home. I did look around for other properties not too far away but, there wasn’t much that I could realistically afford.
It’s also fair to say that I’m not entirely happy living back at mum’s and that I often feel ‘confined’ and as though I’m less able to relax and express myself (even if I am warm). I don’t wish to dwell on any of the negatives associated with either situation right now. Instead, I’m going to take a little advice from the author of Reflections on Life So Far and I’ll trying to focus on the positives of where I am and everything I am grateful for, living here.
This first one is obvious – MONEY. Even though I still buy my own food and anything else that I need, I’m paying £150 less each month than what I was for most of the past eighteen-months. That represents a significant saving in itself and, it should allow me to go out and do more enjoyable things.
This has also meant that I’ve been able to reduce the number of overtime hours I work each week, which reduces stress. I rarely worked more than five extra hours before but, it was costing me over £900 a month just to ‘live’ and my basic weekly wage is a little over £200. That’s all I pay right now. I don’t have to pay for any of the services. My only main additional costs revolve around keeping my van in order.
My dog’s a lot happier and she can be looked after properly now. Several people are available to walk her throughout the week. She can get fed on time and, in the winter months, she won’t have to suffer as much with the cold indoors (she has arthritis in one back leg). Where I was living with her, we were quite isolated and I often had to sneak her in to the van and DRIVE to the park in order to avoid a confrontation with my landlord’s dogs. Katie was ferociously attacked by one of them (around the neck) only one month after we moved there and she’s not been the same since. She’s fourteen now but, I hope she still has time to become more ‘sociable’ and less aggressive towards all other dogs.
I’m still living in a small village ten-miles south of the nearest city but, this area is more social and less isolated, which could be useful in time, if ever I manage to meet some people (most of my old friends have moved away since graduating from university).
My other place was an unsatisfactory garage-conversion with hollow walls that lacked insulation. Heating would help to a point, except when the gas bottles ran out (£50 each). In the winter, I would easily consume two bottles a month (£100) as the boiler was situated in a lean-to building outside of the house and, when temperatures breached freezing, it would have to kick-in (consuming gas) several times during the night to prevent any components from seizing up. Changing bottles over was always my landlord’s responsibility but, phew, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about any of that any more! 🙂
I have a downstairs bedroom while both my mum and sister live upstairs. I get disturbances from people climbing the stairs late at night or early in the morning but, there’s always company, which is reassuring, even when I feel as though I don’t want it. They’re not people I can ‘talk to’ and their ‘noise’ does bother me at times but, it might help to prevent me from going insane.
For the last seven-years, I’ve spent a lot of my spare time (too much) tinkering with and making things in the garage… It became quite an obsession; a way to isolate myself and hide away from the frightening world and even my friends. I’m currently enjoying an overdue break from this after such an ‘obsessive’ commitment, with my days out at the weekends. But, whenever I do next feel in the mood to make something or help someone out (not this side of winter) then, it is only on the other side of the back door.
We have a garden here. I had nothing like that before and I would expect one with any flat or annexe-conversion within my budget. It’s somewhere I can sit outside in during the summer but also, I can keep myself active by maintaining it regularly (the same goes for general household DIY, both outside and in). I can usually just get up and do it (when I’m in the right mood). I don’t have to think about driving there or sorting the dog out first.
You don’t really appreciate the importance of street lighting and paved or concrete driveways, until you’ve had to step out in to the blackness at 6.30 on a winter morning and squelch through a few hidden puddles to scrape the thick, hard ice from your windscreen. At least now, I’ll be able to see my work in progress, even after a hard frost. Another benefit is that I can more easily distinguish the front door key from the rest of the bunch both and night and first thing in the morning, during winter.
Looking back, I already have a number of positive points to focus on and this could help to get me through the coming months until I can find an affordable space to move in to. There are still negative thoughts sitting at the front of my mind right now but, having written this now and, being able to refer to it later, it could help. 🙂
PS. I still can’t find those extra 130 words I need for tomorrow night!!