I’ve lived in the same house for my whole life, that’s twenty-four years and nine months. The first few days I probably stayed in the hospital and for two weeks in primary school we moved in with my grandma and granddad whilst we had some work done on the house and I spent three months in the USA. But aside from that, I’ve only ever had one place that I call home.
As you can probably guess, when faced with the option to move away to university, I decided not to. I wasn’t ready at the time and actually was quite happy living at home. I like having my cats around me and I enjoy going home to my parents for the most part.
Nowadays it’s a little more complicated than wanting to stay at home or not. Not only do I have no money to move out of home but I also have no one to move out with, so would have to live on my own. I’m not sure I want to do that at the moment. I don’t know.
Anyway, my home has always been this detached house in Bolton where I’ve had three different bedrooms. Once upon a time my sister’s and I shared a bedroom whilst my parents had the master bedroom. Then my eldest sister moved into the box room. Then after we had our house extended and a further bedroom put on the back of the house for my parents, I moved into the little bedroom whilst my sisters had the other two bigger rooms. Finally, when my eldest sister officially moved out of home I got the other big bedroom.
I think there’s advantages to living in the same house forever. I know this area like the back of my hand, I know where feels safe and where doesn’t feel safe. Perhaps I take a few risks walking along a couple of small paths when it’s pitch black, or last night I was dropped off a minute’s walk from my house about eleven. But I feel comfortable doing so because I know this area is a good one, in that crime is generally minimal.
My second childhood best friend used to live up the road (and still does as far as I know, or at least her family still do, though we don’t really know each other anymore) so I spent a lot of time going up and down my street at various times of the day (and night). We’d go and play at each other’s houses which sometimes involved starting at one and ending up at the other. I remember when I was small her mum would stand at the top of the road by their house and watch me walk down to make sure I was safe. It’s good really because it made me feel independent even though I was being watched.
Though sometimes I wish I didn’t have the same connection with this one house. I hear of other people who have moved once or twice or multiples times in their lives, some people have moved from others town and cities not just nearby but on the other side of the country. I feel a little envious because the connection I have with this house sometimes makes me feel like a dog with a rope around my neck. I don’t want to live anywhere else because the thought of not living here is actually pretty scary. Especially when I know my parents want to move. It’s all I’ve ever known and though I dream of all the possibilities, I know that part of me wants to live here forever. Lottery win anyone?
I guess it’s a cushy little place to live – a good distance away from many shops, supermarket, reasonably good bus links, plus a short bus ride from a town. If I ever got stranded in my house with no transport out of here, I know that I could walk to ASDA or a pizza shop, or even pasty shops. It’s all there, within reach.
I was actually discussing this sort of thing yesterday with someone, we were talking about the North/South divide/battle type thing that goes on. I confessed that I am fiercely protective of Bolton, the North West and the North and yet I’m not that way when I’m faced with having to be patriotic. But the gist of the conversation was that I’m happy here, in the North, in Bolton and this is where home is. I may move out of it, I may move further afield, but right now, as I said to Hannah, I don’t feel like I need to. For example, I don’t want to look for jobs in say the South just because I struggle to find one up North. Why should I have to move? Why should I have to move to have a job?
Because really, this is my home and it may not always be home, but for the last almost twenty-five years it has been and right now, that’s all that matters.