Friday, December 4, 2015
By Dr Nihal D Amerasekera
It is often said moving house is as traumatic as a divorce. Having done both I wouldn’t disagree. We moved into our present house 33 years ago from busy London. I recall the day with such great clarity it seems just like yesterday. It was a warm sunny autumn afternoon with hardly a breeze. A couple of chirping robin redbreasts perched in a window sill welcomed us to our new home.
With a stable job and a happy family it seemed like the beginning of paradise. The hard grind of training and exams was over. I created a little “Walauwwa” in a leafy suburb in rural Hertfordshire far from the madding crowd as I could manage.
My professional career and the boys education took precedence. My wife gave up her career to care for the kids. Ferrying them to school and back and for the myriad of their activities usurped our time and energy. Their success was our joy which we recall with great delight.
As I look back what amazes me most is how rapidly time has gone. The children have now flown the nest leaving empty rooms , empty chairs and a void that cannot be filled. Every corner of every room brings back a store of memories of times past.
Wherever we went on holiday it was our ritual to bring back a momento. A collection of those adorn the mantelpiece and the windowsills. Reading has been my joy since I was a kid, a habit which has been passed on to my sons. The resultant collection is a fine library. Computers have been my hobby and Apple Macs whirr away deep into the night. Their detritus and wires fill every corner of my study.
A “Walauwwa” , however magical it may sound is not the place for an aging couple in their retirement. Keeping such a place in good shape even with help is tiring and time consuming. We have now taken the hard decision to move to a small flat just enough for the two of us.
Downsizing is a heart rending business. Losing personal possessions specially those attached to important events in our lives is not easy. Throughout our lives we took photos which are a priceless reminder of times past. They were real paper photos that need space and care. It is impossible to retain them all. Discarding them broke our hearts. Much of the books, clothing and furniture have been given away to charity.
Downsizing helps to concentrate ones mind to what is important in life. We come into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. What happens in between is a journey and its memory evaporates into thin air as it ends. After all the next move will be our final rest.
Although I will be moving just 50 miles down south it will be harder to keep friendships with my close pals and former colleagues of 33 years. As adults we grew up together and have much in common. Meeting them now will need planning and effort. The all important ingredient and social lubricant called alcohol will not be at the table as they must drive back.
Getting used to a new apartment takes time. Living in a new environment with brand new neighbours will be a challenge. But it will not be harder than what I have done in the past to move 5000 miles to a new life in England.
Buying and selling a house is fraught with problems. Estate Agents are in a cutthroat business as are the solicitors who like scavengers live on other people’s misery.
Moving house is not the end of life but the beginning of a new phase in my lifes journey. I look forward to the peaks and dread the troughs as I have always done. London is a place of fun, which we can still enjoy. The museums, galleries, concerts and the theatre will fill our time with joy. It is the culinary capital of the world and a gourmets’ paradise. I will drink a toast in anticipation - no more moving house again.