Hmmm, this is a hard one as I do have a quite a lot of things in life where I decided to do things which were not actually the best decisions……but more about those another time!
I suppose the biggest “what if” in my life has been the Spain vs the UK question.
My parents and I moved to Competa when I was 14 and a half, I suppose there are better times in a childs life to move but as it was I had to deal with it and having had a horrible last few months – bullying, feeling stupid, the fear of moving, the fear of not knowing the language, the fear of it just being me and my mum for a few months – made me realise I HAD to deal with it, I couldn’t let my parents down, they wanted the move there, they’d purchased a house, they wanted to better their lives so I couldn’t just run away…..this was a DONE DEAL. I may have wanted to but knowing how long the house in the UK had been up for sale, and the sacrifices both my parents made to get us to Competa was enough to make me deal with it.
To talk about it now, I loved Spain, I loved the village, I loved the people and I loved the life but I also know that those rose coloured glasses are getting a wear and that has influenced my views.
I know that there have been throughout my life a lot of things which made me sad, or scared me or upset me but I can honestly say, nothing in my life has ever been as hard as living in that village, trying to build a life, dealing with gas and water companies, going to the school, being surrounded by people whose language I couldn’t understand or even begin to really talk in (i mean basic holiday spanish can only get you so far) and I know that the first say, year of that time was simply a time I hated. I went home most evenings and cried, or pretended everything was fine, when it really wasn’t. I was lucky to have a great group of English friends and also to start building an amazing group of Spanish friends, who just seemed to accept me for me, they never seemed to expect anything of me but fought for me like I was one of their own, which I have never forgotten. The lessons I have come away with from that place are too many to mention, but I know that the fear etc have moulded me into the person I am today.
I came back to the UK to do A Levels (well, to be honest, I came back because I thought I was in love, he turned out to be not great and I had to escape ASAP and thankfully, my Boston family were there to help save me) and I know that Competa Polly had some balls that Boston Polly had never had. I was USED to being the stupid one, so at least this way, if there was something I was being taught which I didn’t understand, I would ask, and ask, and ask until I did understand. I lost count of the amount of times people would say “i’m so glad you asked that as I didn’t get it but didn’t want to look stupid” I’m now not afraid of what people think of me, they can like me/hate me/think i’m an idiot/ think i’m brilliant……and you know what? They’d be right! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I think that this is a great thing about the human race – though the longer I spend on social media, the worse I feel about our chances in the long run…..i’ve met people who simply because you disagree on 1 thing, will try to make you feel wrong for feeling that way or for that matter, any other way.
Anyway, I digress, I love the UK and coming back to my brother and his household again, influenced and made me the person I am. I was having the Uni experience without the crippling debt or (in my case) inevitable dropping out message to my parents. But boy, am I glad I had those years in Spain. Coming back to an all girls school where even then people were telling me I had to have a family, or I had to go to University, or I had look a certain way or to do what was expected of me. Really? F*ck that right away. I’ve never really been a people pleaser but I suppose that is the crux of my argument, that if i’d have stayed in the UK at 14, would I have been a parent, would I have travelled, would I feel braver, would I still feel so alone, would I be as closed minded as some people I left there?
When Brexit happened, I was somewhat saddened to see that Boston had been one of the most publicised “out” areas in the UK and this seemed alien to me. Having lived as a foreigner in someone elses land (used the schools, and the health system and made ourselves a part of the village we were in) I felt that the idea of being “separate” from everyone was taking us as a people back, not forward. I understand that for some, the influx of workers has affected their lives but I also feel that the influx of workers has benefitted as well and to ignore that is relatively closed minded.*
*Ok, now with the above, I may have alienated people, I’m not anti those who voted to leave, just those who voted without research, without consideration, and without thinking.*
Everyone has “What if’s” in their lives i’m sure, and sometimes it’s better to just get on with that which is in front of you otherwise you might miss the fun of now and as you can’t change the past, maybe it’s better not to try and wish your currently life away.
So that’s my biggest “what if”….without it, I wouldn’t have moved back to the UK, built a great relationship with my brother, had a drive to travel, had more empathy for those not from this country, appreciated what we actually do have here (libraries and proper cheese to name just a couple – i know this reads as frivolous but trust me, I missed those things immensely) but with it I have come back stronger, more confident in myself, more independant and braver.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the way life has turned out. But please, if you are reading, why not share your thoughts? I’m always happy to answer any questions and even happier to hear feedback…….what are your biggest What Ifs?