The Big Move
Well, I guess things are kinda official now, with most of our closest friends and family informed of our plans. After 18 years living in England, and 15 years living in this house, I am moving back to Northern Ireland, albeit renting, not buying. Oh and yes, don’t worry Nicola (and Guinness the cat) are coming too.
I must admit things have moved pretty quickly since the thought entered my head (around 2 months ago), however we had been discussing a fresh start since the summer when we looked at potentially moving to the Peak District.
When I wrote my last post we were actually over in Northern Ireland checking out some properties, however we have had to keep things quiet while Nicola sorted out some bits and pieces with work. Now removal vans are booked, our ferry tickets are printed and our house goes on the market to rent in a few days. It’s all quite real now. All being well we should be moved in fully the last week of January 2016. Just in time for the famous Northern Ireland summer 😉
Focus on the Important Stuff
One reason for moving back is to allow me to be closer to my dad. We will still be around 90 minutes away, but at least on the same land mass. I’ve felt quite disconnected from his situation of late and really want to help out more and indeed spend more time with him and mum. I’m really looking forward to being being able to jump in the car and go see him at short notice. I know they are excited about this move too. Of course, as parents, they are concerned if we are doing the right thing, but also excited.
The main reason for moving back is to help my wife, who suffers considerably from depression as well as severe anxiety disorders. I won’t go into too much detail but suffice to say that while she has suffered these issues for many years, the past 6 months have been complete hell for her. I have no doubt that what perhaps set this latest spiral into motion was my change in circumstances, however we now both realise these issues were bubbling under the surface for quite sometime and would have appeared at some point in the future – most likely just after we had booked tickets for our planned 2 year travels.
I’ve always maintained that such a significant problem like this needs dedicated focus to start to resolve. That dedicated focus cannot be achieved when the normal everyday duties such as a full time job are eating into your time.
A full time job focused on getting better
I could not think of a more worthwhile way to spend your time than focused on getting better. Sure from a financial situation, and certainly for those looking from the outside, we will now have committed double jeopardy on the job front in a short period of time. We just got our 2014/2015 tax forms back and it’s certainly a large chunk of money being given up. Without a lot of spare cash or savings squirrelled away I can honestly say however that this significant drop in money has me worried not a jot. My focus of concern is for my family.
I would also argue that money, possessions, status and security are completely meaningless without first and foremost health and happiness for yourself and the people you care deeply about. I think part of the issue that we have as a species is that we rarely focus on the really important stuff, making excuses while burying our heads in the sand to avoid difficult choices. I know this move won’t be easy, and in fact the move alone won’t solve all of the issues. Nicola has already had some serious concerns about leaving everything she has ever known. (she grew up less than 4 miles from where we live right now). Even I am not 100% sure this is the right move, however I do know 110% that doing nothing is the wrong choice.
And the Photography ?
For the duration of the move I’ll be taking a bit of a step back from the sports photography with Action Plus, although I’m hopeful to utilise some cheap tickets from Belfast to perhaps cover a few games over the coming months. I also hope to pickup some jobs back in Ireland, but of course the global demand for such images isn’t really there. I’m extremely grateful to Stephen and team at Action Plus for giving me my opportunity in this industry and I know I’m going to miss doing the regular sports work, however I’m happy to let other more important factors drive the direction of our lives at this stage.
Outside of the sports work I’m actually in a bit of creative rut at the moment. Part of the original plan when I made this move, almost 6 months ago, was to spend at least 7-10 days per month travelling to different parts of the UK. For some of the wildlife projects I am working on, along with quite a flat and at times uninspiring landscape, I knew that to grow as a photographer I needed to focus on other locations.
Mostly this travel has not been possible, mainly as I want to stay local to support Nicola through this very difficult time, but also, rather than spend 7 days travelling doing photography, I’ve spent part of that time per month back home helping out with dad. This enforced extra time spent locally has actually had a negative effect on my creativity, and while I realise there are unique opportunity for photography in East Anglia I feel I need to step outside and away from what I know, even for a short time.
Being mindful of the now .. this very moment
We have agreed a 6 month rental and that is all we are focused on. What happens after that will come to pass. Our property is located right on the beach on the North Antrim coast. I’m excited about photographing the area. I’m also looking forward to putting my face into the wind. Holding her hand. And working through this together. For now the most important thing is my family. I love them. When they are broken, I too am broken. When they cry, I cry too.
Without them … I am nothing.