Only once have I moved somewhere to follow a job, and that was as a young newly qualified teacher who needed year of experience under my belt, so for the sake of ten months it didn’t really matter to me where I went. It was pretty dull, but a means to an end and since then I would never dream of moving somewhere I hadn’t chosen purely to follow a job. I’ve always lived in places that I want to live, places that I chose. But I’m very aware that this isn’t really the norm. Almost everyone you meet is where they are because either them or their partner has followed a job. I guess to most this seems like an obvious life choice, go where you can earn money, but it strikes me as surprising how highly people place jobs and careers on their list of priorities, and I’m intrigued as to why more people don’t consider where they would like to be and their quality of life as a lot more important. Indeed an astonishing number of people you meet have reached retirement having lived in a mediocre town that they simply tolerated rather than enjoyed, for the majority of their working lives. A two week holiday once a year is their only chance to escape to somewhere they enjoy. Fifty weeks of slog for two weeks of reward just doesn’t seem enough to me.
When I moved back to the Alps many years ago and got a teaching job, I lost track of the amount of new colleagues who asked me “So is your husband working here?” And oh the strange and bewildered looks I got for saying that no, my husband didn’t have a job here, I had chosen to move here!
Of course there are the obvious drawbacks to simply following your desires, and being reckless often doesn’t work out for the best, but sometimes I wonder whether people focus too much on money, jobs and careers, and forget that their own happiness also counts. How many people stop and consider whether they actually like living where they do? Or have they just grown accustomed to it, and aren’t brave enough to think about changing? I spend a lot of time considering these things, and like to think that I’ve found a healthy balance. I love my job, and could be doing exactly the same thing in a place I hate, but instead I chose to explore my options, and I discovered to my delight that there was a way of doing what I love, in a place I love.
My thoughts are, you only live once, so make the most of it…