I moved down to Yorkshire from Scotland in June 1999 on a very sunny day. All I had was myself, a red Mk2 Golf GTi full of my worldly possessions, a new job as a software developer just outside the village of Skipton and an optimistic spirit. I didn’t know anybody in the area, didn’t really know the area itself and was looking forward to a bit of an adventure. Look at me – young, dumb and full of something or other:
I sit here 10 years later married to the first girl I met when I moved here (the lovely Rachael), our own 4 bedroom house, a lot of very good friends I’ll know for the rest of my life, have had more jobs than I can shake a stick at, many happy memories from travelling the world, a fondness of food that resulted from a decade of being exposed to quality curries and constant talk about pies (ok, that last part is a lie) and a feeling that while the last 10 years has flown by my time before was a lifetime ago.
The John Conners of 10 years ago had no dress sense, no appreciation of the finer things in life, awful dyed blonde hair, a tendency to offend people he met for the first time (his dry and brash sense of humour might work at the comedy club but left people in the real world not sure how to take him), had a fondness for outdoor pursuits and was confident to the point of arrogance (many would claim well past that point). He was rather self-centred and if I were you I wouldn’t have let him date your daughter – sooner or later they’d walk away mentally scarred for life (he wasn’t what you’d call a considerate lover)! But the one thing in his favour was that he had an enthusiasm and lust for life which many would have described as infectious. He made a point to live in the moment, to savour every second of life and try to make the most of it.
The John Conners 10 years later isn’t really all that different when it comes down to it. He’s more of a refined version of his earlier self. One who can actually take criticism, doesn’t offend people that he’s just met (as much), appreciates the finer things in life, is culturing a nice crop of grey hair (apparently it looks distinguished), shops pretty much exclusively for clothes in Fat Face, still loves the outdoors and goes hiking when he can (although doesn’t mountain bike enough), is still very confident but honestly he’s not arrogant (really!), and having read ‘Men are from Mars, women are from Venus‘ he realised the error of his ways and why his previous failed relationships were all his fault, so he’s not as bad a partner as he used to be (although his wife may disagree)!
But the lust for life is still there and if anything it’s stronger than before. Losing my mother to cancer reinforced my thoughts about how temporary life is and that you have to make the most of it and while it was a tough few years afterwards it made me a stronger person, not to mention making a connection with so many people. I’ve never taken life for granted and recognise that while I’ve had my fair share of bad luck, I’ve had a hell of a lot of good fortune along the way.
When I moved down from Scotland I didn’t really look very far ahead. If you’d told me then that 10 years later I’d still be living in the same village I’d have raised an eyebrow in surprise. I guess as a brash 24 year old I expected I’d be moving all over the world, exploring and adventuring. However while I’ve certainly done that on holidays the lesson I learned is that home is where your heart is, and for the past 10 years my heart has been in the green, often rainy pastures of Yorkshire.
And now to the next 10 years. But since I live in the moment there’s only right now. And now. And… You get the idea! 😉