Notes from the first week

As I mentioned in my last post, remaking all your routines is exhausting. Even something as simple as making coffee in the morning requires me to use different parts of my brain — I still try to turn the kitchen taps the wrong way when filling the kettle. It makes me realise how I ran my days in Bath on autopilot. I could throw together lunch with my eyes shut; I knew all the washing machine programmes by heart. And that’s normal, isn’t it. Just as toddlers thrive on routine, we tread the paths through our home until new neural pathways are formed. It’s comforting — essential, even — to helping us feel safe. Because home is where we most want to feel safe.

I do not feel safe yet. Everything is so new, and while having my own furniture around me helps ease the transition, I’m still bumping into things and fretting about locking the door. I still got back from a weekend away on Monday anxious to see if the flat was still standing (read: not broken into).


It takes time to rebuild your nest. I’m definitely a homebird. After the book tour I wondered if perhaps I could be location independent, living out of a suitcase and working wherever I found a decent internet connection. But I now realise I just needed to leave Bath. I needed to grow, and growth required movement and change. Being away for a month helped me cut the ties to my old home and inevitably that’s left me feeling unmoored. But what’s helping is remembering how I’ve been in this situation before — many times — and it’s always gotten better.

This is the 18th time I’ve moved house as an adult, and the third time I’ve done it on my own. Living alone has proved to be the most soul-nourishing thing I have ever done. It’s my hope that in the next couple of years this status will change, but for now I am relishing the opportunity to make my surroundings exactly as I want them.

Navigating such radical change makes me wonder where else I can bring in the new. My Google Reader suddenly feels heavy and repetitive; I’m itching to change the view I see through my laptop window. I want to curl up on my sofa and read for hours. I’m building myself up to attending lectures and workshops to feed my brain offline (can you imagine?)

I’m gently holding the “now what?” feeling that’s bubbling in my stomach. I’m here… I made the jump…. now what? I swing between the excitement of wanting to do EVERYTHING and total and utter inertia.

It doesn’t help that I’ve yet to refind my work rhythm. Emails need to be answered and next year needs to be planned out… but i’m still changing my address with the utility companies and wondering where my electricity meter is. Even writing this post feels clunky somehow, the words sticking in my head.


I’m waiting for the flow to return, basically. The ease of intimately knowing my surroundings. Fluffing the flat is bringing me joy, don’t get me wrong. I’m dreaming of the rug I want to buy myself for Christmas, and the vintage lamps and chairs I hope to find down Portobello Road. I know it’s just the beginning, and that beginnings can be bumpy.

I don’t have a neat ending for this post. I’ve barely scraped the surface of what I’m feeling right now… But I can tell you this: I’m so glad I made the move.

More soon. x

32 responses
  1. Tina Tierson

    Oh, Honey, you did exactly the right thing! I know that this is an amazing and exciting beginning of new and beautiful things coming into your life! Your flat looks wonderful and it will feel like “home” before you know it. Keep on breathing, dear heart! xoxo

  2. Briana Morrison

    Your experience is helping me prepare for the move I’m planning for myself. I haven’t changed cities since I moved out of my mom’s house 10 years ago and I’ve forgotten how bumpy it can be. Just because change is good, and exactly the thing you need, doesn’t mean it is easy. Thank you for that reminder.

    I’m glad you’re still content with your decision to move. From what I’ve seen, the new place looks absolutely beautiful. Take your time, we’ll wait for you to find comfort. :-)

  3. Magdalena Macinska

    I love the photo of those autumn leaves gently falling on the pavement. The starting of the new season in life… It’s beautiful you’re attentive to this moment, to its vulnaribility and freshness.

  4. Becca

    I’ve just moved myself, Susannah, so this is such familiar territory. If you can believe it, I have only moved house once in my entire adult life, from my parents home into the home where I lived with my husband for the past 36 years. So you can imagine how my little feet were engrained in the familiar floor patterns.
    But it is so freeing to move, and does make you want to try all sorts of new things. I’m glad I did it. I hope you’ll soon be feeling right at home in London :)

  5. Victoria

    Change is never easy, but be patient with yourself. All will fall into place soon enough.

  6. kathryn

    when I moved to California with my two young girls I think I cried for almost 2 months, questioning what I just did…but it turns it was one of the best decisions in my life and I am looking forward to moving again when my last daughter goes off to college in a few years. Change is not easy, for sure, but ohhh, so worth the excitement and fun of discovering a new place! Food for the soul!!

  7. Emily

    What a gift! Enjoy the process. You’re making me want to capture those sensations though my nest is unmoving and well-padded. Must think…

  8. Gerri Smalley

    Thinking of you during this evolution of “you”… This journey sounds bumpy but I’m glad to hear you are still glad you made the move. Reading your post solidifies that we are human and yes, change can be hard. I’m in a funk, maybe just overwhelmed and a bit exhausted. But, I keep reflecting on what a wise woman told me a few weeks back, “You can do this… step by step…”. Much Love Sweets!

  9. Elle

    I know this exhaustion, having moved perhaps 18 times in my adult life (I’m not yet 30!), and currently being homeless (not houseless, just homeless). I am having a hard day of it today, with all my routines being in the air (also between jobs). I was in need of comfort and came here: while perhaps not comforted, it is reassuring to know I am not going mad, that others experience this too. So thank you.

  10. Kerstin

    As a fellow Aquarian I, too, have moved around a lot. I think something like 24 times in the last 30 years. Your words really speak to me because I am still in a major transition myself (just moved back to my home country of Germany from the US), especially as we are still in temporary furnished housing and I so can’t wait to move into our permanent home and surround myself with our own familiar furniture. A part of me really loves moving because the sense of new beginnings and clean slates is exciting. Nonetheless, it does take an emotional toll, too. And as I age I find that I long for nothing more than a home where I can put down some roots for more than, say, a year or two. Witnessing your journey has been enlightening and comforting, even if it doesn’t feel like that to you, just yet!

    Oh, and it bears repeating, I love those wooden floors, they are gorgeous! xo

  11. chrishoneybee

    I like reading your random posts from time to time, but this one is so “right” for me at the moment :D

    I’m also making a big movement in my life now. Not changing my place of living, but still something very radical… After 8 years (!) of my usual work routines, I’m now going on maternity leave. On Monday I will not go to the office. I will have to build new schedule of my day. And create completely new TODO lists for myself. And start eating lunch at home. And start seeing completely other people around me. And.. all sort of other things which will not be the same :)

    So I can trully understand these feelings of refreshment and joy about this “new start” mixed with some discomfort and “weirdness” of the situation :)

    But it’s all for better! :) Congratulations with your CHANGES :)

  12. Steph

    Important things aside, sweetie, congratulations on leaping anyway and just take your time. You’ll be very happy.

  13. Kathleen

    Oh, I feel you. After i lost my husband (it’s almost three years – how is it three years already?) I had to get myself and my son out of our old house. I just craved a new, neutral space. So we sold and made a move up north. It was rough, got better, then got rough again as I went through the grief. Through the hard days – really, really hard days – I just remembered how much I love this house and how good it would feel when the dust settled.

    Now, I am going through a major nesting phase. Just hung new curtains in my office space with twinkling lights around them, and it feels so good. Change is hard, especially in your home, especially for homebirds like us. Here’s hoping the process speeds up for you. (When you get anxious, just stare at the light streaming in on those beautiful floors!)

    P.S.: Your blog is one of those that I love to sit with on the couch, all curled up, and read through the archives as if it were a book. If you find any other great blogs or sites out there, please share. Love finding new voices and spaces.

    xo – all the best

  14. Chitra sivasankar arunagiri

    Change is always tough to get used to. And nice pictures and I like your work table.

  15. laurie b

    Transitions are always difficult, even when we choose to do something different. We must get to know the new while grieving for what we left behind. Take good care of yourself and know that you will soon find your rhythm again.

  16. michelle gd

    this is real…your navigation…your new flat, the streets of london, perhaps new corners of your heart…so lovely of you to share this scraping away. you’re doing it.

  17. La plume et la page

    You moved 18 times? WHaouh! And always a big change… Only 4 times for me. I’d like to move again but I don’t like pack things and all the stuff I keep in the cupboards. Too much things!

  18. Catherine Denton

    I understand the comfort of routine and I’m a homebird too. I love hearing your new beginning, even the bumpy parts; it pours bravery into my soul. Thank you.

  19. Christianne

    I so loved this from you, Susannah. You share your life so openly and elegantly with us, and it is such a gift and privilege.

    Glad you’re being gentle with yourself, even in the bumpiness and confusion of this new season. xo

  20. Marilyn

    I know what you mean about creating new routines. In May I moved across the States and just when I was starting to feel settled, we made the decision to move back to California. I’m now back in the house where I started the year, waiting for our things to arrive. I find myself automatically looking to the spot where the clock used to hang and when I want to know the time. I’m happy to be walking up this particular road with my dogs and chatting with my neighbor once again. But I find myself thinking I don’t want to do things exactly the same, because I have been away and I like to think that something in me has changed.

  21. Maura

    I know exactly what you are going through. I recently moved out of the place I had lived for over 15 years–yup 15 years. Out of a city to the country–for work BUT I am so far out of my element. And every once in a while I wonder what have I done–BUT then something else happens and I realize that change is good!

    Enjoy the change–it can be fun.

  22. sas

    i love you xxx

  23. Naomi

    I remember feeling exactly those things when we moved a year ago. Every little thing is so hard and I just wanted to curl up and sleep instead. Be gentle with yourself!

  24. L.McG.-E.

    I know you will soon have found your rhythm in your new home. All happiness to you in it.

  25. Heather

    I admire the raw honesty that you show up with. So often it would be easy to look at this situation and say this is all good change.. And it probably is. However it’s not often talked about when shifting and transitioning the discomfort of finding the new rythem of your life even if it’s a change you really wanted.
    I love your work and your honesty thank you for showing up as you!

  26. Justine Taormino

    Love your blog and your honesty, always. It’s been so inspiring watching you navigate this transition :) Also, for what it’s worth, mercury is retrograde. Your post reads like a classic case of new location+ M retro — keep circling, waiting, tying up loose ends and moving along. It’ll start to even out soon<3

  27. Alexia

    Well done! You are changing your life for the better and that is wonderful. I enjoyed your writing , its very good. I relate as an adult I have had to move 28 times in 30 years due to being a renter. Our homes are critical to our well being, some of us are not lucky enough to be given the gift of a permanent home. So we nest, decorate and arrange until we develop a relationship with the home we are in temporarily and feel content. mY current landlord was shocked to see such a beauitfully decorated home with antiques and heriloms from every era. I told him just because its a rental does not mean its not home! I appalude you on a major independent life change. We (you and I) must remain strong and every so proud that we do not depend on family or men to support us or give us a life. (cannot stand those women they make us all look bad) We make our own lives. Well done. Looking forward to your next post on your new life.

  28. Jan's camera

    Hi, congrats on the move. Are you closer to your sister now? or farther away?

  29. susannah

    Little bit farther away, but still easy to get there by train :)

  30. Carole-Ann Vance

    Such honesty in your writing Susannah, you become stronger with each word!

  31. linda

    Lovely to read about your move and what thoughts it has stirred up. I’ve been thinking about routines and how my life seems so non-routine. But perhaps the elements we take for granted are the routine parts… and we don’t notice until we are torn away from them!

  32. Sarah

    I am loving your blog. SO happy I stumbled upon this today!

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