This is something I realised last week as my sister and her family flew off to New York for a few days. To say I was envious of their travels is an understatement. I was more than envious. I was very green. I was green to the point of sulkiness. I wanted to go to New York. No, I didn’t want to go to New York, I wanted to live in New York. In fact, I concluded that morning that my life would be perfect if only I could persuade my family to pack their belongings and head off to New York for EVER!
To console my feeling of woe as I imagined my sister excitedly awaiting her flight at Heathrow, I went into town to have a cup of coffee in a coffee shop that might remind me of New York. I wanted to pretend I was there for half an hour. I thought that might make me feel better.
I chose a cafe in town I like called Chez Sophie. This was a bad choice. It is a French coffee shop where they serve amazing milk shakes, crepes and they play French radio in the background. This didn’t make me feel as if I was in New York at all. Rather, it made me feel as if I was in Paris. As soon as I settled down with my Americano and art magazine I thought: ‘wouldn’t it be marvelous to live in Paris?’ If only we lived in Paris, I mused. Then I’d be among the artists and free thinkers of this world. I’d be able to have coffee every day in wobbly Parisian cafes. I would be instantly attractive and well-dressed. I’d have deeper thoughts than I do in Shrewsbury. I could be the original flâneur with my sketch pad and observant eye.
As I sat sipping my coffee dreaming of an arty French life, I perused Facebook and saw that a couple of friends were planning an impromptu trip to London the following day. And the green monster lured up again. I wanted to go to London. No, I wanted to live in London. If we lived in London I’d be able to have coffee at the Tate or the National Gallery, I concluded. How amazing would that be? I’d lead this fabulous cultured life and I’d be able to shop on Carnaby Street and sip wine in Covent Garden. I could go to a well-known art college and become famous too. Yes, that would definitely happen if we lived in Lonodn.
Cycling home after this morning of woe I realised that I have a disease and it’s not a good disease to have. I have ‘grass is always greener’ disease. I live in a state of continuous envy of other places to live. Whenever my husband and I go abroad I try too persuade him that we could live there. We’ve imagined life in Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin as well as New York over the last few years. This also happens on UK holidays to Devon, Somerset, and even Borth. I have gone as far as browsing property for sale in Borth.
This is nuts because Shrewsbury is a lovely place to live. It is a very lively and cultured town which is steeped in history. It has all sorts of coffee shops which I frequent (some of which remind me of Paris, obviously that would be Chez Sophie; some of London, such as Ginger & Co.; and some of New York, for example Starbucks). I can cycle into town. I can go from front room to Waterstones in ten minutes if the wind is blowing in the right direction. How lucky am I? So it isn’t New York, Paris, Borth or London but it’s not that far off. I need to pinch myself sometimes and tell myself that I am jolly lucky to live where I live.
Having said that, we are planning to move as soon as we can convince someone else of how lovely Shrewsbury is, and in particular, how lovely our house is. I suspect that after we moved I will mourn for the Shrewsbury life I will be leaving behind.
It is an incurable disease.