I was a pretty gregarious child until about 12 and then puberty set in. Alas, I metamorphosed into a painfully shy and awkward teen. I suppose the bullying in school didn’t help then (but I built up resilience along the way).
We had new neighbours move in next door to us when I was around 15 – the lady was a teacher who had an amazing interest in books, writing, had travelled extensively and in my rather insular existence, she exuded sophistication. To my delight, she was extremely friendly and took a keen interest in me and my education.
It was through her that I was introduced to the wonderful Anne of Green Gables series of books. I must have re-read the first book a few times before I returned it to her. Very soon after, through some cosmic alignment, the series was shown on telly! I raced over to her house to let her know and we all watched the first episode of Anne together – no one was more excited than I was to see Anne come to life. It was also the first time I had noticed white picket fences on telly (only barbed wire fencing in my area or brick walls as dividers where I lived).
It must have been around then that I started imagining my future self – married, with two beautiful children playing on lush emerald-green grass and my home was surrounded by lovely white picket fences. My life as I pictured it was calm, serene and contented.
Fast forward many decades later, I still stumble upon the Green Gables series in second-hand shops. I bought a copy recently and it reminded me of the life I had envisioned for myself many years ago in the mind of an innocent, awkward teen.
I don’t have white picket fences around my house (which can be easily rectified!), but I am married to a kindred spirit (as Anne would say) and we have a daughter who fills our hearts with joy. London naturally pushes one into life in the fast lane but after almost 13 years of constant acceleration, I’m itching to switch into a lower gear, and seek that contentment and serenity I once desired.