It is an extra special week, as my Mum is visiting us from the Midlands. This event is eagerly anticipated, as, although we are happy and ‘jogging along’ nicely, the only down side to our lives is the feeling of social isolation. I think this is particularly true for Andy and I, as the children both do lots of activities and so are beginning to make friends in the town.
We go to two home-ed groups and have made some very good friends in those, but these friends all live at least 30 minutes to an hour away. All our friends from Dorset are even further away, and both our families live a three and a half hour journey from here.
I certainly don’t think we are alone in this feeling of isolation, as I think there are many other people in the same position. It is more and more common for people to move away from their home towns, added to which people tend to move more frequently than in the past. We have lived here for 17 months now and although we are on ‘nodding terms’ with local people, we have yet to make any friends. I am aware that these things take time, especially in such a small community as ours, but it can sometimes feel very lonely.
I am partially to blame for my feeling of isolation, as shortly after moving here I stopped driving. When you live next to Dartmoor and are 30 minutes from the nearest town, supermarket etc, it really is a necessity that both Andy and myself can drive. I felt okay(ish!) driving around Dorset as I was used to the roads, but since moving here it has become a bit of a nightmare for me! If I turn left out of our drive you are on Dartmoor. The drive is beautiful, but I find it rather challenging when faced with galloping sheep, horses and cattle all over the road! If I turn right out of our drive and head for Newton Abbot, Totnes, Torbay, I am faced with narrow roads which suddenly narrow even more, and therefore a lot of reversing into tight spaces is required!
I know this is something that I am going to have to conquer, as once driving again I will be able to visit friends and maybe even get some voluntary work, and consequently not feel so isolated. I have tentatively started this process, and am now able to drive to Tavistock, but I really need to be driving every day so that I get used to being back in the driving seat.
Another measure I am taking to get me ‘out and about’, is joining a local yoga class. I was a little unsure initially, but having spoken to the lady who runs the class I am now really looking forward to it. I think it’s really important that I have a little bit of ‘me’ time, as I spend so much time with both Andy and the children. I’m hoping this will give me the confidence to join in with more local groups.
I think I only fully realise how isolated I feel when family or friends leave after a visit.. It is so lovely spending quality time with them, but when I wave them off I get a sinking feeling in my stomach and become very teary. Having said that, the time I do spend with them is over a weekend or even a week, so it is very much an ‘all or nothing’ scenario.
I am sure, as time passes, and I get used to driving again, that this feeling of isolation will get less and less, but for now I am going to make the most of every minute spent with my lovely Mum!