i Editor's Letter: Life runs fast on the hamster wheel


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The Independent Online


Many of you will have read Victoria Summerley's touching eulogy to her much-loved garden in Saturday's i. Of course, it wasn't just about the garden, special as it is, but her farewell to a previous life shared with her late husband Craig and two children in south-west London. This is her penultimate week with us here at i before she moves to Gloucestershire.

On Saturday, coincidence took me to her new village, one I know from a previous life. On the last sunny autumn day before the clocks went back, I stood in her new garden and admired what she described as "the sort of bucolic vistas that costume dramas love to feature". Despite not being a gardener, I could view it as she does – as something similar to the blank canvas that we both see when we face the blank pages of i daily. How deliciously pregnant an adventure for her. (Although, I'm still trying to turn the new neighbours against her in the hope she will stay with us.)

I hear ever more about people changing their lives in the way I did twice, moving to New York and back again five years later. Katie, a news editor here, is about to make that same move. Another colleague's sister has bought a vineyard in Tuscany. The endless economic gloom concentrates the mind. Many of us see years ahead running ever faster on that hamster wheel - and that's just to stay on. So why not sell up and change your life, be it for the Cotswolds, Cortona or Coney Island?

Some have been burnt recently doing so, notably in Spain because of the eurozone crisis, but for many others of us it is a dream made more feasible by confronting economic realities, not less.

All I can do is admire anyone who tries. Life really is for living and packing in as many experiences as possible. Victoria said one reason she wanted to sell her precious garden was she found herself constantly looking back, not forward. I really understand what she means.

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