How to be Happy

A man should never neglect his family for business.

Walt Disney 

It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.

Marlene Dietrich 

 

Many of my London-based colleagues and friends can’t understand why I would want the expense of running a car in the city. It’s true that it’s expensive. My gorgeous little “eco-friendly” chugger swallows up a fair bit of my salary before I even set eyes on it (I pay for it through work, so it comes out of my payslip). The petrol isn’t cheap either. Not to mention the eyelash upkeep…

eyelashes car

Why would I spend this much on a car, rather than, say, rent or saving for a house deposit? Well, the main way I use my car is for driving to and from my grandparents at the weekends. If I didn’t have my car (did I mention how gorgeous it is?) then I’d have to use public transport, transforming it from an easy meandering half hour to a stressful, uncomfortable two hour journey with several changes.

For me, it’s worth spending the money. It means I get to see my grandparents regularly, and that I can drive there and back whenever and how ever often I want (£3.40 return, in petrol terms, or £3.80 by public transport).

I’m not alone in this; being physically near to our friends and family is worth more than a pay rise of £65,000, according to one study. Based on that research, I feel quite frugal with my little car!

On the other hand, my parents and little sister live 196 miles away. However I do it, the journey takes at least 4 hours, and costs at least £45 by train or £90 by car (return). Not something I can afford to do regularly.

I wish I could, though. These days my family never call me, and when I call them, I never get “quality time”.

If my sister answers the phone: “Hi, how are you? Yeah, I’m fine. Nothing going on. Lots of homework. Bye.”

If my Dad answers the phone: “What are you doing this weekend? I’ll put your sister on.”

If my Mum answers the phone: “I’m just cooking dinner and taking the dog out for a walk and helping with your sister’s homework, meeting up with a friend, eating dinner, rushing to a PTA meeting/concert [all simultaneously…]”

The only way I do get to speak to them properly is by actually going there, and joining in with the homework/ weekend/ cooking”.

So maybe I should take the leap and move closer to my family? It would be so much easier if all of my family and friends were in one place, but when they’re spread across the world, I’m not sure that there is a perfect place to live, to be near to them all…

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