In 2016 my marriage ended and started to be demolished. At the same time the old Edinburgh St James centre finally completely closed and started to be demolished. Yes, this is going to be a somewhat torturous metaphor.
The end of my marriage was a long time coming, and we had moved into separate rooms well before we broke up, like all the shops that moved into Waverley Mall in anticipation of the demolition. For a while, things seemed to be as normal but then things took a drastic turn and by October 2016 my old life was being totally demolished.
But, as with the St James redevelopment, it could not happen in a quick one-shot strike. There were parts of my life I wanted to keep and improve upon; friendships, career plans, family, my home – in this ugly metaphor these are John Lewis and Leith Street, parts of my life that need improvement, not demolition. And retaining elements of my old life mean I need to be a lot more careful with the demolition, need to ensure I don’t do too much damage to the surrounding area and need to keep my environmental footprint down.
So, as the builders on site tried to reduce the amount going to landfill, so did I, both literally and figuratively. I have given away and sold a lot of things that I had for a life that I don’t want and do not have. I have let go of people, but hopefully in a way to cause minimal collateral damage. I have let go of a lot of ideas about myself, about success and about what I want it to look like.
This careful demolition has taken a lot longer than a quick explosive one-shot would, but it means things that need to be kept can be. And the demolition phase is nearly over, which means there is the chance to start building a life I really want and will get a lot out of from early in 2018. I do not know yet, whether this new life will have a grand opening in 2020, but I am excited to see what happens next.