• Charli

Wellness Matters 26.11.2021

Moving On

Last weekend after an exceptionally enjoyable reunion with some members of Columba 1400’s Cohort 50 in Stirling, I made the difficult decision to visit Dollar where I lived for 8 years and left in 2005. I have only been back once to visit a friend and on that occasion, kept my head down as I drove through the village.

Last Saturday, the sun was shining, I was on no-one else’s timeframe apart from my own and it felt like the right thing to do.

Even then I almost convinced myself not to go until I was having breakfast at the Stirling Highland Hotel. The view from the restaurant looked north east, framing the Wallace Monument and the Hillfoots beyond. As soon as I looked up I knew I had to go.

I drove carefully and slowly through familiar villages: Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry which haven’t changed significantly other than additional new housing.

Pockets of memories flitted in and out: a coffee stop here, a path up a glen there, an optician, garage and hairdressers.

Arriving in Dollar I headed straight to Back Road where I had lived, and was immediately struck by a number of new and huge architecturally designed houses which are dominating the hillside with layer upon layer of glass and concrete, ergonomically designed to maximise the view.

My little bungalow nestled in among the new generation of monoliths, safely tucked in behind the trees I planted, the garden I tended and the zig-zag path created to allow easier access to the farm track behind.

I smiled and could see, through my mind’s eye, my daughters laughing and playing in their room, me busy in the garden or kitchen, their dad returning from a long business trip.

It was easy to smile because I am well.

I was not well when I lived there. I was suffering from extended postnatal depression, grief from the sudden death of my father aged 57 years, confusion about the state of my marriage, and a complete loss of identity.

Seeing the house, the hills, the fields as they really are has allowed me to recognise that Dollar is just a place, like many other places, holding memories both good and bad, but it is just a place. Quite a pretty place as it happens.

I wandered up to Castle Campbell, and took the Dollar Glen path, passing bracken, waterfalls and fellow walkers, some solo, others in groups and with dogs.

My ability to climb Dollar Hill was hindered by my inadequate footwear and clothing, so I assailed to a bench and absorbed the warmth of a low November sun, celebrating a peacefulness at letting go and began to feel lighter and brighter.

Previously I had envisaged Dollar as having impossibly high hills on each and every side, but I know now that was my interpretation from being in a state of poor mental health. Yes there are hills but they are soft and undulating and easy to ascend.

I have continued to thrive as this week has progressed. I know that I have been a wee bit more confident and reassured that the life choices and decisions I have made, although excruciatingly difficult at times, have led me to where I am now. I am accountable for the actions and decisions I make, and I do not regret any of it.

Have a great week: stay safe and warm.

North Berwick Glen 26th November 2021.

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