As a single parent I have a lot of time to devote to the thoughts in my own head. As a result of turning forty those thoughts were turning more and more often towards achieving balance in my life. Previously I had been keeping myself busy so that I did not have to think too hard. I had been chasing qualifications because I only really felt worthy when I was achieving something. The job I am qualified for has been eluding me for the last ten years, I feel trapped in a job where I am underappreciated and under utilised and sometimes I can go without speaking to an adult for weeks at a time. All of these stresses had been coming to a head and I felt that if things did not change drastically soon then I would explode. The turning point came when I had a couple of health threats. I found a lump that needed to be checked and I also found out that I had gallstones.
As a result of all this I am now gallbladder free and my lump turned out to be okay. This health threat also meant that I finally got things into perspective. I have spent the last year pondering over my life, my self esteem and where I want to go from here. I have been on a very difficult journey and only now I feel like dealing with everything. I have come to terms with my past and assessed where I am now and now have a plan for the future.
Due to my upbringing as number nine out of thirteen kids I have a few hang ups about life. I know everyone has some baggage but I have decided to write about mine. I could go on about feeling invisible all my life or having to live up to or down to the expectations bestowed upon me by family, friends and teachers etc but in examining my life up till now I managed to see the beauty in my upbringing. The qualifications that I have spent years collecting might not have led to the dream job that is both rewarding and intellectually stimulating but it has meant that I have knowledge of many things that enrich my life. I have the capability of learning from my mistakes, I can make informed decisions about almost anything because I have the skills to find out about issues that mean something to me. Knowledge has shown me how diverse the world is and how I matter.
I had two parents that showed me how to be a goood parent, I was always surrounded by love, my parents may not have been well off but they did the best they could by all their kids. Even though there was times when I fought against my parents I always knew they would love me no matter what. How lucky was I that my parents moulded me into the well rounded, patient and tolerant person I am now. The way my parents treated me has a legacy in that I have the strength to raise five children on my own, keep a roof above our heads, work and study all at the same time.
I have been stressed and worried for some time. I am heavier than I have ever been and things were getting worse. I have looked at how I went from being a very happy teenager to a very sombre adult. I visited an old acquaintance a few months back and she dug out her photo album and I was truly shocked and stunned (in a good way) to see that I actually used to smile all the time. I spent a few years with a free spirit and a huge interest in enjoying life. Since that day I have been making small moves towards finding that balance in life. I want to feel good about getting my photograph taken and I want to celebrate my life and have that celebration documented in photographs. I want to leave an imprint from my life in picture form. I want to capture a little of that happiness I used to have as a child.
In order for me to achieve balance I have a plan. I have downsized job wise so that the under-appreciation I feel is now part-time instead of full-time. I still need to feed and clothe my kids so I do need a job. The money is terrible but I have time to spend with my kids, time to spend walking my dog, time to get fit, time to read, time to dance about my house like lunatic (just because I can) and time to write. I have decided that once I finish my current course with the Open University I will take a break from learning. I think I have earned the right to take things just a little easier so that I can live my life instead of watching it go by. I have also decided to put all that theory into practice and write the stories that have been in my head for some time. I want to be truthful to me and the person I want to be. I teach my children lessons everyday in my actions and in my words but today I want to show them how to live life in a balanced way. I never felt like I had the right to admit that I wanted to write. I never felt worthy enough to call myself a writer. I never thought in a million years that someone like me could do this.
I have spent years looking after kids, studying for qualifications and working but now as I have entered my fortieth year I am giving myself permission to say goodbye to my fears. I can’t not write, because I feel it makes me who I am, it is the channel I have for letting out stress, exploring my creative side and also my way of leaving a little bit of me behind. Making an imprint on the world. I have a hunger in me to show the world that I have worth and value beyind being a single parent. I love my kids with all my heart and my grandkids make my heart swell with love everytime I hold them but I need to be me too.
Heres to me.