Lost my way

8 Apr

I have lost my way before – reached a dead end, a brick wall, an enormous mountain. This is not the first time in my life that I find myself in this state, but it has never stalled me like this before.

There are lots of ways to cope with the dead end syndrome:

  • Take a rest for a while – rejuvenate and refresh for the journey
  • Climb the wall
  • Climb the mountain
  • Tunnel through the mountain
  • Walk round the mountain
  • Walk along the wall till you find a gate to go through
  • Go a different way
  • etc

I’ve spent 18 months staring at the wall as though I’ve never seen one before. Gazing up at the mountain as if I didn’t know that every valley has a mountain top. Maybe it’s because I have never imagined standing in this place at this time in my life. I can’t think what the options are but I know I can do anything I choose.  I can be the person I want to be.

I don’t know what to choose… I don’t know what kind of person I want to be – not in the context of my life right now.

If I knew then what I know now…

I know now and it doesn’t help.

I need to pick myself up and start again. The old self will not do. I need to remake and remodel who I am and what I do. Where do I start?

 

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Standing on the cusp

30 Mar

Around 1980 when so many of my friends read Germaine Greer’s books about feminism, I didn’t. I didn’t believe that any woman who told other women not to have children could have any credibility. Looking back now I realise that thought must have come from living with the sheer delight that my mother had in raising the four of us, even though her life was far from easy. One of the worst realisations in my life at around that same time was finding out that I was just an ordinary person. That was hard. I thought I would be somebody but actually I was just like everyone else. The four of us (me and my three brothers) were nothing special… except in my mother’s eyes we were the best in the world.

I disagreed with Greer (without reading her side of the story) but nonetheless I considered myself to be a feminist both then and now. My definition of feminism was slightly different. In my mind and in my life, I consider a feminist to be a female who can choose – choose anything. Choose a career. Choose to be the boss. Choose to be a mother. Choose to raise her own children. Choose to go to work. Choose to stay at home. And preferably all of the above – if she so chooses. Men have always had these choices although in the 1980s ‘choosing to stay at home’ was an unlikely choice for men – having a job was a privilege!  Further ‘choosing to raise his own children’ was probably translated as ‘providing for them’ by having a job and paying the bills. Thankfully many men have also rejected that model. My life partner and most men I know have had much more of a hands-on role in sharing their children’s lives.

So, here I am on the cusp. What cusp?

The cusp between active parenting and letting go…although I may be kidding myself about the active parenting part. My “children” have been in control of their own lives for several years. It’s just that ‘living at home’ makes me feel like my parenting role is still valid.

I don’t understand parents that want their children grown and gone. Having adult children is awesome. Anyway, the time is now and the physical ties will soon be cut for the eldest, but ‘waiting for this to happen’ is just like all the times before. Kindergarten, primary school, senior school, university, first job…every time a little more letting go. Every time it has felt just as hard. I have been so proud to see each of our children rising to the challenge and forging ahead into the next stage and this time is no different in that respect. But there is no transition guidance for parents. No counselling. No apparent next step, even though one might transpire once the melancholy subsides. Well I know the physical ties will soon be cut. but I also know without doubt their strings to my heart are forever and ever and ever.