Going Backwards? It is not possible, time will never allow it

I had my first child at 17, needless to say I was nt married and the relationship did not last. By 28 I had given birth to my second and third children.  I still was not married, nor did the fella ever intend to propose, mainly as he knew he had some sort of control in this matter, and all I ever wanted was the happily ever after.  So I planned the wedding, and when our third child was 6 months old, we got married.  I was never proposed to, and he never said he wanted to marry me, but he did. I am now divorced. Single again and have been for two years.  I am dating, for the first time in my life.  I meet men, go on dates and if I want to see them again I do, if I don’t  then I don’t.  For the first time in my life, I realised I actually had a choice in relationships.  My children are older now.  I go out with friends, I go on holiday with them, weekends away to festivals and allow myself that time to let my hair down.  I am truly living a single life.  With three older children in tow.  They of course also get my time, but as I am sole carer, with not much of a break I allow myself some freedom now and again.  I benefit, but so do they.

I had a career at 21, working in a law firm, receiving a large pay check at the end of each month and a decent annual bonus to boot.  At 30, I left, I’d had enough of the rat race and returned to university.  I am a student. I also work, part time.

I had a house at 21, albeit with a mortgage but it was mine.  After a failed engagement and then a failed marriage and all the financial implications that came with that (thanks ex-husband for eternally lumbering me with your debt) I now live in rented.  Although it is not all bad, as in actual fact this is the first house that actually feels like home to me, since leaving my parents home some 15 years ago.

At 21, despite having a child, I had savings.  Maybe this was because it was before the recession hit us, I do not know.  But I now no longer have savings.  Another way I have gone backwards…..?

I felt at one point I had it all.  Husband, children, career, money. But I did not.  I did not have my freedom, nor my happiness. I was sad, and despite being surrounded by my husband and children I felt lonely.  Nothing fulfilled me.  I felt like a shell, an outline of a person with nothing inside. Empty.

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I used to be very creative, but all of this had fallen by the way side to make time for my career and my children.  I was desperately trying to hold everything together and it worked for a couple of years, but once the cracks began to show, no matter how much I tried to plaster of them, it was just a temporary fix.  I had to strip back to basics, and reassess my life.  At first I thought I had thrown everything away, until I realised I had in fact just began to clear everything away.  The things which I no longer needed in my life as they served no purpose, and in fact made me very unhappy.  However, I am happier now than I have ever been.  I still have problems in my life I have to deal with, but I do not ‘struggle’ to deal with them.  I am not constantly stressed out and have managed to develop a ‘whatever will be, will be’ attitude.  I believe sometimes we are so conditioned by society that we believe the house, car, husband, children, career blahdy blah is what is going to keep us happy. Having lived that live, it did not work for me, and I know plenty others that it has not worked for either.

If you feel unhappy, it is time to assess your life.  Do not be frightened, as you have to do this, for yourself. You have a duty to live life in the most happiest, fulfilling way that you can.

I had difficulty allowing myself time.  I felt guilty, feeling as though I had to be there for my children 24/7.  So I not only felt guilty when I went out for dinner with friends, or for a weekend away at a spa, I felt guilty when I went to work!  Working 10 hours a day in a law firm, meant most days I did not see my children for more than an hour a day-combined from before and after work.  It made it more difficult for me to accept as when I tried to explain it to my husband, he was so money driven (mainly as I paid his bills) that he failed to even consider a reduction in my hours.  So when I was finally brave enough to take a look at my life, and after my now ex-husband had left, I know the next thing on my list was my work.  I had always been interested in people and what made them tick, so I chose to do Psychology.  I left my work, which had always served as a security blanket and I took the giant step of becoming a student. This freed up a lot of my time, and now I can take my children to school every morning and collect them from school three days a week.  The guilt of not being a ‘proper’ mother (this way my ideal of the type of mother I wanted to be) to my children has gone.  Which now means I can also take time out some weekends, guilt-free.

Your steps do not have to be as life changing as mine, I am in no way advocating that every one packs in their jobs and gets divorced.  This worked for me, and I am still in transition after two years, but every day I am a step closer to where I want to be.  So even though I looked as though I was going backwards, (and believe me, many people questioned me, and some thought I was in mid-life crisis) I actually just cleared the decks so I could move forwards. I AM HAPPY.

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January…..a month to retreat

No one loves a party more than I do.  I have not had a weekend off from socialising since February last year.  Add all these parties to festivals and club nights as well as the obligatory wedding celebrations and birthday meals you could say I have had a pretty full on year.  In all honesty though this is how I like it!  I am lucky that I have such a wide circle of friends.  For this reason it is very rare that nothing is going on and sometimes I often struggle to fit everything in.  However, It has not always been this way.

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Following my divorce I was often left sat in on my own with nothing to do.  Majority of my other friends were all either happily married or in relationships, off doing ‘couple-y’ things.  It was difficult, especially when all I wanted to do was go out, socialise and forget the misery I was currently enduring.  So I had to take things into my own hands!  Luckily for me, I do not find socialising difficult so I used to sit in on a Saturday night with a bottle of wine and once I had finished that I used to head into town on my own and see who was out that I knew.  I often would make up some story that I had been out with friends and I could not find them.  As it was often late, around 12am, most people were drunk enough to not really think much about whether my story was actually legit or not! So more often than not I would be able to have a full night out with my new ‘friends’.  I have met so many people in this way.  You should not be afraid to meet people in this way.  At first I felt that I was being an inconvenience but what I actually realised was I did not have enough confidence in the human race.  When our guards are down and we are out having fun most of us are actually very nice people!

The past year has been amazing, I have attended two hen weekends, two weddings, an awesome festival, numerous club nights, lots of birthdays and other celebrations, a holiday with friends abroad and a holiday with the children.  I have not had a free weekend since last February.

This Christmas has been a double edged sword.  I have had a lovely time and spent time with family and friends but Christmas day for me is always difficult.  Trying to keep everyone happy when you have to also accommodate the ex, when he is particularly difficult sometimes, is the hard thing.  You cannot help it, but it affects the day, especially when you cannot wake up on Christmas day with your babies watching their excited faces opening their presents.  It also highlights to me the people who are no longer here….in particular my grandma, whom I was very close to and miss every day.  In any event though it is truly the party season with lots of parties and drinking.  This was topped off with the best New Years Eve ever which did not end until New Years Day.

For this reason, it is time for me to take a little time to take stock of all that has happened over the last year.  I have grown so much as a person.  I have pushed boundaries and at the age of 33 actually feel like I am finding who I am, and I make no apologies for who I am either.  I am so grateful for my life and the people in it, old and new.  For the next few weeks I am going to be nice to myself, take time out of the party scene, detox, take walks and spend time in nature. Eat lovely food and watch films and read books.  I have loved every minute and I will miss this party lifestyle over the next few weeks but I need to recuperate and recover, I want to be fighting fit for the upcoming festival and party season and I know come the last Saturday of January is the day that it will all start again.

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I am so excited for what 2014 has to offer me, and at the time though I thought my divorce was a terrible thing, it was in fact the opposite as I have been allowed the space to grow and I once again feel like myself, the adventurous, courageous and confident female I was before.  No matter how difficult life gets, keep going, see it as an adventure, as there is always something great around the corner.

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