My very first memory of achievement and expectation is from my very first report card from Year 1. I didn't know what they were or even that they were until my mother was standing comparing mine with my cousin's mother (he was in my class at school, we were competitive from this day forward). I didn't know anything about them other than the fact, apparently, from what they seemed to be saying, was that "1s" were good and I had a lot of 2s on mine. I hadn't known we'd be graded. I didn't know I had had to be prepared. Noone had told me until after the fact.
From that day on, I looked around and took my cues from other people about what was going on and what we were expected to do. How do other people find out about this information? And like from as early as 6? How do people know this stuff? I never did in any case. But this probably explains how I got on the bandwagon in the first place. Swam in the wake. Did what everyone else did, whether I wanted to or not. Do the school thing. Find something to be passionate about. Pick a career. Do the uni thing. Come out the other end. Look around. Find someone to settle down with. Do the settling down thing ...aahhh that's where it all came unstuck.
Cue all that misery. The desperately clinging to the picture. And then the falling apart when it all fell apart.
This is kinda what I mean by the coasting along at life. Kinda just doing what everyone else was doing, cause I guess that's easier and you can not stand out doing that. And waiting for life to happen to me. Not making any big or permanent decisions that would get in the way of that, when it finally happened. For the longest time I wanted to settle down with someone and make a family. And I think I put on hold a lot of choices I may have made instead, had I known that by 33 this would not have happened for me. And the thing is, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if that is really the lifestyle I honestly want, I'm not sure it's me at all. And it reminds me of a conversation I had with editormum
, about something else entirely, at Xmas where she said to me, "I think it's sad that you think you need a man to have a family." And it's not that I think that in general - I don't - but I thought that, *for me*. I was making a lot of lifestyle choices because I thought that *for me* there was only the one option.
Hello feminism and liberation and expression of personal freedom! Where were you guys hiding?
It turns out that there are lots of options. For having a family. And for being single. And for being happy too.
Cause that's where I am. This current thing is not about being unhappy and wanting to change things. It's about finally coming to a point in my life where I am happy, feel supported, feel like I am in a place where I can make a leap. And that's so different to where I was when I last had to make a leap. Back then I didn't think I would survive in the world by myself. Now, I know I can and it's more about being in a place where I have the confidence to know I will thrive, not just survive.
I'm amazed at how far I've come from where I was. But also I feel like I'm a completely clean slate. That after everything I've been through and overcome to get here, I've finally sloughed off the expectations and assumptions of everyone else, that I previously used to navigate my way in life. And now, I am here with none at all. No idea what I really think or want. No idea where I want to go next. But knowing that the choice will be mine alone. And that I will be ok. That I will be more than ok.
And it's truly exciting to think that I have very few barriers and limitations to hold me back here. I really can just pick up and move to Paris if I want to. And that thought alone is exhilarating. I don't know what I want to do. I just know that I don't want to waste the opportunity and the time. And that the answers to these questions will take more than a day or a week to figure out.