There is no map for the future

When I was fourteen years old I had no idea what career I wished to pursue, what I did know was that I wanted independence. As I grew up in a family oriented, conservative community, independence meant getting away. Had I stayed close to my family home I would have been unable to live my life in whatever way I chose because my family would have considered that those choices reflected back on them and would have been distressed that I did not show them the consideration that they deserved.

It took me nearly a decade to achieve my goal. I remember the first time my parents came to visit me in the small flat I had bought in Wiltshire, a few months after I landed my dream job across the Irish Sea. My mother was in tears within a day because I was not cooking as she suggested. I had given my parents the only bedroom to sleep in while I kipped on the sofa, and mother went through my wardrobe commenting critically on my new clothes. It was a tense visit. I love my parents dearly, and know that they love me beyond measure, but I need to be free of the restraints within which they would still try to hold me.

I have now lived with my husband for longer than I lived with my parents. Sometimes I find him trying to steer me in a direction that he sees as right because it is right for him. I feel the same resentments welling up that I felt all those years ago when my parents were urging me to live in a manner that they believed was best for me. I feel myself pushing against the restraints.

Self determination matters to me. For the years when I was raising three young children, they were the focus of everything I did. Now that they are old enough to be making many of their own choices, I find that I am at a junction in my life. I need to ensure that I go forward from here in a direction that suits me. I need to speak up for what I want and am finding it hard to convey this to my loved ones.

For now, my younger son accepts me for what I am. My daughter gets it most of the time. My elder son is more focused on moulding me to fit in with his perceptions of life in much the same way that my parents did.

I am fortunate that my husband is willing to support me, he allows me to be what I want even if he cannot always understand why. I am surrounded by love, but I need to find the words to explain to my family that I still require freedom to live within our nest in whatever manner I choose. I still need my independence.

At fourteen I knew where I wished to go but not the details of how I would achieve my goals, I feel that I am at a similar stage now. I am putting out feelers with my writing but am still finding my way. I am moving between writing sites, between fiction, book blogging and random posts such as this. I am active on social media but flit between building my presence as reader, writer, reviewer, commentator. I have been welcomed by so many on line communities, yet am unsure where best I fit. It is exciting, it is daunting.

Looking back on my life, many of the significant choices were made with no real idea of the impact on my future. My choice of job led me to my husband which led me to this life I lead now. I would not change where I am for the world. I will continue to fight for the detail, for my right to be the person I need to be. I will trust God, as I have always done, that where this leads me will be for the best.

I have no idea if my writing is good enough, if it is worth pursuing as anything more than a hobby. I am unsure if I am ready to devote the time that would be necessary to make it more than this. My family will always come first, but they will need to accept that I am a being in my own right. It is challenging stepping out into the unknown, especially as this time I wish to bring my loved ones with me.

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Small steps

Yesterday was a good day. I woke up feeling fragile but determined to move on with my life. I set myself tasks, simple actions, to create positive results. The house was put in order, laundry dealt with, hens cared for. I knew that I had to make myself leave the house; at times even this is a challenge. I walked to the gym where I managed a good workout followed by a swim. I spoke to some people I know there; small talk, but human interaction that I am inclined to avoid when I feel down. I set out to achieve and succeeded.

Yesterday was my middle child’s birthday and I wished to prepare a fun evening for him. Presents were wrapped, a banner hung, a cake baked. I put on a dress and tidied myself up in honour of his celebration. The children came home and all focus shifted to them; to the birthday boy. The mood was cheerful and chatty; I was enjoying myself without effort.

It feels as though progress has been made. I went out into the world and coped. I created a relaxed and happy atmosphere at home, then allowed things to flow; I made no demands. I was able to  enjoy the company of my lovely children without artifice. I feel good that my son found pleasure in the gifts and the food and the attention we provided.

This is how I need to proceed. I need to do my job as housewife and mother; I need to find ways of getting myself to interact with others that I can deal with and gain pleasure from; I need to create a relaxed atmosphere at home without expecting anything of others. I have sole responsibility for my happiness and my well being.

There are so many times when I think ‘If I could only…’ in response to my search for inner peace and contentment. I need to focus on coping with those things that I cannot control, that I cannot avoid and cannot change. I need to accept that others will live their lives by their rules, not mine. I need to stand up for my right to self determination, but allow others to go their own way alongside this.

It still feels as though I am watching myself from above. I feel detached from reality, observing how this body is dealing with getting through the day. Having set the scene, yesterday evening was effortless; I felt happy. Today I can feel satisfied that I achieved that small success.

I will concentrate on dealing with today. I can only hope that, given time, this hurt and fear will ease. If I can push aside my concerns for what may happen in the future and concentrate on completing the simple tasks that may be done now, then I will continue to make progress, to take those small steps. I will deal better with trials if I can learn to be strong alone; not relying on others who could let me down.

My life; my responsibility. I can do this thing.

English: Three Psychological Needs (Self Deter...