I have been trying to start this blog post for a while now and have decided that instead of trying to be articulate about a particular topic or tidbit, I will take this opportunity to empty out the bucket of my mind and just simply list a few things that have been occupying my thoughts of late.
Being the beginning of another year, my mind has been racing with a lot of questions…
Will my husband and I be able to have kids? This is a question I ask myself a lot. We seem to know many people for whom having a family is just a hope and the journey for them seems harrowing and often frustrating and empty. Little souls have been taken home to heaven in my own extended family and it makes me scared that I may experience a similar situation. I accept that I sound like a bit of a pessimist but I think it’s more that I grew up knowing that if I expect the worst, I’m often pleasantly surprised – it’s become a kind of survival technique. At the moment, I just find myself riding the roller coaster of fear. When I’m due to get my period, I worry that it won’t come and we’ll have a surprise pregnancy but then when it does come, I immediately feel a pang of sadness and fear that I might never be able to conceive. Not quite sure how to shake this weird habit but I am careful to always be open with my husband about my fears and we often have chats about it to help me find other ways to look at the situation.
What do I want to do for a living? This is a really hard question for me because it includes the phrase “what do I want”. My whole life, I have convinced myself that I don’t have opinions and that the most important thing in life is that the people around me are happy. Whatever I could do to bring happiness to others, I would do it. Me? Well, I didn’t really count. In 2012 I began seeing a psychologist about this exact thing. For over a year, I worked through that part of who I am and challenged my ideas about my own goals and well being. Even though I have now finished up therapy and have come a long way, I still find it very unnatural to think of what I want instead of what everyone else does. My job is a big part of my life and it constantly circles in my head with question marks around it. It’s not that I don’t like what I do but, if I’m honest, it’s a part of my life where I spend a lot of time just being a passenger. I certainly don’t sit around thinking of where I want to take my career or what I’d really love to aim for in the future. I just sort of ‘am’ at work and that’s it really. Growing up I knew I loved to write and a lot of where I am now in my career is thanks to my natural ability to write and my magnetic relationship with communication of any kind. I feel now though, it’s time for me to actively seek a path for myself and make my own way in the world instead of just going along for the ride.
How can I deal with the guilt that comes from being in a ‘better place’ than those around me? I grew up in a family that seemed to survive far more crisis than what I feel is ‘normal’ – whether it was poverty, abuse, trauma, grief, mental illness or relationship breakdowns. I grew up knowing what it was to hurt and to ache over a life that is far from perfect or fair. I love where I came from and I wouldn’t change any of those painful circumstances for the world. That seems a shocking thing to say when a lot of the circumstances I am talking about were harrowing for everyone involved. But the reality is that I learnt so much from going through hard times and I feel it helps me relate to people from all walks of life and also appreciate everything I have. I find it much easier to accept challenges and shortcomings in my own life because I have seen just what life can throw at you and just what you can survive. The problem with such a realistic approach to life is that when times are particularly good, it’s hard to cope. Whether it’s the fear of things going wrong or the guilt of things going right… I find myself regularly thinking “why do I have it so good when so many of those I love are struggling just to survive?” My husband and I are planning a trip overseas at the moment. I have been overseas twice for short periods of time but it was always with others and it wasn’t my own holiday. This trip planning is tapping into the part of me that hurts and aches over the injustice of life. When I get excited about it, I instantly feel a pang of guilt that my family can’t all come with me. I was always taught by my mum that we should live a generous life and I know she would want me to travel but I still feel that, in some way, going on this trip is selfish. What is hard to grasp is that generosity doesn’t always look life personal deprivation. For now, I’m just trying to remind myself regularly that I do all I can for my family and that is enough. I love them all so much and I tell them all the time how brave they are, how much I admire them and their tenacity when it comes to the ups and downs of life and how many of my decisions I make having learnt such invaluable life lessons from them and their pain. I often say that I want my life to be a testimony of what my family have given to me. If good things can come from the hurt and pain of the past, I want to be part of that. It’s just hard to be the beneficiary of lessons learnt the hard way. I’m sure though, that when I am having a tough time in life, my family will always be there to love and support me. And it’s true what they say… Make hay while the sun shines. That’s a legacy in itself.
Till next time…