In just under 2 weeks, I will be 45. That seems huge….
You know, when I was 25 I really thought that, by now, I would have it all figured out.
Well, first of all I would have a career. I most certainly would have not jumped off the wheel to have children and raise them. I definitely would have had support and, as much as I would have adored my kids, there would have been no way I would have relinquished my dreams for a few years with them before they make me redundant.
And what if I had a husband I could not trust or a relationship that failed, I most certainly would need to be able to feed and home the kids and myself. So there, my career would have to be my priority.
At 28, I met the one. The love of my life. We got married and had our first baby. During my pregnancy I was still convinced that I would most certainly run back to work after a couple of months of singing the “wheels on the bus”. But then I met the most powerful blue eyes on a very early morning in February and everything changed. The world as I knew it collapsed and rebuilt in front of my very own eyes into something so beautiful, it was breathtaking. In an instant every single plans I had dropped into oblivion.
Sixteen months later another gift came into my world and life took another spin. Everything I refused to ever be, I became.
I stayed at home to watch my two boys (and 30,679 episodes of the Octonauts). I fed them, did the countless meet up at soft plays, where I would run after one, all while preventing the other one from breaking his neck. Oh, and while trying to have a decent conversation with another adult, be it the 21 year old nanny sitting next to me, who regardless of how sweet she was, had nothing in common with me. I would try my hardest to have at least one hot coffee a day and I became financially dependent. My body looked a mess, I had lost my dress sense and wearing my hair in a pony tail was good enough.
Everyday was a new day on the battle front, fighting for the people I loved the most.
During that time what saved me, was the voice that I found. I exhausted myself staying up too late to write, and read, and connect with other mums like me.
I built business plans, and ran ahead of myself with most of them. Time and energy was the shortest currency in my life and everything took so much effort.
I have felt like a failure so many times, it would be impossible to count.
The boys grew up and I managed to achieve a little bit more with every passing year. I started earning money again. I had a business that was making sense and I was on a good track.
Then, BOOM, we moved to the other side of the world and just like that my plans shriveled like an old fruit. I binned them and moved on with settling my family into a comfortable life the other side of the pond.
I struggled, but only realized how much I struggled when things became our new normal. I was strong and focused. I vowed to myself over and over that once the dust settled I would pick things up where I left them off.
When that time came, I had lost all of my dreams, nothing got me excited again, I begrudged living in the USA. I begrudged people here, their way of living, how different we were in culture and values. How much I missed England and my life there. The network of professionals I had built. Here, I was nothing at all. There I had a voice, I was speaking at events and running my own workshops.
A couple of years later after settling, we bought a house. It was at once wonderful and heart wrenching.
It was great to finally have our own place. Somewhere where once the door was shut I would forget that I was not feeling at home in my new surroundings.
It was also heart wrenching, because it meant we were signing up for the long haul…
What kept me afloat throughout all these different steps was my Embroidery. MY space, MY creations, MY comfy corner.
After the move I fell into a dark place. Anxiety got me like never before. For almost a year I resented life, myself, the world, the sun, the snow. I felt like I was never going to be optimistic, happy, serene again.
Giving my Embroidery a business purpose and focusing on building a community around it, as well as a tight knit group of friends, is what brought me back to life.
How do you dare to make it big when you are a 45 year old woman? How do you avoid comparison? How do you believe that you have all it takes to make it happen, when you haven’t done it before? Surely, if you didn’t make it by now…
And WHY is it still so important to want to “make” it?
The boys will be done with High school in 6 years and by then, what will I be?
I can’t imagine or see a life without a purpose and a reason to get up and go. Some people find that purpose at home and I am so envious at times.
I find purpose and pride in being recognized as a professional. In building something from the ground up, something that brings me connection and serves others.
Teaching is a passion and teaching embroidery fills me with SO much joy. I want to keep growing in that direction and at times I find it so hard to allow myself to believe that at 45 I can make something pretty good out of it.