I’m writing this sitting on the bed in the spare room of my parents’ house. At the age of 39, I am back living at home for the second time in three years.
It’s fairly safe to say that this wasn’t planned.
I wasn’t even going to write this post, but my head has been full of it, and sometimes the only way for me to get peace from my thoughts is to write them down, and free them from the endless hamster wheel of a circle they’re whizzing around in my brain. And, in the interests of authenticity, I thought I’d put them here.
We’d always known that we’d need to leave the flat when the kids got older because they were sharing a bedroom and we knew that they’d need their own rooms. That time is nearly upon us, and we’d planned to leave next year. But then we got new neighbours who brought with them a very different (and illegal) lifestyle to ours, one that impacted on our home on a daily basis. Despite many attempts to sort things out, in the end we realised that nothing was going to change and we left. Obviously it’s a lot more complicated than that, but that’s the crux of the matter. My lovely boyfriend had to move closer to his work and the kids and I moved in with my parents.
It’s tempting to wallow in the situation that I’ve created for myself. To be angry with Twenties Me, the one who spent every penny she earned and got a giant loan and credit cards, leaving Current Me with debts and the inability to move straight into a new place. But, I can assure you that flinging yourself dramatically on the bed in tears gets a bit old after a few times. I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself anyway. Tired of using old excuses for this situation. After a lot of mindfulness practice, talking with people I trust and having time to think things through, I’m in a place of optimism and hope. I even forgive Twenties Me – she did some great stuff as well as getting into debt and I’m stronger because of her.
Apart from my self-inflicted financial situation, when I really think about it, I know I’m incredibly blessed. I have brilliant children, a supportive family, loving boyfriend, the best friends anyone could wish for. I’m in full time work, have a relatively healthy body and mind and an endless list of other things to be grateful for. So, perhaps I’m not messing my life up as much as – in my darker moments – I think I am.
Overwhelmingly the thing I’m grateful for right at this moment is having the kind of relationship with my parents that means I can move home. I know how lucky we are that they have enough space, and that they’re happy (most of the time!) to have us here so I can get back on my feet. In fact, it’s almost tempting to get too comfortable. I know this house inside out, all my memories from childhood onwards are woven into it. The most overwhelming feeling I have now is of safety. I feel completely and utterly safe here. With my Mum and Dad. But I know I can’t stay here forever…
This post was originally titled ‘A Nourishing Year update’. Regular readers will know that I’ve been working through monthly activities based around Susannah Conway’s Unravelling workbook. Although life has rather gone off the rails a bit, I think that re-grouping, making time for the people and activities I love, and practicing kindness to myself and others will be an excellent way of getting it back on track – and finding that nourishing year again, in whatever form it takes.
So now it’s time for a plan. You know how much I like those. It’s got to the point where I’m wondering if I’m the Del Boy of planning – “this time next year, Rodders, we’ll have totally sorted our lives out” – but this one has to stick. I’m 40 in less than a year. I’m quite scared of that, to be honest. (I’m taking a few deep breaths at this point.) So, there’s a sensible, finance-based plan. I’m paying a healthy contribution to bills and food, but it still leaves me with the ability to pay off some debts and get some money saved up. That knowledge is already a great feeling; of being a bit more in control again.
Then there’s the other plan. The Nourishing Year plan. That one will take a bit longer to put together, and I’m starting by re-reading my Unravelling Workbook. I’ll share my thoughts with you about that in September. A fresh start for the new season feels right.
My life isn’t the one I expected to be living. Even when I move out of my parents’ house, it will be different. For a start, I only have my kids for half of the time, and they live with their dad the other half. I don’t have the conventional ‘marriage, kids, house, dog’ thing – although I do spend far too much time on the Dogs Trust website. But if I choose to live this life in a wholehearted way, instead of wishing it was different, it has the potential to be a wonderful way of living. I have time to be the best parent I can, time for all the people I love, time to spend on my own projects (including my little skincare business), time to travel – alone and with others, including my kids. I just need to make my plans work and then my forties won’t be the scary place I imagine them to be. And they’re going to work, because I’ve promised myself that I’m going to make them happen. Believe me, I’m going to work my hardest.
I will sort my finances out. I will find somewhere to live. I will wholeheartedly live my unconventional life.
And that’s that. Wish me luck. Normal blogging service will resume later this week and I’ll be back talking about vegetables, ethical travel, books or natural skincare before you know it. Thank you for reading this. I’m glad that I wrote it, in the end.
PS: Sorry about the Only Fools and Horses reference. It’s my age, you see…