If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life, as in hoping for another life, and eluding the implacable grandeur that is this life — Albert Camus
My mind’s been wandering since I posted the last blog. I have so many half written blogs, so many subjects I want to think and write about, things I want to share and things I want your thoughts and experiences on.
I keep coming back to CHANGE. As women we face many transitions throughout our lives at times we take them in our stride and at other times they really bring us to our knees.
This weekend I took two of my children to visit a friend in Plymouth who runs a wonderful guest house. It felt unbelievably good to press pause on my London home life and escape to the West Country and be cared for by someone else. We walked along the Hoe, sat in the sunshine with a glass of wine, we ate fish and chips, I dozed on my bed after a long walk, we ambled through the lanes of the old town, I bought a beautiful painting from a local artist and spent an hour or so sitting on the shingle of the beach looking for heart shaped stones. Time stood still, we were away a mere 24 hours and it felt like more. It felt important to stand back for a while and appreciate just how far I’ve come these past few years. Sometimes we need to get off the treadmill and just be still and observe for a while.
As I sit here this morning writing before heading off to work, I am thinking about another major transition that we witnessed this weekend. We stood watching HMS Cumberland arriving back into Plymouth to be decommissioned. Its final tour of duty completed, it had detoured to Libya to evacuate refugees to Malta. As we watched and listened to the 6 gun salute as the crew stood on deck in their dress uniforms, I who know nothing of ships and the Navy was overwhelmed with emotion. A new phase of life now begins for many of the crew.
Transition is a very human story; it is what our lives are about. We can embrace change or we can rage against it.
My divorce is a transition I’ve chosen to make. I have stood at the crossroads many times and decided that this transition is one that I willingly and knowingly brought on myself (to go from married to single parent) and I am proud of what I am achieving. I am resilient and happy to be vulnerable at the same time.
I have also chosen to reclaim my maiden name, the name with which I was born. This is a very practical change on one level, in that I need to let so many people and organisations know. At the age of 25 I took my husband’s name longingly and lovingly as I was ready to become someone else – a married woman forging my own way as part of a couple. It meant a lot to me and it was a transition I took in my stride. Taking back my birth name is for me all about my identity.
So who are we? One day we turn around and our children have grown up or are at least well on their way. We are not needed in quite the same way.
It is important to establish who we are as an individual not just as one of the many roles we have mother, wife/partner, sister, daughter, friend. We do tend to spend our time being all things to all people and the one person we so very often neglect is ourselves. This isn’t about spending time naval gazing and feeding the ‘martyr’ within, this is about giving the one person who really matters the respect she deserves. It is up to you to decide how you will respect her. How will you do it?