Who am I now?
This is the question that has hung over me from the moment Geoff died.
Who am I now? What am I going to do with the next 30 or so years of life?
I can do anything I want, anything I dream of, but I have no idea what that is.
I didn’t have big plans for my future. I liked the life I had. I was working part-time as a personal trainer running classes in aqua aerobics, tai chi and general fitness. I had been running these classes for 12 years and it was like going out to exercise with friends. I had a small online coaching business helping people with their money blocks using EFT and I loved that work too. My children were still at school and I loved being a Mum and helping with the schoolwork and driving them around (well that got a bit annoying, but I did enjoy the time with them). And I had a full-time role of support-person to my husband.
And suddenly it was all gone.
Geoff had died and all the dreams of spending years with him, travelling the world with him was gone. He had so many dreams of places he wanted to go and things he wanted to experience I had been happy to let his dreams be my dreams.
And at the same time, my youngest child finished school. She literally finished the same week he died. We had two weeks of end of school functions and that was the end of her 14 years of schooling. I had been a Mum for 42 years and knew that job perfectly. It determined when I got up and dressed ready for the school run at 8AM. It meant that my day ended at 3PM and it was time to get back to being Mum. And that was all gone too.
Who am I when I am no longer a mother and wife?
When I no longer have my classes to teach, (because I had given them up when Geoff had become seriously ill), when I no longer have school things to do?
Who am I when I don’t have dinner to prepare for two hungry people who have had a busy day at work and school?
Suddenly all the things that I had known in my world were gone and I was not prepared.
Now 18 months later and all the financial stuff is done, all the clearing out of Geoff’s things is done, and the teenager is nearly 20 years old and making her own life. Now I really do need to figure out what is next.
I have choices. I am in the extremely lucky position to have choices and I am aware of how lucky I am. This is not the position all find themselves in. I literally can choose to do anything, but it is a bit like a kid in a lolly shop when they are told they can have anything they want. How do you choose when there are so many choices?
This is my time of discovery. A time to find out who I am and what do I like to do. It is my time of becoming a whole person rather than someone’s wife or someone’s mother.
It is scary. How do I know where to even start?
I had thought travel because that is what everyone seems to do and those who travel say it is the best. So, I did a trip to the UK and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be travelling by myself. I learnt a lot about what I liked and didn’t like and could see how I could enjoy travel in a group of like-minded people. I did what all experienced travellers do and booked another trip as soon as I got home.
And then COVID – 19 came along.
It was a time of stress and worry. Will my trip happen? What will be open, is it worth going if half the things are closed? By April when my trip was supposed to leave it was obvious that there was no trip happening. And over the next few months it dawned on us all that there were no overseas trips happening for all of 2020 and possibly none even the next year.
Now I needed another plan. Maybe time to get back to work and do the online coaching I had been doing. I went down that path and decided that I should change my focus and niche. I spent many hours and dollars setting up my new direction into helping stepfamilies and then decided that I hated it. I did not want more stress and strife in my life. I hadn’t realized just how much post-traumatic stress I had been dealing with, but as I tried to help the struggling stepfamilies of the world I saw that I didn’t have the inner reserves that I needed to cope with the drama they were experiencing in their lives. I stopped working.
With the full lockdown happening my world became very small. All the ideas I had had about travel, looking for a new place to live, getting out to exercise, meeting with friends. Everything had stopped.
One thing people had often said to me was to write a book about my life. I had never seen my life as book-worthy, but it was something people had said to me many times. Someone said it again to me and I thought, “well now is the perfect time. I literally have nothing else to do.”
And so, began my writing journey.
And in the process, I remembered how I had always liked to write. I enjoyed writing and the words flowed.
I did what many others my age have done and looked over my life. I discovered the good bits; I saw the big picture in the bad bits. I healed some parts of me. I rejoiced in my resilience. I marvelled at how fast those 64 years have passed and how well I have achieved the goals I have set. I have been a success.
Now it is time for new goals. Time to start this new phase of life.
I still don’t know what it looks like, but this is my time and I am ready to discover the next step.