Looking back to move forward

I’ve kept a diary for years, my memory isn’t great so it’s nice to have a record of my life. I also find it therapeutic. Its nice to have somewhere to note my thoughts, fears, worries, hopes and successes.

I know that living in the past is not healthy. I am happy in the present (work situation and anxiety aside.) Today I was looking at my diaries from 2015 and 2016. I was lax at completing my diary daily in 2015 but from my entries such as they were in 2015 and in 2016, it was very clear that I was not happy. I was frustrated, depressed and settling for way less than I should have.

My ex partner struggled with his mental health and this is in no way a dig at him. It is about me reflecting on the impact of his mental health on me and my own mental health. I was full of questions in 2016. Mostly I was questioning whether I was being unreasonable? Was I expecting too much? Were my ex partner’s expectations of me reasonable? We were operating on different hours whilst living in the same house. It was hard. I was working, he wasn’t. Today, I could see from looking back that at that time I was questioning whether to continue in the relationship.

It took me a further 18 months before I ended the relationship. It was the best decision. Yes, it was awful at the time. Ending a relationship is the hardest thing I have ever done. I knew that it would hurt my ex, but I knew I had to do it. I’d had enough. I wasn’t happy, he wasn’t happy and staying together wouldn’t have been right for either of us.

Facing being single in my late 30’s was daunting. I thought that my ex partner was the man that I would marry and would be the father of my children. Instead, I was single and childless.

It’s funny but in 2017, I’d actually thought about us trying for a baby. There was some uncertainty at work so financially it could’ve been a disaster if I got pregnant and even made redundant. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Thankfully, I wasn’t made redundant and it became clear that having a baby together would not have been a good idea.

Fast forward to today. I’m still childless but I’m in a relationship with an amazing man. Now I know why none of my previous relationships worked out. I also know that those relationships taught me what I needed to know about myself, to know what I need from a relationship. I know that I have found my soulmate. We have talked about having a baby and I know he will be a brilliant father to our child, when the time is right.

Friends

On International Friendship Day, this seems very appropriate. I’m lucky that I have amazing friends. I may not have a huge number but those that I have are worth their weight in gold and I wouldn’t swap that for all the money in the world. Life may have taken us in different directions and we may be at different stages in life, but no matter what, we’re friends.

As I approach the milestone that is my 40th birthday, I’m in a reflective mood. As my physical health and mental health haven’t been tip top recently, I guess this is even more the case.

Earlier this year and, as it happens just before everything health wise came to a head, one of my friends and I met up for the first time in far too long. I’m pleased to say that it was like we’d just seen each other days rather than years before.

We caught up on all our news in person, rather than through social media. It may get a bad press as its mainly how young people connect and communicate but its been a life line in helping my friends and I keep in contact when we’re all living our lives in different countries.

It was also the first time I properly opened up about the difficulties that I’ve been experiencing at work. My friend had been through something similar years before and talking to someone who really got where I was coming from and who has known me for a long time was such a tonic. Feeling heard and validated was very powerful. The advice given invaluable.

Having supportive people around me is a great thing. Friends are so important, knowing that I can text or phone no matter how long or short a time since we last talked and get some advice, have a laugh, catch up and just be myself with is awesome.

I consider myself to be very lucky to have such amazing, generous, loyal, honest, funny and wonderful friends. I don’t tell them enough how much they mean to me, so I’m going to change that…starting right now.

“Be excellent to each other”

As I wake to news of two shootings in the USA, one in El Paso, Texas and the other in Dayton, Ohio. I think of those whose lives have been changed irrevocably. I think of the loss and the senselessness of it. Innocent people going about their lives, enjoying a night out or shopping on a weekend. It brings me to think about division. There seems to be so much focus at the present time on difference, on separation and of negativity.

In the UK, Brexit has been the focus for the last three years. As the clock ticks down the deadline day on October 31st. As the four countries who make up the United Kingdom voted in different ways (Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain, England and Wales to leave) an undercurrent of racism, division and disenfranchisement becomes ever more apparent to me.

There have been numerous discussions about immigration and movement of EU citizens. As a Scot living in an EU country, I find it very troubling. It smacks to me of introversion and ‘British jobs for British people.’ What about inclusion? What about travel broadening the mind? What about seeing ourselves as citizens of the world and welcoming those who chose to make the UK their home as I have in the EU? What about all of the benefits that immigration has brought?

I also find parallels with the US, the President’s desire to build a wall to keep immigrants out and negative focus on immigration. Seeing immigrants in very negative terms. To me, all this negativity and hatred cannot possibly end well.

Surely we should be looking for commonalities? Finding what connects us? Working together to eradicate disease, poverty, homelessness. Working to have a more connected world, recognising and harnessing skills and talents from across the globe. Working to end inequalities. Why see difference as something sinister to be feared? Why not embrace it?

In these worrying times, I find myself thinking more and more of this message from the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and how much better the world would be of we abided by it. So, I am going to try in my life more and more to do this and would hope to encourage others to do the same.

Let’s just “be excellent to each other.”