In pursuit of a new life

Well, the good news is I’m starting to feel a bit better about life.  Thanks to the people who took the time to comment on my last post, and all the reading I’ve been doing over the last few days, I’ve got a better idea of how I need my life to develop.  At the risk of making it all seem a bit simplistic, my lightbulb moment came and I realised that what I need to make me happier is to have more going on: cinema, pubs, restaurants, coffee or evenings with friends, voluntary work.  I need to do more.  I will never be content to live in this little village and make that my life.  Now my little boy is growing up and starting to make his own way in areas where I have no access (school in September!) I need to think about myself more.  He is and always will be my first priority, but I remember what me and my friends said amongst ourselves when our babies were very small – happy mummy, happy baby.  Maybe that is even more true now than it was then.

I had a long think about some of the things which I felt need to change.  Some of them are unachievable at the moment.  For example I would love to live in London again, but for all sorts of practical reasons that can’t happen just yet (although hold that thought! I’ve already made it clear to my husband that I will not be old in this village with its damp and foggy winter air and one bus an hour).   I would love to have more of my own furniture and books around me, but we don’t have the space in this house and most of the stuff I owned before I met my husband is now in storage.  But some things I can achieve.  I definitely want to be a writer and see my name in print on a regular basis.  I am making great progress with the writing course and reading lots of other people’s ideas about writing and the writing life.  I definitely want to be fluent in Italian.  I’ve nearly completed this year’s evening class and while I haven’t made as much progress as I would have wanted, it is significant that I have seen it out to the end and have acquired more knowledge along the way.  I suggested to my husband that for our holiday this year we might go to Italy, to somewhere that has a language school, so I could learn Italian for three hours each weekday morning and then spend the rest of the time with the family, hopefully practising what I learn in the morning.  A few years ago I went to Sorrento for a week and learnt a great deal in a short space of time, so I know that this approach works for me.

I’ve also been thinking about the sort of person I want to be.  I read this week a book by Jane Shilling.  It’s essentially a memoir but written from the perspective of being 50+ and reflecting on the passage of time and what it means to grow older, especially as a woman, how perspectives and priorities change.  I’m not quite there yet (!), but time moves on and in a decade or so I will be.  Jane makes some very interesting observations about how our hopes and ambitions can get swallowed up just in the everyday, whether that’s working at a job you really dislike, the struggle to survive financially that so many people are currently facing, or just the general melee of raising children, or maybe even all three (and more) at the same time.  Opportunities are allowed to pass.  Suddenly there is a lull and you look up and wonder where all that time went and what there is to show for it.  I think that’s what just happened to me.  There was a lull and I was able to think for a while.  There are only 20 years between age 20 and age 40, which seems obvious, but when I stop to think about it, that is such a short space of time, no wonder it flies over so quickly when we are busy trying to make a living, find a decent place to live, find a partner, raise children, find a way in life, our own niche.  I’m not talking about making a huge impression on the world, just making my own life interesting and stimulating.

So in practical terms, not much has changed yet.  But my perspective has shifted and I feel different as a result.  I’ve bought new clothes (although some of it had to be returned).  I have bought more flowers into the house; they lift my spirits when I see them in each room.  I have taken out a couple of subscriptions to publications that I enjoy.  I have joined LoveFilm and will be watching more films from now onwards (apart from One Day a few months ago and Girl With The Dragon Tattoo more recently, I think the last film I saw was just before the little chap was born, four and a half years ago!).  I have been reading in earnest (three books in the last five weeks – I used to get through one a week when I was commuting).  I have started researching the holiday in Italy.  You know the old saying: if you want something doing, ask a busy person.  I want to be that busy person.

Linking up again with Kate, in the pursuit of a little time for ourselves.

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14 Responses to In pursuit of a new life

  1. Claire says:

    I’m so glad that you’ve had a light bulb moment and identified some steps that you can take to feel happier. I do think a busy life does help one to feel contented – if it’s a busy life that’s filled with things that are meaningful and enjoyable to you. Breaking through and making changes in life can seem hard – particularly when you’re past the carefree days of your 20’s and 30’s, but more and more I see people doing it all the time. I saw Judi Dench talking on the TV about how her film career only took off with the Bond films in her 50’s. And when I started the (ill fated) degree course a couple of years ago, the oldest person who’d completed it was a woman who was 73. What an inspiration. You’ve got a couple of clear ‘definites’ with your writing and your Italian – and that’s fantastic – Go for it. (And I think the idea of an Italian holiday with a course in the morning for you sounds fabulous.)
    Lovely post, and so glad you are feeling a bit brighter. Claire x

  2. Lovely post and so pleased to see you back on the up. I empathise on the busy equals happy front. I just got my Cam magazine and there were Tuscany holiday homes in there which does sound so very lovely. One day … I hope Groovy Mums played a part in helping you stick with the Italian. You are so much better than me on the writing front. I need to write lots if I want to enter a little competition at the end of the month. Balance between business for its sake and business with a specific aim. Will check out that book you mention and look forward to having yours on my shelf in due course, autographed of course. Make it happen Polly!

    • Ooh, the pressure! Jane Shilling’s book is really interesting, even if not directly relevant at the moment (I know you are a month younger than me). But again it comes down to me being intrinsically nosy – I just love reading or hearing about other people’s lives. Which is where Groovymums comes in really. Certainly it has been and will continue to be an abundant source of inspiration. Will blog about the Italian experience at some stage too, I’m sure.

  3. Really enjoyed reading this post. It sounds like you have a Spring in your step and feel revitalised in your aims. Good for you! I can really feel the passion behind your words regarding all the reading you have been doing. I need to reprioritise a few things in my life. Stuff has really gone by the wayside over the last few weeks mainly due to the most awful headcold I’ve had in years. After nearly three weeks I still have a snotty nose. I know what you mean 20 to 40 went scarily fast! Also great to see your determination about becoming a published writer! Which you will, of course be!

    • Thanks! Great to know that someone else knows what I’m talking about. Really hard to think about anything with the lurgy – I was ill for at least three weeks with it, too. It really does take some getting over. Stay warm and good luck with the prioritising. Px

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Glad to hear that you’ve turned the corner and know what to do to make yourself whole and happier. Couldn’t be more pleased to hear this news. Ever onward, eh?

  5. Zazzy says:

    “our hopes and ambitions can get swallowed up just in the everyday”

    So true. So very true. I’m counting down to 50 and not at all where I thought I would be and unsure where I am going. Busy doesn’t equal happy for me, I think I am seeking peace at the moment. But there are all these small things I want to do and doing some of them would definitely work toward the happy.

  6. This all sounds wonderful – really taking control of your life – and wanting what you have vs having what you want making you happy is great to keep in mind! You’re living it brilliantly. Good luck with it all. Glad you’re back. X

  7. Wow, I am thoroughly inspired by this blog. I am mid-30’s now and was nodding my head along with everything you said. Day to day life does take everything out of you when you have small children and it is easy to not see past that. I – via this groovy mum’s initiative of Kates and wonderful inspiring posts like this have managed to catch myself and say hey, don’t forget ‘you’. I am def going to look up the book you mentioned! I am also doing the ‘book aim’. I was the same as you, I used to plough through copious amounts of books on my commute, the only thing I do miss about it! I have just started reading ‘Daughters’, is very good so far!

    • Thanks Lynsey, I’m glad other people seem to know what I’m talking about – at least I know it’s not just me! Think I might have Daughters on my reading shelf, waiting for me. I’ve just started Leigh Russell’s Dead End which is a new genre for me and a big step up from her first book Cut Short in all sorts of ways! Must shove Daughters further up the list. Let me know what you think of it when you finish it. Funny how our interests take a back seat – I knew it would be like that in the early days but I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to wake up a bit! Off to read your Groovymum post now. Polly x

  8. Helloitsgemma says:

    Am so impressed with your focus and sense of direction. Inspiring!