This morning I was sent an email from a journalist’s blog that I subscribe to. The article was about energy. The question was, how do you restore your energy levels in order that you can go through the busy times in your life? This sparked my own thought processes about positive and negative energy, about how I choose to live my life and I realised how different my life is now to how it used to be.
I’ve mentioned many times that my brother’s death in late 2013 had quite an impact on me. Sibling death, when someone is still relatively young, makes you question more than anything else, your own mortality and really makes you re-evaluate how you are living your life. I don’t think that up until Sean died, I had ever really considered the idea that I was going to die. Oh of course, I knew it would happen one day, but I had never truly understood that this is pretty much it and there are no second chances, as far as we know, to redo this one life.
I’d worked mainly full-time since I left University. I’d had a few periods of working part-time but I was always in the ‘my career comes first’ mentality. I’d been brought up to believe that being a woman meant that I had to have a career and earn my own money. I was always grateful for this, especially when I experienced the breakdown of a marriage. I wasn’t reliant on anyone else and I had my own independence. However, when Sean died, I started to think about what really mattered to me. Did I really want to spend the rest of my working life feeling that I wasn’t doing enough because of my family responsibilities and likewise, did I really want to keep missing out on my family because of my work responsibilities? Work had gone from being something that I loved; teaching, to being a list of tick boxes and statistical analysis. I hated all that. I hated that governments were telling me what I should teach and how. I wanted to have more autonomy in my professional life. I also felt that I was missing out on my children growing up because I was always too busy or too tired.
There were so many things that I wanted to do. I wanted to write. I kept telling myself, that I would be able to do that in the school holidays, but I never did. I wanted to have time to spend baking and crafting with my children and I kept telling myself that I would do it someday. I wanted to cook home-made meals for them to come home to, but I usually ended up getting a ready meal pizza, as I’d be too tired. There were so many books I wanted to read. Eventually I got to a stage where I was just too busy or tired to even speak.
Losing my brother, made me see just what I was missing out on. So, I took the elements that I enjoyed and started to craft my life around these, instead of around what I had been doing. I removed all the negative energy and stuck with the positive. Out went a lot of the stuff that I didn’t like and I kept what I did. I moved out of management and returned to teaching, which I really love. I now work part-time teaching students who need additional support in their studies. I love my job and I am so fortunate to do something that is so stimulating as well as rewarding. The utter joy that comes with seeing students you have worked with, starting to enjoy their learning. There is a genuine purpose in my work and that is to inspire and educate.
It was always my wish to write. Thus, I undertook several writing courses. I now have a blog and I discipline myself to write every day. My blog is doing well, and I am so grateful for all the support I receive from the blogging community. Writing is a joy to me and it stimulates the creative part of my mind which felt so redundant when I was working full-time. I have even written a novel and I am currently working on editing it. Furthermore, I’ve discovered new hobbies as now I have more time. Gardening is a much better alternative to the gym for me and there is something so rewarding about growing your own flowers, fruits and vegetables.
The change that has given me a great deal of happiness is that now I can spend more time seeing my children grow. It was lovely to be able to attend their parents’ evenings for once and see their school productions. They are older now and need me less and less. Yet I enjoy spending time doing very little with them and to me this is a great luxury.
I’m so fortunate in that I have a very supportive husband and family, who have encouraged me to make these changes in my life. I know that not everyone is so lucky. We may not have big foreign holidays or an expensive car and a huge house but, as my brother’s early death taught me, sometimes in life, there are things that are far more valuable than any material possessions.