It has been a wonderful weekend and one that has been plagued with anxiety.
Anxiety – I am so bastard sick of that word.
I hate that it came into my life from nowhere, and some days dominates like a bout of food poisoning after a meal that you devoured with angelical enthusiasm.
Most of the time, my anxiety is like a small stain on the wall which can be hidden by a well placed piece of furniture or a colourful picture. It is there when I look for it, but I can ignore it.
This weekend, I couldn’t.
Christ knows why. Apart from being locked down, in a global pandemic, with three children; everything else is as it was. The gym I manage is still closed, which is hard, my recruitment role is going well, my training company has a few more clients and enquiries, and my blog is still going strong.
My friend (bubble – for the Covid police) spent the weekend with us, and I had company and it was awesome.
But yet, anxiety swam in my throat like bile.
When left alone I drifted to websites entitled, how to stay valued when older, average pension value for a 43 year old single mum.
I looked for more “stuff” to stress me out.
And thought about work all the time.
I always think about work all the time.
Don’t get me wrong; I love working, I really do, I need to feel busy, I crave being needed, I adore learning.
But right now, the scales in my mind are so heavily tipped to my working days, I know I am failing to be there for the three people who are rapidly growing up around me. Plus, it shouldn’t just be about work – should it?
I remember being “younger”, and dreaming of the weekend, planning phone calls with friends, thinking of trips I would take. In my thirties, I always thought I would travel the world in my fifties. In my forties, all I seem to do is think how I can plan to build a tiny pension into something bigger for my sixties and seventies.
And yes, that is super important, no one wants a shite retirement, but should it be dominating my thoughts with a good twenty, twenty-five years to go?
Younger Jane, thought I would probably have this all figured out by now.
But the reality is, early forties Jane, is still working out what she wants to do, who she want to be, and what that looks like.
A failed marriage means a financial situation that isn’t always easy, but yet I am surviving, and compared to many thriving.
But the anxiety creeps in, because I have no idea how this story ends. A few years ago this would have delighted me, and excited me. Now, it simply scares me shitless.
But I do not accept this.
I cannot live in a shadow of fear of what may come. I cannot focus anymore on what will happen if something goes wrong.
This place, my little spot on the internet is a place where I often come back from the brink. Where I plunge my thoughts and feelings out to an unknown audience, and feel a burden leap from my shoulders.
Honestly, most days, I have so many ideas that I feel like a fecking rainbow of innovation – still around work, I need to work harder on innovating relaxation.
This weekend, I had two days of my inner self critic telling me I was too old, I have left everything too late, and I am destined to fail.
I look back at my life, and I see pure success, even a “failed marriage” (to use my earlier phrase), still resulted in some successful happy years, and three remarkable children. So really, I didn’t fail at all, I just moved to the next phrase of life.
Did I fail in not putting pension payments away from an early age? Or did I raise three kids with varying medical conditions on the part-time salary I had at the time?
Did I fail by not conforming to one job, and one career for life; or have I succeeded in learning new skills, diversifying, and am I starting to build the foundations for something bigger which is yet to come?
I heard a beautiful phrase this week “live as if the world is conspiring to make you happy.”
To know happy, you must know sad.
So for the sad parts of this weekend, for the stress hours and anxious moments; I am grateful, because when I learn to manage this – the days will become brighter and better.
Hope anyone who stumbles upon this post is well, safe and finding happy.