I have been thinking a lot about focus and honesty recently. What am I doing with my life? Where am I going? What am I supposed to be doing? There’s nothing like a major life change to force a shift in your whole demeanour. It sounds cliched to talk of finding oneself, but yes, clichés are there for a reason and I believe that I’ve done much soul-searching.
This week I gave a talk to a group of retired people about my diagnosis and how I coped. Many of them remarked how positive I was and how it was great to see me so cheery. Many were excited to read this very blog. However, I felt I had to warn them. “it’s not all the cheeriest stuff” I cautioned. “But I can tell you that all of it is honest.”
Because being honest has always been important to me. And being honest about how I feel about so much is integral to who I am as a person. It’s what made me who I am, and what’s brought me to this very place. Here. Now. Writing these words on this computer. To you, dear reader, whomever you may be. And I tell you that I believe that being honest with yourself and others is the only way to find real happiness.
Yes. I am being AWESOME in a public park.
Facing The Truth
I ignored the niggling doubts deep inside me for such a long time. Were they wasted years? No, of course not. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Mr F, my now ex-husband (how strange that feels) is a good man and cared very much. Yet we were moving at pace in such different directions. I want to go crazy, dance ‘till dawn, lie on the grass, lose myself in the fathomless depths of the stars at night, laugh uncontrollably with my friends and literally climb mountains. I want to do it all. I don’t want to talk about it, I need to DO IT.
Yet it came to be apparent that this new found exhilaration for life (or had it always been there, hidden by a desire to conform, then later by the toils of parenthood?) only made me more and more incompatible with the man in my life. A good man, a kind man. Yet not the kind of man that relishes packing a bag and hitting the trail on a weekend, or taking a long bike ride, swimming in a lake or more simply attacking odd-jobs around the home just for the feel-good factor. He couldn’t share my desire for action. I couldn’t share his wish to kick back and relax.
That doesn’t make either of us bad people. Making the decision to leave the family home was the most painful one I have ever done. Yet it didn’t mean I left my family. It hasn’t meant we’re no longer a unit. We live apart, yet together. Getting used to 50 / 50 custody is strange, yet in some ways so much better. I hug my children tight when they arrive. I hold them close, sometimes I feel like crying. We talk at length. We laugh, cry and discuss the things that are going on in their lives. I am so proud of the young people they are becoming. Constantly amazed that the cliché I heard about them ‘growing up fast’ really is true.
They talk to me about their hopes and dreams and I tell them about the importance of honesty. We’ve always maintained it ‘s important and I suppose that’s what this whole thing is about. If you’re really true to yourself, if you take that deep breath and face what you actually know you’re most afraid of, you often find that in reality, it’s not as bad as you thought it was. You can, you will, overcome the most insurmountable obstacles. In the end, you will feel such a sense of … well. It might be achievement. It could be peace. Whatever it may be, you will have succeeded and proved that you’ve still got what it takes. Because you never really lose that ability to seize the opportunities available, but sometimes we allow ourselves to bury the knowledge that WE CAN under so much day to day detritus.
So get out there, do what you can to make every day count. They really do flash by. As the saying goes, “to thine own self be true.”
Until next time, Kitty.
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