As I look back on my journey through life I’ve come to realise that where you begin is never where you have to end up everything constantly changes and evolves.
As a teenager and for most of my adult life I had a very limiting belief about my own ability and my position in life: where did I fit in, where did I belong and what was I meant to be doing?
I was amazed at how quickly life went by and how many challenges rose up. When things went wrong I noticed whatever it was didn’t last too long and my go-to statement became…. this too shall pass!
I’ve since come to realise that everything good and worthwhile sits on the other side of hard work. However, it took me until my late forties to understand what that really meant and looked like and how I could play that out.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always worked hard. I’m a grafter, I do everything to the absolute best of my ability and I’ve always had a fire in my belly to push the boundaries in all areas of my life. Still I often felt I was going round in circles; no matter what adventure I went on or what job I found myself in, I felt there was something amiss.
That was then and this is now…. also became a statement I’d refer to. I naively believed I could dismiss my childhood beliefs,patterning and experiences, thinking they’d disappear as I got older. My goal was to leave home as soon as I could and to not end up like my mum who was horribly stressed, unhealthy, angry and frustrated. I decided that my way out and the way to have a different life was to spread my wings and travel, have no responsibilities and to live a life of freedom. Of course, you need money to do that. So I left school at the earliest opportunity, aged 15 – I didn’t wait for the exams as I was in a hurry to get on with life! I did my apprenticeship as a hairdresser (I could make your hair curl with some of the pranks we got up to! excuse the pun) By 18 I’d finished my apprenticeship and was working as a nanny in London. I had no idea at the time that the job was going to lead me onto the next chapter of my life. By now my thirst for adventure had really got a grip and the next 10 years saw me travel round America and Canada in a 1970s combi van. I youth hostelled, backpacked and drove thousands of miles in search of the next view, next mountain to climb, lake to swim in and culture to experience. I’d cracked it – I’d found freedom! I didn’t know it at the time but that freedom was
By the time I was 28, I was living back in the UK and had a stint of living in my old banger of a car. Apart from the amazing memories, I hadn’t got much to show for all my experiences. There’s only so much you can relay and remember. At a school reunion that year, we shared stories of our life since we left school and it left me feeling like I’d made foolish decisions and that I’d been careless. Whilst my old school friends shared stories of marriage and children,and had homes and a sense of contentment, I sounded reckless and irresponsible. I just couldn’t do anything by halves: I was all in with everything… but what was that thing?
Once again, I started to remember the feelings I’d had as a child growing up watching my mum struggle. She had 4 jobs, never any money and was always rushing, Mum never seeming to enjoy anything she did and was always angry (especially with me: the hippie, the dreamer, the one who couldn’t get her act together). These memories just made me want to get away again and live wildly.Looking back now I can see that there was absolutely no balance in my thinking.
Approaching 40 after 10 more adventurous years in Australia, I found myself a single mum to two kids. I remember the first night in our rental home with very few belongings, and very little money, a fear seeped in.
I had some earning power as I’d studied in the field of nutrition and achieved my sports coaching and personal training qualifications. A small business, two fabulous kids, lots of friends and great health. From the outside you would say I’d cracked it. But if you looked a little deeper you’d see I was actually very fearful at this point in time.
It occurred to me: is this how my mum had felt with three children to look after as a single parent? Like her, I had three jobs (surprisingly this still wasn’t enough to take away the anxiety as we only just had just enough money to get by). Not being a materialistic person, I didn’t care about the lack of luxuries we could afford but anxiety nagged at me every night when I went to bed. As I got older, the feeling got stronger, was I about to repeat history.
I’d worried my whole life about my mum and could never understand her choices and it dawned on me that it wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to end up like her, but that I didn’t want my children to have the same feelings that I did when I was growing up. Parents readily say “we just want to see our children happy” and I believe that it’s just as important for our children to see us, their parents, live a happy and full life. So these last 10 years I committed to changing that. I often blamed myself for my mum’s lifestyle, but you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. That’s what the unease was all of those years. So then the learning began and the unpicking of old patterns. I picked up my first self help book up at nearly 45 years old!
The more I learned about why we do certain things the more I wanted to know. I became an avid reader to find out more about myself, and more importantly what I could do with that information… What unfolded taught me a lot. Not only have I grown as a person, over the last 10 years I have changed my financial blueprint forever.
Looking forward to sharing more with you in the next episode.