So last night I went out and celebrated with my bestie. We celebrated Christmas, breaking up from school and the start of my new life. I’d had some good news and very important documents arrive that meant a big step forward towards mine and toddler Ps future. Me and my best guy D Pipes some bubbles and lived our best life for the night…even if he did take me to a right dive at one point. He’s my soul mate, for all he’s not my partner, he’s always going to be there for me and a partner in crime, but that’s a whole other blog post waiting to be written. What he did do last night was give me some sound advice, because as much as I hate to admit it to him, he sometimes knows me better than I know myself and he gives me that knowing push and nudge in the right direction when I need it and reminds me just great I am. Everyone needs a friend like D in their life.
What he reminded me of was not living in the past. I was getting myself ready and doing my make up as he sat chatting away to me, sipping prosecco, nagging me to “come the f**k on” so he could book a taxi. I was fussing over what accessories to wear and made a fleeting comment about how I used to dress and the confidence I had when I was younger and thinner. I went on to say how I was getting back to being that person again and the person I was before my marriage. To which he said, “but why do you want to be her? You’re not her anymore, you’re a different person now, be who you are now” and he’s right. I don’t want to be her anymore, life goes on and I need to not live in the past.
That girl was younger and more carefree but also more naive. That girl still lived at home with mum, that girl still had her dad around. That girl didn’t have responsibilities and was just nicely out of uni, working in a job, not a career. She aspired to a life, she aspired to the things I have now. She wanted the house, the car, the career, the family, the child. But she didn’t have them yet. She sported weekly hangovers after random nights in the local towns crappy nightclub (FHM’s worst rated in the UK to be exact) she had fleeting reunions with uni friends, reenacting freshers week for a weekend. She didn’t have to worry about money, bills, nursery pick ups and drop offs, picking up the turkey for Christmas dinner or ensuring she’d dropped off that reference HR wanted for a staff member. She just had to worry and focus on her. Life was different then.
Back then that girl could do what she wanted when she wanted and it was fun. Now I’m not only responsible for myself and my home, but I have little miss P to think about. I’m also embarking on that role reversal with my mum, I’m at the stage where I’m taking responsibility for her well being too, making sure Granny T is ok. I have staff to look after, rather than being that girl in just a job, now I have a career and a team of people I’m responsible for and a duty of care to ensuring they’re not only working and performing well but are ok and happy too. I have the things that girl aspired to and more but I have the responsibilities that run alongside that. I also have the lessons I’ve learnt.
I’m more worldly wise than that girl and as my top guy reminded me, I’ve fought battles and overcome things that, that girl would never have imagined contending with. That girl used to cry into a glass of gin over the guy that stood her up thinking she’d never get over it whereas this woman I’ve become has faced bereavement grief, a divorce, pregnancy, childbirth and the raising of a strong willed child and come out on top…ok some of which was still done with a bit of crying into a glass of gin but the battles were fought and overcome. I’m now more able to make bigger more informed decisions about what I want to do with my life and I’m a lot stronger and powerful than that girl.
That girl didn’t even know if she wanted to into teaching the arts, this woman is striving for senior leadership and education reform. That girl knew she wanted a family but she didn’t know who with and dreamt of the picture perfect hallmark film family, this woman knows that family is the people you build into your life and is made up of love from those that care.
That girl wanted to be in the “in crowd” she wanted popularity and friendships in droves. She wanted to be liked by everyone and needed that validation of others. This woman now knows that smaller tight circle is more important, because that brings trust, honesty, integrity and support. It’s bring love and fun, it brings care and it brings what you need over superficial ideals.
That girl was hot headed (and this woman still is a bit) and often had knee jerk reactions. She made mountains out of mole hills and blew things out of proportion. Now this woman still does these things but has a healthy awareness of it and I turn to those closest to me when I need help rationalising things and to be told to give my head a shake.
However, that girl was also spontaneous. She was fun, she laughed, she didn’t give a s**t and just enjoyed life. She didn’t worry and over think. She hadn’t been beaten down by someone and didn’t carry the emotional scars and burden of a toxic relationship so let her hair down more easily and didn’t approach things with the same amount of caution as I do now. She was more confident and vibrant and not afraid to make a fool of herself. This woman still has some of the features, but they’ve been a bit diluted by experiences and it’s these that I want to get back to. I don’t want to be that girl again but I do want to keep reigniting that sparkle that she had. I want bring back those carefree, funny, unapologetic for being who she is, notions and be fearless again, but I want to do it whilst carrying the lessons I’ve learnt, the responsibilities I’ve gained and the strength I’ve developed.
I don’t want to go back to who I was, I want grow as the woman I’ve become. Because I actually quite like her and eventually I’ll love her as much as that girl I was loved herself.