Day 15 of the Blogging University Course and for today I have to pick a suggestion from a reader and take it from there. Previously I had asked readers to comment or email me with ideas for possible future posts. I received many replies – thank you! Gradually I’ll write blog posts for all suggestions.
I’ve picked the first email suggestion I received. This came in from Scott over at ‘Scott’s Place – Fact and Fiction’. I’ve been following Scott for a couple of weeks and I’m impressed by the variety in his writing. He is a talented writer and published author and covers poetry, factual stories and fiction (as his Blog name suggests). Please do pay him a visit – you won’t be disappointed. Here is the email suggestion I received from Scott:
Comment: Things to write about: Pick up a book, any book. Turn to page 15. Go to the second paragraph and pick the third word. Now get a black sheet of paper and a pencil and start writing everything you know about that word. Before you reach the bottom of the page you will probably have an idea what you want to say.
The Book I picked is ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss. The book is about punctuation, but has come under some criticism in the past. The word I have to write about is ‘me’. Now, this is the easiest word in the world for me to discuss. Nobody knows me better than myself and me is the thing I know most about.
So, Who Am I?
Since turning 40 last year, I’ve put much thought into this. Who am I? From the ages of 17-28 I believe I was finding out who I was. Well, I thought I was finding out – now I wonder if I was being more ‘me’ than I’ll ever be again. After that, responsibilities take some of the ‘you’ out of self, and you spend time helping others be themselves. Thus, your ‘me’ gets forgotten. You come last.
Who I Was
I was someone who loved to learn new things and challenge myself. I completed two college courses and gained entry into a final year University Degree
Study: National Certificate Administration (with Medical Terminology); Higher National Diploma Communications; BA Business Majoring in Marketing (Degree)
I was a person who never settled for work I didn’t like and therefore had quite a few jobs! I loved temping because I got to try out new places of employment and often got permanent offers (I usually declined).
Employment: Mushroom Picker; Nightclub Glass Collector; Bakery Assistant (twice); Supermarket cashier; Insurance Broker; Deli Assistant; Purchase Ledger Clerk; Receptionist; Marketing Assistant; Marketing Strategist; Audio Transcriber; Personal Assistant. Various Temporary positions – too many to recall.
Some would say I lacked direction. I like to say I enjoyed variety 🙂
Boyfriends: 11 until I met my husband at 23. You may think I was a slut, but I didn’t sleep with most of them.
Living Situation: Lived with my parents until I was 23. I then shared a flat in Glasgow until I was 28. Boyfriend (now husband) lived there for four years too. We shared with an eclectic mix of people from around the world. 13 other people passed through the doors when we lived there. Oh, the stories I could tell!
Life Outlook: Try out as many things as you can. Learn, work and live. Do what you like when you like. Spend all of your money on clothes and makeup and drink and food. Party and holiday. If you don’t like it, change it.
Study: Postgraduate Degree in Human Resource Management
Work: Worked remotely for a University. Couple of temp jobs.
Personal Assistant to Director. Recruitment Co-ordinator; Human Resources Manager (all same company).
Husband: Married long term boyfriend.
Living Situation: Gave up job and flat to follow my boyfriend (now husband) to a new city. Rented for a while then bought our first one bed flat and got married. Moved after a year to a three-bed detached in the Suburbs.
Life Outlook: Sometimes you have to give up what you love for the person you love. In this case, it was the city and job I loved; and moving further away from family and friends. It was then that I got my head down and ‘stuck in’ to a decent career I enjoyed. I studied part-time in order to progress in the profession. We got our first mortgage. We were well-off and had plenty of holidays, trips and luxuries. Then at 33, we realised how quickly life can change. A terminal diagnosis for my father-in-law meant our care-free selfish existence was no more. More weekends travelling to see in-laws. I felt like an adult for the first time.
Work: Stay at home mum. Self-employed childminder (home based).
Husband: Same one.
Living Situation: Moved back to my home town when husband quit his oil job and I was heavily pregnant. Bought large Victorian 4 bed detached. It constantly needs things doing to it. Took a massive cut in household income.
Life Outlook: Busy raising a young boy and running a business from home. Husband works away a lot, so needed a job where I could still be around for son. Father-in-law death. Mother-in-law terminal diagnosis. Many weekends visiting sick relatives. Couple of great holidays abroad, but more recently nearby in order to be around for sick relative.
Do you see what happened? I went from doing what I liked and it being about ‘me’, to doing what everyone else needs me to do and being selfless. I felt I’d lost my voice – actually I felt like I was invisible. 10 inches off hair and no one batted an eyelid. Lost 30 pounds and it was barely mentioned. The ironing fairy put it all in the cupboards again but of course, they noticed that the dinner was tasteless. I began to feel like I was providing a service and not a very good service at that.
After I turned 40 I decided that things needed to change. I wanted to put myself first sometimes. 2016 has been about taking baby steps in order to feel more like ‘me’ again:
- My husband was (understandably) depressed, didn’t want to talk, and was tied to being here – so I holidayed with friends and my mum. I spent my summer wages on little holidays, days away and a hot tub instead of getting house repairs done. Life is short; I could be gone any time so I’m making the most of it.
- Enrolled in college again, with the view to progressing my career in childcare in two years’ time.
- I got the courage to start writing and my Blog was born in August.
- Cut down on my working hours.
- This week I (nervously) took on my first freelance writing job. I was terrified I’d underperform but this was my review:
***** Brilliant Service, Excellent Knowledge in childcare and recruitment. Beth exceeded my expectations.
See the difference? The list is all about me! I know I’m a mother; wife; daughter; daughter-in-law; childminder; friend; sister and so on. I try to be great at all of those things and by nature I’m a selfless, people pleasing type of person. Although I still try to be good at all of those things, there is more to me than that. Slowly I’m getting a bit of me back and I like it. If people are put out or don’t like the me I’m becoming then they’ll just have to get used to it!