Sometimes things just don’t work out how you think they will. Having cancer for a start, was not on the plan for my thirties. But it happened, so I dealt with it the best I could. What I didn’t expect however, is that it might be the beginning of the end of my relationship
I had been with my other half for about 5 years at the time. We had discussed a family but he was never ready. Then I had cancer. He was working abroad, it was difficult. We got through it. I went back to Switzerland, it all seemed ok. Then I got a job in the South of France and it all fell apart. I won’t go into the details except to say we had a difficult year, got engaged, then I wanted to come back to England for a few months and at the last minute he changed his mind. He couldn’t give me what I wanted. Marriage, babies, commitment, any of it.
So there I found myself, September last year, 37, back in England with no boyfriend, no children, no Switzerland anymore, having to build up a business from scratch, and basically start again. I think there are different levels of fear, this one was an underlying wave. A combination of not understanding how I got there and wondering how 7 years can just be over like that. Wondering if I’d ever have a family, be financially secure, be loved properly, be safe. Wondering how I keep messing everything up. Wondering how I keep going and will it get better.
Initially the joy of being home with my friends was amazing, kept me boosted and happy. Just being able to pop to someone’s for a cuppa or glass of wine and be with people that know me inside out. Another saving grace was my home. The lodger had left, it was a complete mess but it was mine. If nothing else I was determined to earn enough to keep a roof over my head.
Then a few weeks in I felt low. I felt like he had kept the adventures and exciting life we had led for himself and I’d been dumped and left with nothing. I needed something more but was scared because that meant doing it on my own!!!
37 should be old enough to cope on your own, I know, but sometimes I feel like I’m 16 in my head so it takes a bit of talking to myself, but talk to myself I did. This is where the other levels of fear come in. I booked a solo holiday. A SOLO HOLIDAY. Ok so it was a ski holiday but it was still in a chalet with 20 people who I had never met and knew nothing about. The best bit- it was over Christmas. I had to weigh up the fear levels. Which was more scary? Being at home on Christmas Day with my family without my boyfriend or being away on my own with 20 people I didn’t know. Being at home was more scary.
Then came an even scarier decision, my friend was going to visit another friend in Uganda. Did I want to go? Eeeeek!! I’ve never been to Africa. The idea was absolutely terrifying. My instinct was to say no, but then I talked to myself again. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, to visit a new country, to go on safari and take donated presents to an orphanage and visit the little children. How could I say no? Amongst the fear was the fact that in 3 weeks I had to have 5 different jabs, get malaria tablets and my credit card bill wouldn’t look the same again for quite a while. I chose to go.
So in the last month, I have holidayed with 20 strangers in the mountains (my spiritual home), spent Christmas Day on the slopes, skied in deep powder and met some lovely people who I’m sure will remain friends. Had five horrible jabs, Travelled to Uganda, sat looking out at the Savannah, seen lions, elephants, hippos, buffalo, cob, forest hogs, and hundreds of bird species. Stayed in amazing lodges with banana leaf loos and outside showers. Visited a wonderful orphanage with the most adorable children (one that I’d like to adopt but that might be a bit over the top!) but still felt compelled to continue to help them. Driven across Uganda and fallen in love with the vibrant, beautiful country.
Now I find myself at home with a horrible African tummy bug that seems to be going on forever, confined to my house, and am continuing to scare myself by googling what it could be. Would I have chosen not to go if I knew I’d get ill? No way!
My friends call me brave for getting through the cancer thing, but I don’t agree. That is something you have to do. Being brave is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
Fear is not real. Fear is a perception. Fear is when something is out of our comfort zone. If we just take a chance the fear melts away and we are left feeling more enriched than ever.