Life is only a series of days.
Like these flowers.
One flower after another.
How come I’m only discovering this at the grand old age of 41?!
It hit me hard the other day.
My husband said he was hoping to retire at the age of 55. Or at least he wanted to have the option of retiring at age 55, if he fancied it that year and if the stars aligned (my words obviously – meaning if the market was in good shape).
As he carried on talking, I suddenly realised this was only 12 years away! 12 years! Our daughter is nearly 10, so that’s basically another life of Choupinette so far, and we’re DONE?! We retire?!
But my own life has only just STARTED!!! How can that be?!
My husband has been working for the same company for 15 years, worked in the same job for 13 of those, in another for the last 2, and I feel I have accomplished nothing.
Studying Politics and International Studies, then going from editing and proofreading (for two publishers, and then freelance for several) to doulaing to hypnobirthing to hypnotherapy, finally being the person I have always wanted to be – a therapist of some sort (psychologist, counsellor, psychotherapist, whatever – I just wanted to help people!) and now also, finally, after 30 years of longing, a WRITER. A blogger. An author. Again, whatever the title, I just wanted to write. Every day. Novels, short stories, poems, snippets and (more recently, when technology started allowing it) blog posts (I have always loved writing my diary too, and blogging is or can be a bit like that if one wants to).
At age 41, after 10 years of being a mother and now finally working in the field of my dreams and thoroughly enjoying it, I feel that my life is finally starting. And now you’re telling me that in about the same number of years we will be retiring?!
(My pension fund is tiny so I will be retiring at the same time, though of course I will carry on writing till I die, I know this much, and maybe also be a therapist for a few years or maybe even a couple of decades beyond that 55th year!)
I was and still am in shock.
And so it hit me. Life is just a series of days. One day after another.
Whereas I thought that life was… making sure something BIG would happen, like changing the world, changing the face of this earth, creating something that everyone would love and thought was genius.
I have indeed been waiting for this to happen, especially in the last 3-4 years.
But instead, nothing. One month passes, one year passes, and still nothing.
No major online programme, no endless string of clients or 6-month waiting list, no book.
I know the reason behind this apparent lack of success.
There was FEAR, a LOT of FEAR.
Fear of failure.
Fear of success. (I know.)
Fear of not being good enough.
There was also a lot of hesitation (I’m a Libran, don’t ask).
A lot of changing my mind as to what my focus should be.
Only 1:1 work.
Positioning myself in this massive online world has been very trying for little old me who comes from a small village 30 miles away from Paris and was a pupil at a village school of 10 children spread over 4 years between the ages of 7 and 11!
Still, I did decide. And although there are minor changes here and there every now and again still, overall I feel I have managed to settle on something. Something I love and I’m passionate about.
Feeling the Freedom in motherhood.
The mother-daughter relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still passionate about birth and early motherhood, but I just couldn’t do all the things I wanted to, I still can’t, and so I had to choose. And anybody who’s a Libran will know how difficult that is! (And even more so because my rising sign is also Libra!) (If you read that linked article, I’m SO NOT into unnecessary luxuries and SO NOT superficial! And although sometimes I feel unreliable, I’m actually very reliable. Everything else I think is pretty accurate…)
I also had to understand and accept that because I’m not in my childbearing years any more (for me I mean), the subjects of pregnancy and birth aren’t as close to my heart, mind and soul as they once were. However, I know that as soon as my girls are old enough (another 5 years or so) I will go back to doulaing. This, I feel, is in my veins. I just haven’t been able to do as much doulaing as I wanted because of lack of childcare support.
So today, it is time for a review of what I have actually achieved, and I strongly encourage you to do the same, because it sometimes feels like NOTHING, and yet it is SO MUCH once it is all written down!
- I know I help people. Through my writing perhaps, through my group sessions most of the time, through my 1:1 sessions most definitely.
- I have helped over 80 couples have a GREAT birth, which means their daughter(s) or son(s) will have had a GREAT start in life, which is one of my passions.
- I have helped dozens of mums prepare for motherhood or thrive through early motherhood, through my antenatal classes, my postnatal doulaing and my therapy sessions, especially with EFT and hypnosis.
- I have helped thousands of students learn French, GOOD French, through the books I edited and/or proofread, with countless grammar lessons and exercises.
- I have helped thousands of students learn economics, geography and history, through the books I edited and/or proofread.
- I have helped hundreds of authors live or maybe even thrive through buying and recommending their books to my friends and clients (haha!).
- I have married well and produced with my husband two gorgeous girls who are doing well at school and in life, and to whom I teach everything I teach my clients, because my other passion is that children learn these techniques early in life.
- I have a beautiful house and garden in one of the most picturesque settings in the United Kingdom.
- We have just enough money to live well if I don’t work, and I bring in some money every month so that we can live that little bit better.
And here’s probably the rub. I would love to bring in much more money so we can live much much better and go places with the girls in the near future. I want to do more things with them, like seeing plays and concerts and going to the beach and for cycle rides. And while they have been too little to do that (my second at any rate), we are now getting closer to this stage where it WILL be possible. And so I want to contribute more financially.
But that great idea, that great success, that massive accomplishment just isn’t coming. Despite all my efforts.
And so I realise now that life, at its best, is just a series of good days. We all have pretty damn good days in my family, and while I am grateful most days, I haven’t been grateful for each day that we have lived well.
And so the only question I ask myself every evening now is:
‘Have I lived well today?’
And since deciding to ask this question rather than focus on all the things I haven’t managed to accomplish yet, the answer has been invariably ‘YES!’
At dinner time in my family, we ask each other every day: ‘What are you grateful for?’
From now on, I will add ‘Have you lived well today?’
To me, to ‘live well’ means to live in alignment with one’s values and one’s wishes and goals.
So for me, it looks like this:
- Have I been a good enough mother to my girls?
- Have I been a good enough wife to my husband?
- Have I been a good enough friend to my friends?
- Have I respected my body (food, yoga, walking, grounding) and my mind (yoga, meditation, gratitude, writing)?
- Have I respected nature?
- Have I written?
That’s it. That’s all that matters.
If you ask yourself these two key questions every day, ‘What am I grateful for today?’ and ‘Have I lived well today?’, and give at least 5 things in answer to the first one and say ‘yes’ in answer to the second, then you will get to the end of your life – whenever that may be – content and maybe even happy and, most importantly, at peace.
At peace with who you are and at peace with the life you are creating every day.
You may not have achieved big things, like, say, Churchill or Mother Teresa, but you will have lived well, and if you have children, hopefully they will have too, thanks to your example and to your questions.
PS: If you would like to experience more emotional freedom in your life, if you would like to be free from stress, anxiety, trauma and things that block you in your life, job, business or creativity, just PM me or contact me via my booking page. I offer FREE 20-minute consultations and I’m happy to chat any time.
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