Just like sleeping soundly in a comfy bed I crave self-expression, but at times it eludes me. Writing plays a persistent calming role in my life but doesn’t always flow freely. Sometimes my thoughts swirl in a tangled mess of perplexity and it’s during these times that my words dry up both verbally and in written form. This is where I’ve been for quite some time, hence my absence from blogging.
Like everyone life regularly challenges my limits and teaches me to adapt to new circumstances. Some periods are tougher than others but maturity of years has taught me that eventually these periods pass. I’m heading out the other side of another intense chapter and now look forward to a new travelling adventure in Europe which I’m hoping will reignite my relationship with writing.
In 1985 most women stayed at home after having a baby and parenting was considered the mother’s role.
I loved my job working in the early days of computing but I wanted to start a family and was overjoyed when I fell pregnant. I resigned my position and looked forward to being a mum never once regretting it even during difficult times.
There were times when people seemed disinterested when I said I was a stay at home mum of three. I also notice this today when I tell others I’m not working as a woman in her 50s. We live in a society that evaluates us on our career choice. I believe people should be able do what’s right for them without judgment.
I have cherished being a mum since day one and will continue to until my last breath. I have seen you grow from babies to toddlers to children to teenagers to young adults and now as adults.
I love you all dearly and each of you brings me joy in your own way. I adore hearing your news and try hard not to interfere but just be there for you to talk things through without judgment.
Remember how we loved the book “Love you Forever”? Maybe it influenced our lives or maybe it foretold our future. Either way it told my story. The blurb on the back of the book says it all “This is the story of how the child goes through the stages of childhood. It is also about the enduring nature of parents’ love and how it crosses generations”.
I reckon we are two-thirds through the book where the mum climbs through the window of her son’s house to sing her mantra.
I am not just a mum. I am the luckiest person alive because I am a mum. It is the best position in life that I will never retire from.
“I’ll love you forever I’ll like you for always As long as I’m living my babies you’ll be.”
I would have laughed if someone told me circumstances in my life this year would present challenges beyond my wildest dreams . Boring old predictable Jenna. Ever-reliable Jenna. Unruffled Jenna. My life felt settled, but I guess Jon Shedd’s words became popular for good reason. Ships in the harbor are safe but that’s not what ships are built for. The only problem was I didn’t know I was boarding the ship.
Fast forward twelve months and I feel like I’ve gone through the wringer multiple times. I’ve faced my soul. I’ve looked it in the eye and didn’t like everything I saw.
There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
~ C.G. Jung
Teetering around the edges of my comfort zone isn’t new for me but this year I catapulted so far away I landed in uncharted waters without a life vest. Extraordinary family stresses as well as emotional and physical breakdowns relentlessly roared in my face. I sought counselling and tried medication to help tame the ugly beast but in the end discovered it’s up to me to find a way to progress. I’ve made mistakes and said things I regret. I’ve seen things I didn’t want to see and swallowed unpleasant truths. For the first time I’ve opened my eyes and looked the beast square in the eyes. For the first time in my life I’ve faced the truth warts and all. It doesn’t sit well but it feels authentic. For the first time I’m telling the whole truth.
I’m pretty tired I think I’ll go home now ~ Forrest Gump
Sometimes you have to step away from your routine to see yourself from another perspective.
I recently took a short trip and quickly realised how desperately I had needed to get away. Over the past six months my life started drifting in a different direction. For personal reasons I chose to accept these changes in circumstances to support others and fuel their wants and dreams but in doing so forgot about my own needs. It wasn’t until I was away that I was able to acknowledge how much this has affected me.
Helping a loved one cope with anxiety is a difficult and confusing time. My heart aches as I try my best to support Jane through a low period in her life. It’s really tough watching a loved one go through this battle, while sitting on the outside, feeling helpless.
Anxiety disorders are different from ‘everyday’ anxiety; they are more intense and persistent and interfere with a person’s life. Such disorders share an extreme sense of fear and worry accompanied by physical symptoms that can affect all systems of the body. Anxiety disorders occur when someone has an intense and paralysing sense of fear or a more sustained pattern of worrying when there is no apparent real danger or threat.
I will do anything to help Jane feel better about her life and would swap places to save her going through this torment. As best I can I remain calm, firm and consistent and show her she is loved and supported. In addition to her family support network I’ve have urged her to seek professional counselling advice.
I started asking myself what should I be looking out for? What can I do to help? What support is out there for people on the perimeter of anxiety disorders? I rang the helpline of the most reputable organisation providing an information and support service helping Australians achieve their best possible mental health. This organisation is widely known for its helpline advice for people struggling with anxiety/ depression or who have suicidal thoughts. It was daunting to make the call as a supporter of a loved one so I can only imagine how overwhelming it might be for people feeling helpless to make the decision to reach out for help.
After deciding to call I dialled the number and heard a click followed by a long recorded message spruiking information about the organisation and the types of services they provide. Then came an automated message to press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for something else. Feeling confused about which number to select I had to wait to hear the message repeated so I could make the correct choice. Once you choose an option a further recorded message announces that calls are recorded unless you state your objection, and then invites callers to press another number to agree to stay on the line at the end of their call to participate in a survey. By now I was getting agitated and wanted to speak to a real person to ask for advice. When I was eventually connected with a counsellor she was helpful to a point and reassured me that I am doing and saying the right things to help Jane.
After making the call I felt disappointed with the unfriendly vibe around the process of getting through to speak to a real person. I doubt very much that people who genuinely need urgent help choosing between life or death would stay on the line long enough to speak to a counsellor to guide them in their time of need. I think this is really sad.
I’m writing this post to participate inBarbara Franken’s challenge to talk about where I find myself now on my journey of self-realisation and freedom.
Sometimes I wonder if there was a defining moment when I consciously made a decision to change how I viewed my existence and where I fit in the world. I think it was around my 50th birthday when I started thinking about being more honest with myself. Almost six years have gone by since then and I’ve been constantly challenged to face truths, be kinder to myself, let go of negativity, move on from the past and learn to forgive. This has not been an easy progression and while I celebrate how far I’ve come I know I still have far to go.
There were times when I struggled to pick myself up after slipping back into old habits and sometimes it seemed too difficult. But every backward step was worth the uncertainty when I realised I’d taken another step forward towards being true to myself.
My journey feels like a game of snakes and ladders. As I create positive change I merrily skip along the board until wham I land on a snake and slip back a few rows into old habits. I’m happy that the snakes seem shorter now and less daunting. I now honestly feel comfortable in my own skin.
I’ve learned many things about myself during the past six years but the most valuable lesson I have learned is to be less fearful.
I strive to live my live following these five simple rules.
I’m sorry it has been a while since I’ve been in touch. I’ve no excuse for my absence and vow to stay connected from now on.
At the beginning of 2016 I stated my intentions and thus far feel happy that I have honoured my promises.
I’ve grown as a person by standing up to certain people and not allowing them to make me feel inferior. I’m sticking my head out from my protective tortoise shell and I’m not as afraid of being crushed anymore.
Another area of my life that needed my attention was reconnecting with people I’d lost touch with over the years. I’ve reached out to some old friends and family and it’s wonderful to feel a sense of belonging to a community again after years of imposed isolation.
We have been working on creating a family business with our son Chris who wants to open a trendy men’s barbershop. Fingers crossed we find out today if we secured the lease of a shop. If so we will be working hard over the next six weeks fitting it out and getting ready to open. We see this as an opportunity for Chris to follow his dream and for our whole family to work together and share their collective skills to make this dream a reality.
Other exciting news is that our daughter Laura has produced a CD of her original folky songs and will launch it in the coming months. I’d love to share her music with you when the CD is available.
Although I haven’t been on my blog site for a while I think of you all often and hope you are all happy and well. I’ve promised myself to spend time each morning to catch up with your news and reconnect with my treasured blogger friends.
When a New Year dawns people vow to instigate change to improve their lives. In the past I’ve cited old chestnuts like quitting smoking, losing weight or finding a better job, but this year my intentions are new. I’m moving on with my life.
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
~ Joel Osteen
These are my intentions for 2016
I will reject rejection
I will forgive others and myself
I will sever contact with people who cause me pain or anxiety
I will live by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
I will speak the truth
I will say no if I want to
I will expect to receive the same respect I extend to others
I will embrace and remain true to my introverted personality
I will continue to live a simple life and be grateful for all I have
I will continue to love and cherish my husband and children in the only way I know how, unconditionally
I will accept my feelings and actions as the whole truth.
Thank you to my blogger friends for sharing your lives, thoughts, adventures and experiences during 2015. I value your company and friendship more than you will ever know.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia