I never wanted an ordinary life.
I never wanted to 'make do' with what was given to me. I grew up in a crappy council estate in Central Scotland, where it always rained, the neighbours were drug dealers and I walked past the low rate brothel on the way to catch the bus in the mornings (in all fairness I didn’t realise there was a brothel there or the neighbours were high all the time until much later, my parents did a stellar job in sheltering me. But I did think it was quite serious when my neighbours husband stabbed her randomly on one afternoon…..I was 6 at the time) Most people don't leave my hometown, even though there was nothing to do and it was literally voted the worst town in Scotland (It won the Carbuncle Award in 2010).
Everyone did their duty, finished school, maybe went to college or uni if they got the grades, bought a flat, married the person who they were with and got the kids and the dog. Job done.
When I was 21, this was my plan also, to marry the person I was with 'by the time I was 30'. I was at university doing an engineering degree, having transferred from Physics and had been dating my highschool sweetheart for a few years.
But, behind this I knew that the type of job I wanted to do wasn’t going to be found in Central Scotland. I knew I would have to leave. I was determined to work for a design consultancy that created products for 'big companies' that I would know and understand and relate to.
I had been dating my boyfriend for a few years by this point and although I felt that it wasn't perfect, that I thought that most couples weren't really happy deep down…. Right? (my parents are not the best role models for relationships, despite celebrating 50 years together).
I'll be back in 2 years, I said, as I boarded the train to moving to Greater London.
Cut to 7 years later.
I was working for a design consultancy in London that had clients such as Google, Tom Tom, Samsonite. I had been hired to replace someone and had not been downloaded with the essential inputs which allowed me to be psychic and know what the creative director was thinking next. I was being constantly berated for not knowing this, despite executing what had been asked of me some days before. I was not given the chance to grow, I was not seen for the skills I had, I was not taught how to manage the high level people I worked with. I was not doing the job I was meant to be doing.
I had been living with my boyfriend for 7 years and at this point, it was toxic. We fought all the time, he was possessive, jealous and angry and I was terrified, stuck and miserable. I was not in the relationship I was meant to be in.
I was not given the skills to know that its ok to stop and change direction and to grow with my failures; I was raised to stick to what I knew and with what I was given.
Ending a 12 year relationship was like cutting off my arm, but nobody was going to take action except me. I dropped a load of weight in 4 months because I stopped eating, I couldn’t be around other couples who were fighting, I became unhealthily obsessed with a guy friend of mine because I was terrified of being alone. My entire 20s and then some had been spent with one man. The relationship ended on August 6th 2011. I should've been at a friend's hen party but couldn’t afford to go. All my friends were getting married or had already had their first kids. Stopping a relationship at 31 seemed like the end of my hope of having the cookie cutter life, I was now officially behind the curve. 10 years later
I find myself reflecting on that decision and its been the best years of my life. I never married, or was engaged, I didn’t have any children, I never bought a home or owned a pet (I did foster cats from 2019-2021 though and I can't wait to be stable enough, home-wise to do it again). I never caught up with the curve. I loved, I lost, I learned, I failed, I moved, I laughed, I sobbed. I spent a lot of those years single, but I took the time to really, REALLY know myself. I moved to the other side of the world, saw completely different cultures and traditions, heard new languages, climbed mountains, was coached and counselled, made friends, danced the night away, watched the sunset, stepped on stage, sung my heart out,
I feel like I really LIVED and it has been glorious.
Last year I was fired from my high-paying-high-flying job, I'm currently living in temporary accommodation and I'm jumping through hoops being a British Expatriate living in Europe, post Brexit. But I wouldn’t return to where I was before in the hope of the cookie cutter life and I don’t feel like a failure for not wanting it or ticking the boxes society understands to be normal. Its others who have the problem to put me into a pigeon hole.
I move into my 40s with a new perspective and new hope.
I don’t feel like I could have ever got to this point without going through what I have. Because now I'm grateful for having the knowledge, the vision, the experience and the passion to share with others.
I aspire to help others acquire the skills to take control of their life and change direction. I don’t have a solution for everything, but I'm giving the gift to others that I didn’t have before… the space to really think about what a life could actually be for them, without borders or judgments and to build the strength and certainty to allow that being you is the always best.
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