I will be turning 50 next Saturday and I am struggling to comprehend how this has happened!
Inevitably, I have been thinking back over the years and remembering all the fun times I’ve had and what I have learnt. My life honestly couldn’t have been more different than I thought it would be.
Growing up, I expected I would leave school as soon as possible and work as a secretary for my Dads company. I would marry a local boy in my early 20s, we would have a big white wedding and 2.4 children. I just assumed I would then be a housewife like my Mum!
Life took a very different turn though.
I started working in the city when I was 17. I bought my flat at 19 and was living with my first boyfriend. While my friends were out partying, I was saving up for a new sofa and matching floral curtains. It felt extravagant if we treated ourselves to a takeaway and a glass of Lambrusco!
Over the next few years, my first boyfriend helped to build my confidence in myself. I soon realised there was more to life, so I started to seek out more adventures. I now though children were an inconvenience that would interfere with my new exciting life.
By the time I turned 30, I was living life to the max. I had been living in New York and was now living in Stockholm. I had a 6 figure salary, and I loved my job. I had a beautiful apartment a short walk from the office, and weekends were often spent on my boat or visiting friends at their summer houses. I was also in what I thought at the time to be a good relationship. Holidays were extravagant and plentiful.
I spent the majority of my 30s living in Germany. There was an excellent ex-pat community in Frankfurt. The summers were full of wine festivals and parties, the winter weekends were spent skiing in the alps.
On paper, it looked like I was living the dream, but in reality, I was a bit of a mess!
It was in this decade I found out I was already pregnant. This wasn’t good news. But, I got married ….. and got divorced soon after. My job wasn’t fulfilling me. The relationship I originally thought was good, turned out to be abusive. I went through a custody battle for my daughter that cost me more than my first home. My drinking was out of control and I amassed a collection of over 200 pairs of shoes, as I tried to cheer myself up with wine and “stuff”. When I look back on that time, it’s no wonder my anxiety was at its peak.
My 40s were luckily a lot calmer. I returned to England and I was very happy being a single mum to my fabulous girl. I bought a caravan, much to the amusement of everyone who knew me, and my daughter and I went on a long road trip around the south coast of England together. Weekends were spent staying in the ‘van and we filled our lives with experiences instead of “stuff”. We have a relationship that I am very proud of, and she has bought so much joy into my life. I am now my own boss and I have built up a business that I truly love. My work now fits around my life, not the other way round. I am the fittest I have ever been, and love taking on new challenges. I actually feel younger now than I can remember feeling in years!!
I realise I have done so much that I wouldn’t have been capable of dreaming about when I was younger. I have overcome the crippling anxiety I had in my 20s and 30s, and I have more confidence than ever before. I am not trying to be someone else, and I have stopped running away from the life I had. It was only when I stopped running away, that I realised how good my life is!
I am very grateful for my mad life and hedonistic days. I am grateful for every experience, both the good and the challenging. They have all shaped me to be the person I am today. They have given me so many experiences in life that I can now use to help others, and that is what makes me truly happy and keeps me fulfilled.
I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in my 50s, and how my life will be in 10 years time!
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