This week’s Listography, as created by Kate takes 5, is inspired by Christine Mosler at Thinly Spread. Christine is currently in Mozambique raising awareness for the Save the Children ‘No Child Born To Die’ campaign. If you haven’t signed the petition you can do it here.
The topic this week is “Top 5 Decisions I’m Glad I Made”. My philosophy in life is very much that you shouldn’t regret any decision you make as they all lead you to be in the place where you are right now. But certainly there are a few which have made a fundamental difference to my life:
In vaguely chronological order…
1) Learning Italian at University
This was a definite spur of the moment- aged -17 -type of decision. I had originally wanted to study History and French at university but my small school couldn’t accommodate those 2 topics together in timetable for “A” levels (crazy, I know). So, I decided to take Latin “A” level instead of French and then do a degree in History and Italian. I didn’t speak any italian, I’d never been to Italy and didn’t really think about the implications very well. I did know, though, that the course would let me spend an Erasmus year in Venice and that had me sold. This turned out to be one of the most fabulous and weird years of my life and I count myself very fortunate. Learning Italian also led me to move away from the UK straight after uni and live in Milan for nearly 6 years. It opened up a world of tasty food, heart wrenching opera, beautiful countryside, amazing friends and so much more. Now that I live back in London there is someone who works for me who is Italian and I am lucky enough to speak it nearly every day. I love being able to communicate in this beautiful language.
2) Leaving Italy
Might seem a little strange given the one above but definitely the hardest but most “right” decision I have ever made in my life. I was in a relationship with someone there for nearly 6 years, living with them, having a house with them. It made me grow up but wasn’t the right relationship for me. I loved the guy but I wasn’t in love with him anymore. It was like living a lie and I couldn’t do it to him or to me. So I made the decision to end the relationship, quit my job, move out of the house and leave the country all in a couple of weeks. I moved to London without a job, without anywhere to live and not really a sense of what on earth I was going to do. Luckily, I had good friends there and I found a job and a place to live within a couple of weeks. The next year was hard and I still feel bad about hurting him but ultimately it was the right decision.
3. Spending my house deposit on fixing my teeth and going on safari
This one still makes me laugh. I had a bit of money saved when I moved to London and instead of wisely investing it some kind of ISA/house deposit I spent it on myself! In my first year in London I did 2 things I had wanted to do for years but hadn’t done because of the situation above. First, I had veneers put on my top 4 front teeth. Years of dodgy orthodontal work had left me with ruined teeth and I never smiled properly in photos. They made me extremely self conscious and I realised I could do something about it. So I spent a fair bit of cash and went through a fair bit of pain but it was totally worth it. I now all am smiles in photos and it has made me way more confident. The second thing I did was go on holiday for 2 weeks to Tanzania by myself. The ex had never wanted to go anywhere adventurous with me on holiday because he would “have to protect me” (you can see why this didn’t work out…) and so as a cathartic experience I went to Africa on my own. The first week I spent on safari in an amazing place called Beho Beho and the second week I lived in a treehouse on a tiny island called Mafia near Zanzibar. I met some fantastic people, saw some amazing sights and in a very cliched way “found myself”. It was a turning point in my life when I realised I didn’t need a man and that I was very happy on my own.
4. Commit – get married and have kids
Always the moments like the ones where you realise you don’t need a man, that you meet the one who will change your life 😉 Not long after the trip above I met Jer, my husband. He didn’t want me to change, he didn’t ask me to, he accepted me for who I was and made me want to be a better person for him. It didn’t take long for us to realise how serious we were about each other and we moved in together, got married and had our 1st child all within about 3 years. Marrying Jer and having Munchkin (and soon to be no.2!) was the best decision I’ve ever made.
5. Going back to work after having Munchkin
This was a hard one for me. I have always been very career focused and not particularly maternal in my outlook. However, all that changed when I had Munchkin nearly 2 years ago. I suddenly had to question my priorities in life and think about whether my career was still important to me. Should I stay at home and devote myself entirely to my son? It was a question I wrestled with for a while and caused me many a teary night. However, I went back 4 days a week when Munchkin was 7 months old. I am not denying how hard it was at the beginning and I definitely hit a wall about 2 months in. I felt like I was a bad mum, a bad employee and just not doing anything well. Luckily my boss at the time made me realise that this was just a bump in the road. Since then I have vaguely worked out the balance, I enjoy my work, I got promoted and I know I will go back again after I have number 2. Working is part of who I am and whilst it wasn’t an easy decision, again it was definitely the right one for me.
Bit of a long post but an interesting one for me to think about.
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