What lies beyond the hill.

On paper,  she has the perfect life. She lives in a nice city, has a good job, is surrounded by family and friends. Her love life is one that is envied. Yet, with all these things going for her, deep down she feels like there is something missing. There is a world out there that is calling her name, waiting for her to explore it. She feels like she is standing at the bottom of a hill, looking at the peak, wondering what lies on the other side. So one day, she makes a big decision. To leave all that is comfortable and familiar, and find out what lies beyond what the eye can see. Its not an easy decision, but somehow deep down, she knows its the right one.

After a lot of internal anguish, she starts the process of letting go of what she has known her whole life. She turns in her resignation at work, gives her partner the ‘its not you its me’ speech as Fergie’s lyrics to “big girls don’t cry’ echo through her head. Her family is hesitant to let her go, but they are supportive. She does not have a specific plan. All she knows is she needs to leave and head somewhere. Maybe from this new place, she  can think more clearly, see the future with a different set of eyes. Maybe even find a greener patch of grass. From this new place, she can feel alive again; and who knows, maybe after she has seen what is on the other side of the hill, she will return home and fit right back in like a missing part of a puzzle.

Sitting at the airport, she stares down at what years of her life  have been reduced down to. Two large suitcases and a carry on bag. She looks at the ticket placed between the pages of the lonely plant that her brother gave her as a partying gift.  She knows where she will be spending the next couple of nights, but beyond that, the rest is uncertain. She smiles at the thought that she is both nervous and excited. Her flight starts boarding. She looks back and gives her family one last wave. She can tell her mother is besides herself, but she is hiding her pain. During their chat the night before, she showed her how to use Whattsapp and Facetime. She even opened an Instagram account for her so she can follow her daughter’s adventures. She gets the urge to run back past security to give her family one last hug. She can see them blowing kisses and her father mouths the words ‘we love you’.

She is next to board. She fights the tears stinging behind her eyes and puts on a brave face. The attendant hands her back her paper work and wishes her a good flight. She takes a deep breathe and steps forward, knowing there is no turning back. She knows that tomorrow she might feel scared, doubtful and lonely. She knows that she will have days when this may seem like a bad decision, but like her family said to her, she can always come back home. So, on this sunny day, clear and blue skies, her heart threatening to pound through her chest wall,  she takes one last breathe and lets it all go, and soars to great heights.

 

 

What I gained from joining a mothers group.

When I was pregnant with my first child, a lady I met at a party gave me one very valuable piece of advice. She told me to attend the mothers group meetings organised by my local early childhood centre. She also told me to go to more than one meeting.  She went on to explain that at the first meeting, I might feel that I have nothing in common with these women. That the meeting would feel like a waste of my time and there was nothing to be gained from listening to a group of mothers complaining about sleep deprivation and sore nipples. She advised me to stick it through, to go a second time and a third time, and in that group, I was likely to find a friend. As a new mother to be, in a foreign city, loneliness was definitely a concern of mine. None of the new friends I had made had children. Now, looking back, I am so glad I listened to the lovely lady who took time to talk to me at a party.

My son will be three in a few months and I have to say, nothing prepares you for motherhood. Not the endless advice, not the literature and not even those lovely think pieces (like this one) that show up on your facebook feed. It’s a whole new ball game, and for that reason, I am thankful for the ladies from my mothers group who have now become friends and confidants.

Together, we have laughed, cried and shared our stories of motherhood many a times. It’s because of them that I survived those first nine months of sleep deprivation. It’s because of them that as I experience the joys of having a newborn again, I have managed not to lose my mind. They have taken my son away for a few hours when I needed to concentrate on my baby girl, brought meals to my house and sent me messages to remind me that when it comes to parenting, none of us really know what we are doing and that is okay.

So here is my hope to anyone reading this. If you are a new parent to be, or know of a new parent to be, encourage them to go to that mothers group or meet up. Tell them to go a second and a third time, and hopefully, somewhere in that large group of other mothers, a new friendship will blossom, and just like me, they will be glad they showed up.

Why we need naysayers in our lives.

Tackling a new venture can cause a lot of anxiety.  Its easy to be filled with self doubt and worry about what people will think of you. This is made worse by people who tell us that our idea or plan will not work. They question our abilities, explaining that whatever it is we are about to embark on, someone else is already doing it. Its easy to let these people get in our heads.  They make that self doubt even that much more louder, and in the end, our idea never takes off. We let it die before it even began. What is even more discouraging is when the naysayers are our loved ones.  People who we thought would throw all their support behind us. They know as well enough.  Our drive, our unrelenting spirit, and yet, they question our ability to carry the new idea through.  Frustrated and defeated, we give up.
What if we handled naysayers differently? What if we looked at them as friends instead of foes?  How you ask? Listen to their reasons why they think you cannot do it. Do not take it personal, but use their lack of confidence in your abilities to leave no stone unturned. Take their reasons why they think you cannot do it and work even harder. Show them that any good thing takes hard work, time and perseverance.  Do not let them get into your head and kill your dream. Keep that fire burning. And when you finally accomplish what you were aiming for, look at them and smile. Thank them for asking the difficult questions, the questions that allowed you to look at things from a different angle, the ones that allowed you to better your product or methods,  the questions that helped you turn a why into a why not!