Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The need for space

When you get married there are a lot of things people tell you but then there are a lot of things they don't. The two which spring to mind are:

1. How much your life changes when you have a baby.
2. Your need for space.

I am concentrating on number two today.

Although I am not an only child, my sisters are both quite a bit older than I am so they left home when I was quite young and the only time I got to see them was when they were home for holidays. So in a weird sort of way, I became an only child in my early teens. But I loved it. I had a wide circle of friends so I didn't want for company whenever I needed it but I discovered that I enjoyed my own company the most and I still do. I would lose myself in a world of books, poetry (of which I wrote quite a bit), creative media (making cards, jewellery and my number one love - sewing) and BBC world radio. Looking back, I must have seemed a strange child to enjoy listening to BBC world radio and Joni Mitchell at the age of 15.

Then I finished secondary school and moved on to University and I found myself on my own again, in a sense, because I never stayed in the hostels (which were vile), instead, I lived off-campus. Sometimes I went home for weekends but most of the time I spent indulging my passion of being on my own. I journaled, listened to music and wrote some more poetry. So over the years, I became so used to being on my own and enjoying the stillness that came with it. It was a great time of reflection and dreaming for me. A time of planning and charting out the course of my life.

Even when I did meet my boyfriend (who is now my husband) I still had my space because we didn��t live in the same city. We saw each other perhaps every other weekend and although I looked forward to those weekends with eager anticipation and enjoyed every minute we were together and cried every time we parted, it was a strange mixture of sadness (that I won't be seeing him for another x number of weeks) and relief - I was going to get my space back!

Fast forward ten years of which we have now been married for four and have a child who is coming up to three and what is the one thing I really miss? Yep, MY SPACE. And I don't feel bad to admit it. I love my family more than life itself and would not change anything AT ALL but I do miss being on my own and that's one thing you lose when you get married and start having kids. You have someone around you all the time. I know loads of women would probably not like to admit to it but almost every one of us (married or attached) 'need our space from time to time. It doesn't mean I love my husband or child any less, but it makes me a better person when I have some 'me' time.

And what special things do I do with my space or me time? ? nothing, special that is. I do things that other people may find quite boring. I read, garden, watch a documentary on TV, give myself a manicure and generally just be. Its time I spend thinking, dreaming, and connecting with who I am. I have lost a lot of that in the last four years. I remember when I used to hear people say 'I don't know who I am anymore. I need to find myself.' My immediate response would be 'get real! What do you mean 'find myself'? Look in the mirror.' And now, years later, I find myself in exactly the same position. I honestly don't know where my self has gone. I have become a wife, a mother , a colleague at work but that's not me, its just bits of me. The first two are situations over which I have no control, they are the result of positive choices I made consciously. But what of the choices I am making unconsciously? Those are the choices that are stifling who I am. Those are the choices that I have to stop making. My dreams and plans are all getting buried under the busyness of life, the incorrect choices ? I find I am always doing, but never doing for myself.

I plan to rectify that in 2006.

A friend of mine once said to me that I shouldn't wait for things to happen or rely on my husband to do things with me, I have to go out and grab time by the scruff of its neck because thats the only way I will get some for myself. And in a way I think thats why I keep this blog. Its a way of escape. I can pour out my thoughts, ideas or feelings without feeling I'll be criticised and to be frank not caring if I am criticised because criticism from strangers hurts far less than criticism from your nearest and dearest.

So this year, I have decided not to go down the resolutions route instead, I am going to set some goals. Just three or four, no more than that. And goal number one will be to get some space back.



Blogger RAO said...

I enjoyed your entry! When I read it I finally could understand what my
husband has been trying to communicate to me regarding his need for
space. I really wanted to thank you for your blog and I look forward to
reading more.

3:22 pm  
Blogger Pilgrimage to Self said...

You are very welcome. I am glad it helped you in some way.

11:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me just say how refreshing it is to see that your solution to finding yourself is not running away from yourself. I know some people who could take a lesson from you.

3:41 am  

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