Saturday, July 6, 2013

In the absence of work

I have never found it easy to 'just be' and suspect I might be a little ADHD myself.   The 1st time I stopped working was a month before my daughter was born and I stayed at home taking care of her and then her baby sister and her big brother for 4 solid years.  In the early days I felt that void that leaving work brings.  We gain our identity and independence from our work so I had to come to terms with being a stay-at-home mother.  I felt really privileged to stay home and eventually I got over myself about my sense of worth and purpose.  After 4 intense years of babies and toddlers I eventually emerged with a 10 year old, 4 year old and 2 year old.  It was time to emerge from my Mama cocoon and become engaged with the world again.  I was fortunate enough not to need an income and working full time was not an option.  I had finished my doula course and decided to start my breast feeding support group from home, do some births and also start the charity.

As most of you know my success in being a doula never quite gained momentum and the breast feeding support group was a flop.  The charity however grew and grew and consumed my time, energy and focus for the next 5 years.  It gave me a sense of purpose and an interest that was separate from my kids.  I was challenged to fund-raise, to deal with volunteers, to engage in public speaking which was a previous fear, as for many other people.   Later when running Bosom Buddies no longer fulfilled me and made me happy I handed it over to my very capable friend Frances who has taken it to new heights.  I decided to take a year off but lasted 2 months till I was fortunate to work for my sister and her partner and run the surrogacy side of the business.  Although part time with a  low salary it was great to learn new things and have my own money.  I squirreled away every penny so I could use it to visit my sister in Singapore and go to Thailand.

It’s now been a year since I quit (left  job as I was moving to Singapore) and fortunately I have my studies to give me purpose and direction.  I miss earning my own little stash of cash but I don’t want to work and study, that was just too hectic.  Being competitive means I race against myself and set high goals for my studies.    Last year I managed 5 distinctions out of 6 subjects proving being a mature student doesn’t mean ones brain has rotted away.   This year I wrote 4 and the 2 I have results for are also both distinctions.  It’s such a cool feeling when you work hard for something and achieve your goals.   It’s not about what anyone else gets, just me.

I feel the same about my triathlon training.   Its great fodder for my competitive spirit although it’s a 1 girl race…just me.  It’s all about pushing myself further, faster and learning new things.   Just how far can I take this 42 year old body with its cronky achy back?   I was worried about how it would feel to run the 5kms after a cycle and this morning I found out.  6.45am found me cycling in the pitch dark and howling wind to meet my triathlon trainer and we cycled the 10kms to the race.  I then ran the 5km race in 27:40 which is my new PB and cycled the 10km back home.    He ran it in 20:00 minutes but that’s HIS race, HIS body (age 25!) and HIS mind.   In my triathlon in October I have no time pressure other than the one I set for myself.   People will be behind me and in front of me but they are superfluous in my 1 girl race.  Can I do it?   Can I swim those 800 meters, race to my bike and cycle the 20km and then finish off with the 5km run?   At this point I still don’t know but for now I know I can cycle 10, run 5 and cycle another 10 which is more than I knew this morning.  I’m just loving it!