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Life Changes Are Coming

Weird flowers of Life Change
Gouache painting, doodled while contemplating changes.

This post is about the life changes I’m going through. I will be back next week with more sewing, knitting and painting related posts. 

In the last month, my youngest child went away to University, my father-in-law died and my husband quit his job. I’ll be 50 at my next birthday and married for 25 years.

I’m in the middle of a mid-life evaluation. I’m not re-evaluating; I love what I’ve done so far.

But what comes next?

For many years, I have muddled along, as many care-givers do, looking after my children/family, making art and working freelance jobs. My husband has provided the vast majority of our income, while I have been around the home.

My children, both have Asperger Syndrome and have benefitted from having me around a lot, collecting them from school, and keeping them company. I did not have the parenting experience that I imagined, with kids laughing in the backyard, sleepovers and playdates. It was quieter and sometimes a bit lonely, as I wasn’t experiencing the same joys and challenges as my peers. I’m not complaining, I love and value my children and the unique experience we had together. But, they were my focus and I worked my art and jobs around them.

My role as their mother isn’t done, but it’s time to step back and let them become adults, even if that means watching them make mistakes. It’s also time to make some choices about my future.

Living In London

I didn’t plan to raise my children in London. I imagined we’d move back to Canada. But, my husband’s work was easiest to find here and once the kids were in school, it seemed better to stay put. London has been the hub of a wheel for his electronics engineering. He has never had a job in London. Instead, he commutes to contract and permanent jobs outside of London. For the last two years, this has meant he doesn’t live with us for five nights a week.

London is crazy expensive. I’m grateful that we bought our house, in Hackney, 22 years ago, when property was still relatively affordable. Our neighbourhood was rough (we were part of “murder mile”) and the schools were so terrible that when we moved-in, they were closing down. But we built wonderful friendships, community and navigated the schools. One of the richest parts of my life are the wonderful friends I have made in my neighbourhood.

In 2012 the Victorian water mains near us exploded and our house was flooded. Along with about 30 of our neighbours, we began extensive renovation to put our house back together. This took over two years. While these works were going on, we extended our mortgage to fix all the things about our house that bothered us.

Now it’s as perfect as a Victorian, London, terraced house can be, but with a hefty mortgage. We are property rich and cash poor. (I’m grateful to be property rich; our house is our pension.)

Contemplating A Move

I have always wanted to live in the country, as I get a lot of joy from watching the seasons change and admiring nature. I like to walk daily and I get tired of looking at the same city parks and cemetery.

Is now the time to trade our London house for a life in the country?

We could lose our hefty mortgage and enjoy country living. But would I also lose the friends and community I have built over the years? Is it too late to make new friends? Would I find like-minded people outside of London? Where can my husband find work and live with us? Do we need to provide a home for our children, near where they can find work? How will they cope with change?

Questions

So many other questions going around in my head. What will I do next? I love sewing, textiles, and painting. I have so many interests and enthusiasms. I’ve never been bored, but how do I make a steady income from them and build my work?

I don’t have answers to these questions yet. We are exploring our options.

I’m still sewing. I’ve just finished two new dresses, which I’ll show you in the next week. I’m also painting and drawing a lot.

Reading

I don’t usually read self-help books. I tried some parenting books when the kids were small and they messed me up; my kids didn’t behave or respond anything like the books suggested.

But, I could use some guidance right now, so I’m reading Designing Your Life and Magic Lessons (enjoyed the podcast). I’d be interested to hear if anyone has good recommendations for listening/reading at this stage of life.

I’ll be back soon with some sewing makes.

 

9 thoughts on “Life Changes Are Coming

  1. I am turning sixty this week!! Funny how those birthdays with 0s can make us question things. make sure you have some fun!

  2. Sounds like you are ready for change which ever form it should come in otherwise you would not be contemplating it. My 17 year old daughter has Aspergers too and if it wasn’t for my creative side I think I might have gone loopy. The next chapter needs to be about you and your husband, your children are doing well and they are starting they’re own lives. Maybe there’s some kind of middle ground you can find where you can see more of your husband, your friends don’t disappear if you move, you just plan how to see them in advance and your never to old to make new ones! I recently joined a fortnightly quilting class and made lots of new friends. Life is for living, loving and sharing x

    1. Yup, it’s great to have so many interests when the going gets tough. Launching aspie kids into Adulthood is a tough time. Good luck.

  3. You certainly have a lot of variables! No doubt that whatever you decide to do will foster your immense talents:) Looking forward to seeing where you land. xo P.S. Rural Canadian real estate relative to London is very inexpensive… Just saying xo

  4. Gosh, you’ve been through a lot lately! I think when there’s so much going on, taking time to review your options is a good thing. I think doing some dreaming, listing your wishes, then prioritizing might help in the process.

    I am at that stage in my life that I am wondering where I’d like to be, etc. Moving is something on our list to but the question is when? There are so many factors (and people of course) involved.

    I love that painting, by the way! Good luck!

  5. A few years ago I was in a very similar situation to you, but without the children with Asperger’s. My husband gave up a senior post in local government to start his own business as a consultant/interim manager. After a few years we moved from our large family home in a dreary town in Kent to the south coast. I live near enough to a vibrant city to enjoy it when I want to, but retreat to my calmer area when I need peace, and we are a few miles from the glorious South Downs. Life couldn’t be sweeter. Follow your heart, as if your heart isn’t happy your head never will be. And wishing you both the best of luck in this new chapter of your lives.

  6. Thank you for sharing your current situation; it sounds complicated, interesting and full of potential! One website you may find useful is anunclutteredlife.com. Also, during times of transition, it might be helpful to bolster your optimism with a book like The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Once you start finding a direction, there are lots of coaching websites for building a business. Oh, maybe bemorewithless.com would be helpful; she has a couple of courses on small businesses.

    All the best to you!

  7. Come and live in faversham – affordable and close enough to London! Lots of great countryside – not sure about jobs though. Hope you find what you are looking for. I have read dozens of self- help books but no obvious recommendations.

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