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?
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.
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.