Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Loving and Leaving the Homeland

After all the excitement of three big birthdays one of which was Jonathan’s thirtieth I would take it easy for my last week and a half in the UK but then if you think that then you obviously don’t know me. After the soul searching and thinking I have finally worked out what I want from life now and whilst the thought of the work it’s going to take to make them work is a little scary the rewards if I succeed will be worth it.

On my return from visiting my in-laws I still felt a little drained but with a renewed sense of purpose. My final days in the UK started by doing the boring tasks of washing and packing but being me I couldn’t resist a quick look online to see if I was eligible for a New Zealand working holiday visa. I was delighted to discover that I was and thought instead or an online assessment I had filled out an actual application I was able to put it on hold until I was ready to complete the application. I’ll put it the top of my list of things to do once I’m in Australia.

Having left the clothes I wanted to take on the bed in my parents other spare room and applied for my NZ visa I felt I had been productive enough and did take the time to read a book which had been given to me last year before I left. I took the chance to enjoy a couple of relaxing days at home before heading south again the following weekend. My major event of the week was completing the Ashvale ‘Whale’ challenge with my dad. As I fly out five days before his birthday this was my early birthday treat to him. Though I did manage to eat all of my humungous fish I didn’t eat for most of the next day and I don’t think I’ll be wanting to see a battered fish for quite a while. Lesson: Food is for enjoying not

Over the weekend I took the change to visit my aunt and cousins for the first and last time on this visit home. On the Friday we had a chilled evening in with just a few of the family in residence but on the Saturday they held a barbeque to welcome my middle cousin and his family home from the USA where they had been living for the last four years. It was great to catch up with all my family and their friends and I am proud to say not a drop of alcohol passed my lips all weekend. I was tempted but I resisted and I am glad I did. Not only do I remember everything I said and did I’m fairly sure I didn’t make too much of an idiot of myself at any point and I was able to ferry my family around. It was a pleasure to be able to repay the many lifts they have given me over the years and know that my sobriety was having immediately obvious good results. Not even the demon satnav which took us from there the most convoluted way imaginable and messed up nail polish made me give in to temptation. I have high hopes for this new life style choice and have therefore started keeping score. Currently it’s: Alcohol 0 Lyn 2. Go me eh?

On the Sunday I was meant to do a tandem skydive but the typical Scottish weather prevented me from going. Instead of jumping out of a plane together my friend and I had to make do with lunch and a quick catch up before I was off to visit my newly repatriated cousin and his family. I had met his son before but not his daughter and I was delighted to meet her before I left the country. I was also fortunate to meet my other cousins little girl who was equally cute. I am hoping this is evidnce of good genes in my family and not their wives gene over ruling them. Either way I got to meet three gorgeous kids over the weekend. Too soon it was time to head off and myself and a friend drove back north together. On the way we set the world to rights and re-assured each other of our mutual fabulousness. I must admit as disappointed as I was to miss out on the skydive meeting my second and third youngest family members and having good company on the way home more than made up for it. And hey, now I’ll just have to jump in Australia, what a shame.

Sadly not all was well in the world of Lyn this day. I arrived home to find out my mum would have to leave early the next day and wouldn’t get home until I had left. It was therefore out last night together. As sad as I was that this would be the last time I would see her for nine months in a way it made leaving easier. I am without a doubt a mummy’s girl and leaving my mum behind is one of the hardest parts of going. It is therefore unsurprising that once she went to bed I started packing and within a few hours was more or less ready to go. Really all that was left to do was to decide which films to take with me and to make sure my music and other files were backed up.

My last day in Aberdeenshire was spent packing the last minute bits and pieces before heading in to the city to have dinner with my eldest cousin. Along with the delicious duck stir-fry there were some last minute words of wisdoms and warnings to take care of myself before sending me on my way with a massive hug. I made sure not to stay too long as I wanted to spend some time with my dad as well. Sure enough I arrived home to find him watching his usual programs. It felt just like when I used to do a split shift at the restaurant. Before long though it was time to head to my own bed for the last time this year.

The next day I was up early checking I had everything I would need and wondering what happened to my good intentions to take less stuff this time. My dad drove me to the train station and soon I was heading south towards Glasgow as I would spend my last night in the UK in the home town of my youth. On arriving at my in-laws house the first thing I did was to take some photos of Jonathan’s garden then dismantle my camera and re-pack my backpack to ensure my precious new camera was well protected for its perilous journey through the international airports. Though my stay was short I was fortunate to see a few relatives and my brothers’ fiancée was kind enough to make me dinner and bring me up to date with the latest wedding plans. On hearing this my brother changed his plans so he could also spemd time with me before I left, though he didn’t seem as interested in the pretty cars and flowers as his fiancée and I. There were of course more hugs and promises of post cards and warning to stay safe and take care.

Finally the actual day of leaving arrived. I don’t sleep well when I’m due to travel and my last week in the UK was no exception but even in my sleep deprived state I was getting excited about all the amazing places I wanted to see and visit, not even the prices of the tours I looked at could dampen my enthusiasm . I was finally on my way back to the land of adventure and after my last amazing year there I couldn’t wait to see what this trip would bring.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Taking Back Control

When I arrived back in the UK it was warm and sunny and I thought “Hey, this isn’t so bad”. Sadly neither the weather or my happy mood lasted. As the weather took a turn for the worse I struggled to adjust to life back home but once I did I can honestly say the struggle was worth it. I have thoroughly enjoyed staying with my parents and spending time with them, even if it was just watching TV for an hour before bed due to my unsociable hours.

My last month in the UK was never going to be boring as every weekend and some week days were booked solid. It started with my mother and brothers joint birthday dinner. My brother came up to stay and though we missed his fiancé who couldn’t make it I think we all enjoyed being together as a family and I know we all enjoyed our meal out. Inverurie may be a small town but it has some pretty good restaurants.  My family even put up with me taking the obligatory photos with my new camera. Sadly the next weekend wasn’t to be such a happy occasion. Jonathan’s thirtieth was always going to be hard. I’d been dreading it for years. However after the non-event that was my thirtieth I convinced myself that his wouldn’t be so bad. I was wrong. Subconsciously I’d been building myself up to it and I knew it was going to hurt. My god did it hurt. I don’t know how they do it but his family managed to smile through most of it though I could tell they were hurting too. They are amazing in their strength and fortitude in the face of shitty unfairness that took their son from them. Whatever you think of how I’ve dealt with my grief then know I take my cue from them. If they can keep going and even smiling then so can I.

Which brings me neatly on to the next topic; the fact that recently I haven’t been dealing very well with my grief. My life is going well. I have the most amazing opportunities but my attitude has been going downhill. I’ve been rebelling against nothing and lashing out at the people closest to me. I know I’ve hurt people as I’ve grieved and I know they’ve forgiven me but now it’s time to step up and take back control of my life. Going with the flow was fine for a while but I want to be the friend I was before. I want to be there when my friends and family need me. I want to know that if it all goes wrong again then at least I gave it my best shot. To that end I’ve made some pretty drastic decisions. The major one is to stop drinking. This is going to be hard because drinking is such a major social event in my life but it’s been my crutch for long enough. From a young age I worried that I wasn’t interesting or fun and alcohol made those worries magically disappear. Well now I worry that I’ll get drunk and do something stupid, or hurt a friend, or miss out on something special due to a terrible hangover. Well I’ve had enough of that. I don’t care what anyone else says I don’t like drunk me and if any one of my friends prefers her to the real me then I’m sorry but I guess we’re not really friends. It’s going to be easy and I have severe doubts about my will power but I really want to succeed at this so please wish me luck. The other is to take a time out from stalking Josh’s friends on facebook. It’s not easy for me to admit but it hurts too much to see them living their lives without him. It shouldn’t and I am happy for them but it’s easier to be happy from far away so for a while at least I’m limiting my contact. Finally I’m making finding work in Australia my number one priority on my return. It was fun to have my wee belated teenage rebellion but I’m ready to be a grown up now, or at least as much of a grown up as one can be when one’s constant companion is a small stuffed highland cow. When I went to Australia the first time I said I was responsible for me but that word has not been in evidence much over the last year or so. Now it’s time to remember it. This time Australia I don’t have some vague intentions and a ‘hell with it’ attitude, no this is much scarier. This time I have a PLAN and instead of reacting to circumstances I’m taking control. I have a new dream and heaven help anyone or thing that tries to get in the way of it. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Happy 30th My Love xxx

When I was fifteen if you had asked me what my life would be like at thirty I would probably have guessed something similar to what I have except instead of widowed I would have guessed permanently single and if you told me about all the fabulous friends I have I would have thought you were insane. Maybe that’s why I handled my thirtieth so much better than I thought I would. Jonathan gave me a life and love I never imagined I was worthy of and then he convinced me I was more than worthy and deserving. I am thankful for everything we had and incredibly happy that I had him in my life at all even if our time together was much shorter than I wanted.  He gave me amazing memories and faith in myself. His gift will last a life time.

On Jonathans thirtieth birthday though it’s different. All of the above is true but the loss is overwhelming. There’s no ‘he didn’t get our dream but he’s doing ok’. I can say my life isn’t what I wanted it to be but it is ok but I cannot say that about his. There is not second prize or at least’s. He is simply gone, denied the future that he would have given so much to. Denied all we planned. And that hurts. I’m working on a slide show of his life and it ends much too soon. I see him as a child and I cannot help but wonder what our kids would have looked like and remember that this was the year we planned to find out.  I agree with the saying that the picture in our head of how we think life should be is what messes up our appreciation of what we have. I try very hard to ignore that picture and be grateful for what I have and most of the time I do succeed but this isn’t actually about me. This is about Jonathan and all he isn’t doing. All this amazing things he’s missing. Usually I try and end my posts on a happy note so I’ll end by saying I am grateful that Jonathan was born thirty years ago and that we had him for as long as we did but that doesn’t stop me missing him every day and on occasions like this wishing with every fibre of my being that life had been just as we imagined it would be instead of how it is. Happy birthday my love where ever you are. Know I’m thinking of you, missing you and still loving you and that I’ll be sure to have a Jack just for you tomorrow  xxx

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

No Regrets

One of the ‘rules’ I live by is to not regret my mistakes. I believe that they are an important part of who I am and therefore should not be regretted. However I recently forgot that not regretting them does not mean I have a license to repeat them. The reason I should not regret them is because I should learn from them. When I started travelling I knew that a lot of people wouldn’t understand. I am living my life very differently to most people and when I first left I still had a lot of grief to work though and a lot of sorting out in my head to do. I still maintain that I was not running away. I was radically redirecting my life on to a path that I could live with. My trip to Australia was an undoubted success but that doesn’t mean I’m there yet. I am on the right path I know but I can still lose my way. Recently I think I’ve been veering off that path in into dangerous waters.

I’m human I make mistakes but whilst to err is human to repeat the same mistakes under the impression that if you keep making them even though you know you’re in the wrong you are somehow in control is just plain foolishness and that makes you a dumb ass. It’s taken me a while but I have finally worked out what I want from my ‘new’ life. I made the choice that I want to travel and see the world and as such I will have to come to terms with the fact that there will be sacrifices to make. I will miss birthdays. The chances of finding someone to have an actual proper relationship with are minimal. The people I love most will be at least a day away from me at all times.  However if I can come to terms with these and other facts I will see the world. I will meet many amazing people from all over the world, people who have made the same sacrifices as me and then some and have reaped the rewards.

I have come a long way in the last year and I know I’m not the person I was when I left the last time but that doesn’t mean I’m done just yet.  Recently I’ve been so busy being proud of how far I’ve come I forgot for a while that there is still a long way to go. I thought I would hate my 30th birthday but I didn’t. On the day I felt calm and at peace with the person I was becoming. Since then I’ve stalled and veered off track a little but I think I’m getting back on track now.  I have made mistakes but finally I am learning from them. This time at home has allowed me to look back and see the good and the bad in the person I have become. Hopefully during my next adventure I will be able to nurture the good parts and let go of the bad. No matter what happens and where I end up I know one thing: I never want to stop believing in the person I know I can become and want to be again.