I’ve mentioned here that when I was younger I had big ambitions. I grew up wanting to become the next Madonna, or the star of a west end musical. Sure I dreamed about being adored by men and proposed to, but I never dreamed about marriage and children.
In fact as a young adult I lived up to my ambition of escaping the ‘ordinary’. I studied dance, then circus and my husband and I worked as a circus artists together for six years. While,I supposed, everyone else headed for the office, I donned lycra and hung from a trapeze. I felt on the edge of society. An anarchist living outside of the system, making my dream come true.
When I decided to have children I met a family of puppeteers. They took their children on the road with them, breastfed with one hand and operated puppets with the other. That will be me, I decided. My children would watch adoringly from backstage whilst we performed, we would continue living the dream.
What I hadn’t considered was this. I have a mental health problem, one which I manage brilliantly. I keep my stress levels as low as possible, I have a routine to my days. I do not cope well with stress. In fact, taking off the rose coloured glasses, when I worked as a circus artist I was actually pretty stressed a lot of the time.
I found the uncertainty a challenge. The competitiveness made me paranoid and insecure. There were times when I longed for a regular life. Well, as they say, you should be careful what you wish for.
This new ‘me’ didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t wake up one morning to a house full of children, not a sequin in sight. First I gave up work, the long hours and travelling were not suited to conventional childcare. I took my eldest along to a few gigs but it proved impractical not to mention unprofessional. So I stopped working.
Next we decided it would be best if Dave (my husband) retrained. Working in the circus meant working evenings, weekends, and school holidays, he would never see the children. So he retrained to be an electrician.
So now he is an electrician, I am an
aspiring writer stay at home mum. Our family has grown and we have three children.
This is the first bank holiday weekend that we have spend as a whole family (when Dave was a circus artist he was always working) and it has been bliss. Today we hung out at home , I hoovered my car, and we watched a family film. Examining the day and my family it occurred to me that my life is perfectly mundane. I feel fulfilled, whole, and mostly happy.
I realised that my happiness does not hinge on who I become, or how cool whatever I do is. My happiness comes from the people in my life and the love we share. As I look at my lovely family I realise I love them, and they love me. Who could want anything more.