Most of those close to me will be like ‘let me write a list’. And the truth is, I’ve got a list as well, because like every galloping housewife I live a multi-faceted existence.
I’m a mum and a wife and a home maker and home manager. I’m a business owner and an employer and a money earner. I’m an athlete and a friend and a community member and an individual with physical and mental and emotional and spiritual and intellectual health needs. I’m a horse rider and a pet owner. I’m a student and a coach.
I’m all of this and more.
Sometimes certain facets will gain more prominence and import. Sometimes certain facets will need more attention and investment. Sometimes certain facets will shift and change and even end.
Recently my husband got a new job. It’s a decent job, with decent conditions and an average wage. Hardly lifechanging news, but in our house, its properly significant.
Six years ago, the Home Office made an error with our visas, which meant that for 18 months we lived under something called the Hostile Environment. We had no right to rent or to health care, we were unable to leave the country and we lost our right to work. This meant that my husband lost his job. He had a great job, in an industry he loved, and earning a good wage.
Our family was living under the threat of deportation, facing homelessness and without a steady income.
I had no option but to immerse myself in my business. It was the only way to keep a roof over our head, food on the table and the horses and dogs and cat taken care of.
Which I did.
Only the Hostile Environment never really ended. When our visa status was finally regularised and my husband was allowed to find employment again, employers couldn’t or wouldn’t take the risk that the same thing might happen again. Plus, as time went on, the gap in his CV and his time away from the industry became further hurdles to overcome.
Anyway, shit happens, right? There is no reason the world owes us a living or better luck that other people. My husband kept chipping away, kept applying for jobs. He did bits and pieces for various people in various industries and worked some very entry level positions.
A couple of months ago he finally secured a decent job.
And it’s thrown me for a loop.
For the first time in six years, my husband is contributing meaningfully to our household income.
For the first time in six years, I’m not getting out of bed in the morning needing to hustle to keep my family alive. For the first time in six years, I’m not solely responsible for our welfare. For the first time in six years, I’m not waking up terrified.
But that means that I’ve had time and space to take stock of some other things.
I know that realistically, I can’t see a future where I return to the international arena. We scraped every spare penny together to buy Mitch and when he died last year, it really was the death of that dream. We’ve already lost every reserve we’ve ever had chasing that dream (and being lied to by lawyers and screwed over by business associates) and anything we create over the next wee while will be spent on rebuilding some security.
I’m OK with that. The world owes me neither a living nor luck. My job is simply to keep doing what I can with what I have.
I’m truly grateful for every moment spent on my journey. I’ve experienced things and achieved things that are truly extraordinary.
I’m just here to say that I know what is wrong with me.
It’s already been a big year coming to terms with and learning to manage a significant chronic health diagnosis, and I’ve just needed to take some time out to come to terms with these changes, too.
I can’t promise that I’ll be back the same. But I’ve always believed that sharing my own journey and my own struggles, my own beliefs, my own methods to keep going and keep loving my life is how I can help other women navigate theirs. After all, it’s my story, it’s all I’ve got.
And now it’s time to kick on.