“It’s what you do during the rough bits that determine how high you can fly” said a good friend to me the other day.
It was said in response to a moment of self-doubt and it was what I needed to make me pause, reflect and push forward.
I don’t tend to be a reckless person, I make decisions fairly quickly, but they are usually measured and considered. I like to see progress and I like to challenge myself and everyone around me.
My kids tell me that at times, and especially now as their friends are winding down, that I’m no fun pushing them forward to complete all their school tasks. I tell them that I do this so they can have choices, so that they can feel confident to get out into the world and have adventures. I tell them I want them to leave home, have new experiences, make new friends and come back because they want to, not because they feel they need to.
But when I entered lockdown I was in a challenging place, having just branched out independently after a tough time.
I made a reckless decision a few years ago after being dazzled by the promise of the freedom of throwing away the shackles of a corporate career. I stood at a crossroads with a good career, good wage and security laid out in front of me and in a moment of recklessness I went for the bright lights. You could say I was blinded by them. But even though I knew straight away the mistake I had made, I continued to think I could push forward and make it better. What was the result? A knocked ego, dented self-confidence, doubts lingering at the back of my head that I wasn’t good enough.
All these demons to battle as we entered lockdown.
But the normal still happens in lockdown. Yesterday my youngest daughter’s school report arrived in the post. She had been asked to supply some words for what she thought her achievements had been. It was quite an eclectic mix from skiing to climbing to getting better at maths and more. It got me thinking about the last couple of months and the demons I have been battling as a result of my out of character recklessness, and I realised that maybe they may no longer be demons, and instead be achievements.
I think if we all pause to reflect we would be able to find achievements, no matter our decisions and actions. Here are mine.
I won new business from a standing start, pitching virtually.
I have home schooled three children, all with different needs, at different learning stages and with different levels of enthusiasm.
I built a couple of websites.
I brought my 82 year old Mum into the digital age, getting her onto Zoom (from a distance) and keeping her connected with her children and grandchildren whilst she has been shielding.
For 10 weeks I have organised Street Bingo for the 21 houses in my street, delivering bingo cards and leaflets, collecting prizes, persuading people to cycle and most recently organising a special Gala Street Bingo to replace our normal village Gala Day, complete with a Laird and a Queen, fancy dress, parade, music, and bingo.
I haven’t been in a single shop, not even once for an emergency, and I quite like shops.
I have played Articulate lots.
I have driven my husband 40 miles to the hospital, on numerous occasions, whilst he has attended appointments and operations following an accident in April, staying inside the car, even when it was hot, except for one visit when I ran up and down the path at the side of the car park clocking up 4.6 miles.
Virtually I have run the Mhor Hidden Glen 10K, the Tiree 10K, the Mhor Half Marathon and completed the Virtual West Highland Way – all 95 miles of it.
I rarely watch telly, but so far I have completed 6 series of Bosch, the Jeffrey Epstein series, re-watched all four Lethal Weapon films, McMafia, and many more. I have watched more telly in the last 3 months than in the last 3 years!
I took my youngest daughter to Starbucks, a reference that only the runners and hill walkers of Gargunnock will understand.
I have read, Station Eleven (good), Normal People (good), The Night Circus (excellent), The Girl Before (rubbish), The Year of Wonders (very good), The Second Sleep (rubbish), Auggie and Me (excellent) and now I am reading American Dirt (very promising).
There have been times that I have felt like saying ‘enough’, but I haven’t.
I have kept pushing forward because I am determined to come out of this period of my life stronger, more confident and with the demons back in their box with the lid firmly shut. Everyone has different techniques, little tricks for coping, but for me it is having a purpose and a determination that allows me to cope, to make a difference and push ahead.
I have been working hard through the rough bits in order to fly.