One of the biggest lies I told myself was that I have all the time in the world . I wanted a career and to live in exciting places and I had all the time in the world to achieve it.
I wasted a lot of time working to get by, working to pay bills. Working mundane jobs to survive rather than focusing on what I really wanted, to work within the art world. I’ll be so bold as to say that my entire adult life up to 26 was a bit of a farce. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t the life I imagined for me (I used to have a great imagination). It wasn’t the life I wanted for me. I plodded along and ended up stuck in a rut. I felt like I lived in the shadows of others, just a fat, frumpy, grumpy nothing.
I came to Leeds initially to do my Masters, then I moved here a year later. Whilst here I met a couple of fantastic people who, unbeknownst to them, gave me the confidence to find myself. To become an independent, happy person. The person who’d been locked inside. Suddenly, at 26 I was living the life that I should’ve been living at 18.
Exhibition openings (with free wine)
Sometimes it was serious, sometimes it was messy, some of the times I don’t recall but ALL of the times were amazing fun. I had a job and rented a decent place.
I had all the time in the world.
By 30 I met Rory, it wasn’t a conscious decision but it was time for me to start calming down a bit. My fantastic friends had all started moving to the big city. My shallow, materialistic, loser type friends who once seemed uber cool now seemed a bit passe and immature. I was growing up. This isn’t to say life got boring, it didn’t. It just took on a new dynamic and I loved it. We still had fab nights out (but I could remember them), we ate at nice restaurants and visited exciting places.
I was young, life was great. We had all the time in the world.
Over time we decided to have babies. I gave up work (it was a job not a career so it was no great hardship), nights out became few and far between. Holidays became family friendly and eating out is always at an establishment that offers sausage, mash and beans. I’m not really in touch with my fantastic friends anymore. They’re all doing fantastically well and I am so pleased for them all (though I’ll admit a little jealous at times) I just kind of slipped away from them, entirely my fault, I just felt I didn’t want to bore them with my mundane in comparison life (even as a mum, other people’s children stories bore the hell out of me!). Other friends who are closer by lost touch with me because I’d ‘changed’ (I kind of had to, social services really aren’t fans of mothers who leave their children all night and return in a haze of alcohol).I won’t ever get that career I hoped for and I should imagine moving to an exciting, foreign country is probably off the cards for another 15 years at least.
We don’t have all the time in the world, in fact, having children has made me realise it goes so fast. All I can do is try to use the time wisely. No regrets.
I read through this and it seems like a tale of things I didn’t achieve. Time I wasted and it makes me a little bit sad but you know what? That’s ok.
Yes I get lonely and yes I occasionally get the urge to up and leave and do something for me but I love my life and I wouldn’t actually change it (even those years up to 26. Yes they ‘defined me’ and made me who I am today blah, blah, blah – just could’ve done without the ballache).
Now I look in the mirror and the face that looks back at me is older than the one in my head. I’m not young anymore.
“My God I got old”
“No mummy, you’re not old, you’re beautiful” (this is why I keep her)
My life may not have quite turned out quite how I’d hoped but, for fear of sounding smooshy, it actually turned out better. I never hoped for this life because I didn’t think I deserved this life.
I’ve got a fantastic, patient, wonderful, laid back (some might argue too laid back) boyfriend (vom) and everyday I get to see my two greatest artworks evolve into wonderful, infuriating, independent, hilarious, snotty, clever humans.
I get to live within the greatest masterpiece I’ve ever created. My family.