It’s been three months now since the night of the life-changing pizza. My gap year doesn’t ‘officially’ start until September this year, when Little One starts school, but I have found it really useful to have some preparation time. Getting my meds right has been a critical step in feeling ready for a year of letting go of career-me and embracing different aspects of my personality.
When I first started thinking about the expanse of time I would have on my hands with Little One at school, frankly I was terrified. I was worried about feeling lonely and housebound, and I’m not a natural home-maker so the thought of hours of housework made me feel flat and purposeless. Something has definitely shifted as I’ve regained energy and enthusiasm with the change of meds and the change of seasons. The house feels like it is coming back to life again with fresh flowers in vases, new artwork on display (made by both myself and the girls) and with a greater sense of order and tidiness. I’m coming to accept that there will probably always be the odd squashed frozen pea on the kitchen floor, crumbs in the living room and Eldest will keep adding to her ‘floordrobe’ of dirty clothes… but I care more now and have the energy to whizz around doing a quick tidy or a load of laundry.
I’ve also come to learn that I am a creature that thrives on a bit of routine and a lot of spontenaity. I’ve found a yoga package with Lotus Loft where I can attend my regular Hatha class but also drop in to other classes on a whim. I’m still mulling over a regular day a week volunteering in the Cancer Research shop in our town, and probably one other weekly class such as painting or flower arranging. The rest of the time I’m going to enjoy the freedom to be spontaneous – to cycle to Budleigh Salterton and have a swim in the sea, to drop in to an open art session at my local Mind, to sit around the fire at Escot with the Bridge Collective or to enjoy peaceful space to cook at home.
I’m excited that I also have variations on some of the more ambitious suggestions from my Facebook friends lined up. I’m not going to organise a festival, but I am going to this one with a brilliant friend from Leeds University days so you’ll find me stocking up on fringed crochet cardigans and flowered headbands in a few weeks! Renovating a building is probably outside the gap year budget but I do plan to renovate the girls’ bedrooms and have been gradually gathering ideas. Eldest is going for a beach theme with a turquoise blue feature wall, and I’m planning a butterfly garden look for Little One’s room. She has told me in no uncertain terms that she wants a pink wall! It feels good to have it in my sights now to tackle the black mould that affects these rooms in our poorly ventilated 1970’s house, and to refresh both of their play spaces after a few years of neglect.
Encouragement for this year of nurturing myself and my family has come from so many people along the way. To all of the Facebook friends who took time to comment and inspire me, I’m truly grateful. To my running club buddies and yoga teachers, you are helping me to get my body stronger and my head clearer. I’m thankful too for conversations with cafe owners and shopkeepers who I’ve shared a bit of my story with along the way. Finally, the blogosphere has been immensely supportive and I’ve made it to 100 likes this month! Writing has been a great way to make this experiment feel more tangible and real, I look forward to sharing more of it with you. x