The Things I Left Undone

When I was little, I had no clear idea of how life was going to pan out, except for a few ‘hallmark’ achievements and occurrences which were obviously going to happen along the way…

…and didn’t.

I thought that by this time in life I’d…be a mother*. I thought I’d be happily married, settled in my own little house (of some kind) with at least two gorgeous (subjectively so) children, spending my days wiping boogers off the walls and doing endless piles of laundry. I had such plans.

I was going to take long, beautiful walks in nature (hand in hand with my husband) while I was pregnant, so that I could be struck by beauty, and my unborn child could absorb a sense of peace and appreciation for the gorgeousness of our world. I was going to listen to lovely music and eat wonderful, home-cooked meals full of goodness and the right vitamins. I was going to have whatever birth worked out in the end (I’m at least realistic enough to know that things might have changed, even up to the very last moments). I was going to have cherished sets of hand-me-down clothes, passing on their heritage and the memories of the babies they held before.

who am I now - summat2thinkon.wordpress.com

Two miscarriages, a diagnosis of infertility (his), a marriage-breaking intervention by the monstrous beast Depression, a now-halfway-there divorce, a deciding that if I’m going to live authentically I need to admit I’m mostly pretty much gay anyway, and a name change later…and guess what? No kids.

Not the plan I had in mind. Not even close.

Gone are the visions of sweet-scented newborn heads. Gone are the memories of the names we thought up (two for boys, two for girls). Gone are the plans for hand–in-hand walks through the world’s beauty. Gone are the boxes in my mum’s attic, which held those cherished, hand-me-down clothes. Gone are the rings and promises of forever.

Enter reality. A new reality bathed in the harsher light of not-fantasy; littered with the detritus of broken dreams and shattered hopes.

When I lost my babies, I thought life was over. I couldn’t see past either loss, at all, and each time, I clung more desperately to the fast-unravelling threads of the dreams Husby and I had woven together in our naivety, without the information about life-altering medical conditions or mental health breakdowns or the both of us admitting hard truths. We should never have married. We both said that, repeatedly, almost as much as we told each other (with steely determination and not-quite-eye-contact) that we loved one another and wanted to make the relationship work. We knew we’d lost.

The cracks were too deep, the foundation too unsteady, and the groundwork which most couples seem to get in before disaster after disaster after disaster strikes, had not been done – there had been no time. So we held up our hands (while we still could) and quit. And both went our separate ways, grieving, but also incredibly, hugely relieved. And alive. Most importantly, alive.

Exby (well I could hardly keep calling him ‘Husby’) and I are even on reasonable terms now, and are planning to hang out together with friends at some point in the not too distant future. He’s doing well, has found gainful employment and seems not to be struggling with his mental health, or the physical, and…I’m happy for him. I’m genuinely pleased and want him to find success and happiness in life.

Because I have.

I’ve got a job I enjoy, which is hopefully going to promote me soon. I have plans to move country to be closer to the people I’ve formed deep, forever-friendships with. I LOVE all the meaning and connection which blogging allows me, and the time and mental space in which to pursue it more vigorously. I’ve moved back in with Mum and WonderAunty, and we’re having the most wonderful time making each other cups of tea and playing Scrabble and just being part of each others’ worlds in a far closer, more connected way. I even get to share a room with Niece and Neff at least two nights a week, and it’s LOVELY**.

So here I am, at 32, living not at ALL the way I thought I would, with so, SO many things left undone.

Enter reality. A new reality bathed in the glow of new hopes and then-unimagined dreams. A reality where I’m closer and more connected with the people I love most in life. A reality where I can look at my world and feel excited about what’s to come, for this year is about Becoming, Adventure, and (already proving myself) Resilience. A reality where I’m no longer prepared for life to happen to me, so I’m happening to it.

There’s a big, wide, horizon out there – an unknown future I never thought in a million years I’d be facing. There are SO many things I’m going to do. THIS is life, in Silver Linings.

And I’m ready for it. I’m going to change my stars.

THIS is life in Silver Linings - summat2thinkon.wordpress.com

*I also thought I’d have a degree by now, but there’s still time for that, right? Right.

**Okay, it’s MOSTLY lovely, because, sometimes I don’t like their attitudes but it’s not my place to tell them off unless they ‘tude at ME, and sometimes I get woken up in the middle of the night by Neff snoring very loudly in my ear, and I bolt awake each time either of them stirs in case they wake up and need me, and I’m always anxious about waking them up in the morning when I get ready for work, but mostly it’s really, really lovely.

Finish the Sentence Friday

Thanks as ever, for the thinker and the kick-start to Finish the Sentence Friday. Your hostess with ALL the mostestes, is the magnificent Kristi Campbell, of Finding Ninee – come on over and join in.

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49 thoughts on “The Things I Left Undone

  1. There’s always time for dreams – and life never leads us where we think. If you told me I’d be on marriage number two with three kids when I was 32 I would have laughed at you. And now I’m laughing at her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I began a response, but then anything you would have told me, which could be slewed to look like failure, I would have absolutely believed. What I *wouldn’t* have believed is the positives and true friendships and people who for real and truly care about me without any agenda. THAT is the wonderful miracle I’ve seen come true.

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  2. Our personalities go through cycles every seven years or so. I read something to that effect a while back. We have all these ideas of who we’ll be, but life happens. In the end, we become the person we were meant to me and that version is a lot more interesting and capable compared to the dreamy one. You are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeri, thank you so much. I think somewhere in the dim and distant past, I’ve heard the same thing about cycles (which makes me wonder rather, about marriage in the first place, and how we can possibly commit to someone when we don’t know who they (or we) are going to be in seven years time). But yes – life happens and in the end we have to make the best of it and strive to become the best version of ourselves we possibly can.

      And thank you 🙂

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  3. I’ve had many new beginnings, each leading me to where I am now. It took me a long time to find happiness (and I’m not talking about my husband; happiness from within), That has made all the difference and stripped away most expectations from my life so I can just live and enjoy. It seems you are well on your way. Wonderful post, Lizzi!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Denise. I think I’m FINALLY beginning to get there, and I hope that it’s a trajectory which continues until I arrive at the point you seem to have reached. I’m glad you’re there, and knowing it’s an attainable place is inspiring – I shall keep striving to achieve it, thank you 🙂

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  4. Oh yes, there is time for all of those things! You’ve probably been told that 32 years old is so young. It really is. I’m happy for your new beginning. I can’t wait to see what the 2020 Lizzi brings. No pressure. But it’s going to be great.

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    • I’ve been told that, so SO many times. Mostly by Kristi, who I think started telling me (at the ripe old age of 29 or so) that I was a comparative stripling and had YEARS AND YEARS to live yet, before I could consider anything ‘written off’ due to too many years under my belt.

      I do think the older I’ve got, the younger I feel, though, and I’m fascinated and excited to see what the future has in store to me. Here’s to the 2020 me, and all the wonder and delight our lives will contain in the meantime 🙂

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  5. This is a book, right? I hope it is.
    32.. yeah, so much undone. Me too. And I love and at least believe that there are still so many years to get closer to the things we want to be close to.
    Love this. Seriously had to read it three times. I mean I “know” you through so many dear friends, but I’m pretty much starting in the middle. I hope you don’t mind if I read back a little or a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • *grins and waves hello* A book? What kind? I wonder sometimes about ‘writing my memoir’ and then I feel pompous and ridiculous and as though I’ve not lived nearly enough yet, to have something so grown-up!

      I hope *so* much that I have many years left to get closer to who and where I want to be. I know none of us know the time, and we assume we have all of it and more, but…I’ve spent too little of my time really appreciating what I have, and finally, FINALLY, I’m there. And I’d be devastated to lose it now.

      Thank you for loving this piece so much…I don’t at all mind you starting in the middle, and feel free to poke around into any corners you choose – it’s all here (OY, is it all here…)

      P.S. We have awesome friends 🙂

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      • Maybe it can be creative nonfiction. Something! Just with your descriptions of your life now – I could just see it as a compelling book that I’d absolutely read.
        And I totally wonder about writing a memoir – now or later. I feel like I’ve always wanted to, but it’s never come to me. Maybe I’ll be old and wise or something.
        We really do have awesome friends.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’d love to be old and wise. And then write a memoir, probably about how young and dumb I was, and how the biggest thing I learned as I went along was that NO-ONE ever has the answers, and we’re all making it up as we go, feeling as though we’re 23 or 15 or 6, and still needing our hands held.

          I’m all *glowy* over here from your kind compliments. Thank you 🙂 And…who knows what the future might bring!

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      • Oh Lizzi…I know exactly what you mean about not feeling sure about memoir writing, but I just made the decision and I announced it formally on my own blog this week, that I am going to start writing that memoir I once called an autobiography, when I first had the notion at age fourteen, because I believe memoir can center around any part of one’s life and it can be a lesson, written at any age of life. I am writing mine. Write yours.

        Liked by 1 person

        • How funny – I just started writing TODAY! I’m not sure it’s a memoir, more creative non-fiction and…I’ve honestly no idea how it will turn out, but I have two chapters and a head buzzing with ideas. It’s going to be…not so much a lesson as a bit of a romp with a serious side. What am I saying? I’ve no idea at all what it’s going to be like – I’m making it up as I go along!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry for your losses and your divorce, but I’m proud of you because you seem to grow in strength every day. Also, you have plenty of time for a degree. Just be sure it’s something you love and will pay your bills. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I’ll have to think carefully about it. Bills-aspect first, I think, because there’s no point spending on a degree for something I can do anyway as a hobby, which won’t actually GET me anywhere. I’d prefer to love it, of course…

      …and thank you. I was just saying to Dana that I think my trip to Murica back in September was one of the HUGE turning-points of my life, because it showed me beyond shadow of a doubt that people genuinely, really, truly liked me just as I am 🙂 SO glad you were part of that trip 🙂

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  7. You are not alone. A lot of lives go like this, mine included. I got my divorce at 30 and lots of things got in the way of having kids, but I am finding other things to do that are important, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to know that, Kit. I hope your future feels a lot more hope-filled now you’ve had time to get past the divorce and the not-having-kids. I hope I look back, one day, with a similar attitude – that I’ve found other things to do which were important 🙂 Thank you

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      • My divorce is 20 years behind me, so I am definitely past the depression and dark times that went with it. Today I’m living a wonderful life with new hubby and friends. Still bump into the no-kids thing from time to time, but mostly I’m really grateful I’ve made my way to where I am today.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Awwwh that’s really good to know. I’m so pleased your story’s having a happy middle to it, now the dark bit’s out of the way.

          I suspect the ‘no kids’ thing is something I’ll keep bumping into, too, but…it will be okay 🙂

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  8. Lovely post Lizzi.
    🙂
    The part about that magical baby head scent got to me most, as I have no kids and always thought I would. I have never experienced miscarriage or that kind of deep and profound loss, but I have seen it affect those I love.
    I hope that part about the degree is true as well, as I have my own dreams and hope I can find a way, through the trials of physical conditions and disability and life, to make something more of myself.
    Thanks for a little inspiration as I am off to write my own post for this week’s link up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwh well done you, Kerry. It’s such a shame when our dreams come to naught, especially when they’ve been long-held, but also…we get new dreams and forge new futures for ourselves. We change our stars. You’re doing that with the violin, a bit.

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      • I hope so, but I don’t kow how much I will be able to get into it. I am seeking lessons with a musical university student. I want to to learn and enjoy the process, even during the hard bits, and try not to take it so seriously, but who knows…maybe I am still destined to become a musical prodigy.
        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is it. There are so many years yet to come, so many MORE things I will leave undone – so many hopes and dreams which will cease to make sense, so many decisions I’ll make or not make, which will have their influence…

      I wonder though, you could easily make sense of SOME of it, but only if you wanted to (which is far more key) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do chip away at it every so often. Maybe life isn’t supposed to make sense by itself, it just IS. We improvise the meanings as we go along.
        `I was coming to that,’ the Knight said. `The song really is “A-sitting On a Gate”: and the tune’s my own invention.’

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        • Ha! I like it. Do you know, there are huge connections with Lewis Carroll and places here I know and love. I adore Oxford, and very close to me is Lyndhurst, where (allegedly) the lady who was the inspiration for Alice, lived and died. I remember very fondly going on an ‘Alice’ tour of Oxford, and being shown all the important sites. I’ve even had a drink in The Eagle and Child, where Carroll, Tolkein and C.S. Lewis (amongst others) would meet for their literary group, the Inklings, would meet. It’s all very wonderful, and I do enjoy seeing your quotes.

          YES to chipping away though. I have another piece like that going live in a couple of hours. THIS one was the surprise from out of nowhere.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Better to be a butterfly than a Bread and Butterfly, and have jam every day, not every other day. I can try to imagine the conversations of the Inklings, especially after a few pints. Would you believe that at this very moment both volumes of Alice reside on the corner of my desk? Its true.

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            • I love that. At the moment I’m sat within touching distance of my latest read – the third in a trilogy of priest-turned-detective novels called The Grantchester Mysteries. They’re set in Cambridge in the 50’s, and are rather wonderful.

              Wasn’t there something about jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today? And yes – those conversations must have been fascinating 🙂 Such incredible minds 🙂

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  9. Your post is full of hope and positivity. A big pendulum swing from the “before”. Feeling love and smiles. FTSF has an interesting prompt this week and one I might like to at least ponder, if not post for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heheh, thanks Deborah. I’ve found increasingly that the older I get, the younger I feel in terms of…opportunity? the chance to make a difference? ineptitude?
      I won’t say ‘never’, but it’s all looking less likely, and I’m less sure it’s what I want now 🙂

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  10. Best part of this post: “Because I have.” (found success and happiness in life). That makes me happier than anything else because for so long that did not seem to be where your head was at all. So I quite love this. And let me reiterate what Kristi said. Thirty-two? Yes, so very excitingly happily young. Man, when I think back to thirty-two… That was before I was married, before we had Zilla, before I got my masters degree, before we bought a home or had cats, before I quit my lifelong-dream career and started a whole new one that at 32 I could never even have imagined…before a lot of things.
    Yes, my friend, there is time. You are far from “done.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, and that’s what I’m awakening to – I have HUGE potential ahead of me. I can get the degree. I want to travel. I want to build a new life, a bit selfishly, with ME at the middle of it, doing what I want. I want to try things and mess up. I want to accomplish things. I want to find success in different ways, but I’m sure no manner of success can compare to the light and wonder I’ve found in the friendships I’ve made. THAT is success indeed.

      And…it took time, but I got there (or here). And I’m glad.

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  11. I know you don’t like hearing it (reading it) but 32 is YOUNG and you have so much time to do the things. All the things. You know how I feel about all of it I guess, including the “losing babies” because NOT THE SAME not the same not the same, but the same from where you were which is the same enough, and the hope and the dreams and the clothes. You gave away the clothes? I guess a good thing. No matter what. I like that you’re thinking about all of it. I like that you linked this. I like hugs that reach through the wires.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gave away the clothes. And all the kit and gear I had saved up and stashed, ready to provide most everything a little one would need in its early years.

      And I know not the same, but close enough, and the death of those hopes and dreams was utterly devastating. As was the death of others…and NOT of others.

      32 is young. I’m going to get out there and have adventures and LIVE! I’ve already started 🙂

      I’m glad I’m thinking about it all, and bemused because so many things and instances at once are making me think about it.

      *HUGS*

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful silver linings, bean… becoming gold. You express yourself so beautifully. If writing was ALL you had (though clearly it isn’t) you’d probably have enough. Because. Because you write so, SO everything-ly!

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    • *twinklygrins* that’s a HUGE compliment, THANK YOU! I just hope that somehow this record of all these moments of me will help in years to come. I know some of them have helped other people already, and I rather like the idea of having a ‘something’ to look back at and see how much things changed along the way.

      *hugs*

      And yes, SO glad it’s not ALL I have, especially when the ‘more’ means I get to be friends with people like yourself, my dear ❤

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    • Thanks so much…I read your TToT the other week, and it astonished me how far we’ve both come in our thinking, our living, and our being. Your stars have already been changing, and mine are set to, and it’s VERY exciting (though a hard road to get to this point).

      *HUGS you back*

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