What better time to have an epiphany than on 12th night? I mean it’s almost Kismet-esque isn’t it, having an epiphany on the Epiphany.
I was listening to BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour on Monday 4 January and they were discussing new beginnings and how some people take a leap of faith whilst others do nothing or at best very little. But it was one particular woman who contacted them that made me sit up and take note. Sadly she didn’t give her name but her expressions of not so much regret as self-disappointment were a mirror image of my own feelings, and for the past three days I have been thinking about what she said and today, Wednesday 6 January, the penny dropped.
What was it she said, you’re wondering aren’t you? Well the woman in question lived in France having followed her husband there in 1998 with a toddler and new baby. Now she is divorced and her two children will be leaving the nest and she no longer ‘needed’ the big family home or the full-time job or, it seemed, a great deal of what her life consisted. She was asking herself had she merely been “marking time” over the past 18 years and even now, was her lack of action due to her procrastination.
As her comments were being read out by Jane, I thought, that’s me, that’s just what I’ve been doing for years. In fact for as long as I can remember, other than a few occasional blips, I have been marking time for as long as I can remember.
I’ve often tried to rationalise my feeling of incompleteness, looking for a label to give them, putting it down to my level of happiness or unhappiness. Saying I felt ‘down’ or demotivated when all along it was just me marking time, waiting to fit in. I was the archetypal square peg in a round hole.
During my school life and throughout most of college something just didn’t gel. Then I fell into my first proper job without any real desire to do the work and from then on I was trapped. I progressed though, don’t get me wrong, I went up the ladder until I became a claims manager for a London based insurance company, but even then I knew it wasn’t for me. I felt like a fake, I was sure someone would eventually find me out and say something. I waited for the “you’re having a laugh, bugger off and let someone who knows what they’re doing do this job.” But they didn’t so I carried on.
But it never felt ‘right’ and now, 15 years after leaving that job, married and with two utterly wonderful sons, whilst I am still a square peg I have managed to lever myself out of the round hole and thanks to the person who contacted Woman’s Hour, I realise I am not alone with these thoughts, these doubts of self -worth, and that if there are two of us then there are bound to be more.
So where to go from here? Well I’d really like to talk to the person who contacted Woman’s Hour to see what if any decision she made because whilst I now know my feelings are real, I’m not sure how long it will be before I find a square hole that will be the perfect fit but at least I am no longer sitting uncomfortably in a hole that is completely the wrong shape for me.
So thank you Jane and Jenni on Woman’s Hour but my biggest thank you to the woman who helped me realise I’ve been marking time, that is until now!
What about you?
Here is the Woman’s Hour podcast link if you want to listen to it http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tqsc1