5 things I learnt/achieved in the first 30 years of my life:
1. Average grades and a degree in ‘who gives a crap-ology’, (which I took because I believed that despite 18 being an acceptable age to drown your liver in toxic juice, it is not old enough to be thrown into the world of full-time work, this was my alternative!!)
2. All the ‘normal’ milestones. Some before others (talking came before walking because I’m chatty but lazy!)
3. To drive…a slow process which took 3 attempts before a questionable pass
4. How to pretend to know what I am doing (helpful in a job like mine)
5. That if you want to get to Swindon in less than 4 hours….the M5 is not the correct motorway to be on.
Like most people, I had a life plan. It wasn’t written out in a 90’s style fluffy diary in my best, only slightly smudged and illegible handwriting (it’s not easy being left-handed in this discriminatory world). Neither was it typed up and password-secured in my electronic ‘dear diary’….there was huge technological advances from the early to late 90’s!
No, my plan didn’t need to be written down, because it was firmly engrained in my brain and I was 100% confident I would reach it….failure didn’t exist! The life plan went: school, exams, university, exams, work (hooray no more exams, just daily off the scale stress), buy nice things, marriage, babies and a life of luxury….easy!! I felt it was more a guarantee than a plan! And it took me precisely 30 years and 3 days to ‘fail’! I’d passed all the boring bits no problem, but when I got to ‘buy nice things, get married, have babies and live a life of luxury I was a big fat F!
It then took another few years (and I’m still taking extra-curricular lessons), to begin to learn that all of that was someone’s life plan, but it wasn’t mine and it never had been! And ironically (like most things in my life), it took major brain surgery for that lesson to be learnt!
I consider myself to have had many ‘failures’ in life. By definition, failure is “the absence of success”, and success is “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose“. So, allowing my sister to cut ‘layers’ into my hair at the age of 12 resulting in a bowl cut on top of a longer bowl cut, was a failure. Sneaking my 8 year old sister on a bus into town to buy sweets and lying to my mum about it for a year only to find out that we’d been spotted and she already knew- failure of epic proportions (further compounded by the fact that my other sister had been bribing me for an entire year to not tell our mum, knowing that she already knew)! Leaving my car in a Tesco car park for an entire weekend because I forgot I drove it there- stupid, idiotic failure. You get the drift….its hard not to think that life is one big failure.
When I first found out about the surgery, my initial thought was, “That’s it, I’ve failed at life and I may as well give up now”. If failure is the absence of success, and success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, there was about as much success in my life at that moment as there were pringle’s in a popped can! But even in the most difficult of times, I try not to dwell on unhelpful thoughts and of all my failures. I do think I have a helpful knack of finding the giggles in the shits! In this case, the giggles came when my mind went into overdrive with all the potential outcomes of brain surgery….. I immediately set about researching* (*I typed ‘what percentage of brain surgeries go wrong?’ into Google, knowledge is power right? Horrifyingly, the thing that terrified me the most wasn’t the risk of seizures, strokes, haemorrhages or death, it was an article I came across entitled, “Woman wakes up from brain surgery with a Jamaican accent”…..
After the shock of imagining myself hopping off a bus and opening my mouth to say, “cheers, drive” but “Everyting irie, mi juss a gwaan bill” coming out subsides, I focus on a more positive approach. There is no point dwelling on the biggest failure of my life, a new plan begins to form….along with the brain surgery, all I’d have to do is practice the 100m sprint until I could complete it in under 10 seconds, then together with my newly developed Caribbean colloquialism, I’m the female Usain Bolt!! Although this new piece of information gave me and my friends a much needed giggle at the time, it was with great disappointment and dismay when my wonderful friend Kate, my first visitor after surgery walked through the door, and instead of “Ello, Hail up, Waa gwaan”, I simply muttered, “Hello, how are you?”…..now that’s what I call a failure!!
I guess my point here, is that it can sometimes seem like your life as you imagined it is is no more, it’s taken a one way ticket to the United Kingdom of Failure. Over the last 4 years, I have felt this on more than one occasion. What I thought would be earn lots of money, drive a nice car, have a gorgeous husband and mother a couple of cute and perfect children, has actually been: earn just enough to consider a shop at New Look a treat compared to my usual Primark splurge, take a daily commute with Metrobus Mike, and become so man-deprived that I am intrigued by an article entitled ‘Hottest Male MP in Lockdown’ (it’s Rishi Sunak if anyone is interested, and the article can be found here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/chancellor-rishi-sunak-voted-hottest-22029768.amp)!
But I have learnt that this isn’t failure, it’s the opposite, this is a well-researched, successful story. I may not ‘have it all together’, I may not be living the life I imagined, but it is my life and I love it! It’s full of adventure, laughter, tears and crazy times. And it is also a story which is constantly being drafted, edited and altered. By this token, it’s a success!! (OK, maybe considering Rishi remotely hot is a stretch)!
And just to prove that the things you consider ‘failures’ are actually just research…..
5 things that were never part of my life plan, and that I learnt/achieved post B.S. :
1. A 1st class degree and student of the year in a proper serious subject
2. None of the ‘normal ‘ milestones! Oh wait, which text book says marriage occurs between the ages of 25-30, adults experience pregnancy around the 27th year, and if you haven’t bought a home by your 35th birthday, you might want to consider a referral to a specialist? NONE!
3. Hard times are nearly always temporary, like the loss of my driving license (god help you all when the DVLA decide I am no longer a risk to public life!)
4. How to admit I don’t know what I’m doing…its fine now I have a convenient excuse for life, “the brain surgery made me do it/not do it” delete as appropriate!
5. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost your licence, because If you take the train to Swindon, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re on the M4, M5 or M2nowhere #winning
Inna di morrows