Grandmothers and catching waves

Life got a little bit too easy. Or perhaps ‘easy’ isn’t the right word, but I have slipped into some kind of middle gear over the past couple of years and for an all-or-nothing person like me, that spells disaster. I’ve become complacent and it doesn’t suit me at all. It’s really just a matter of being too damn fortunate: I’m about to marry the great big love of my life and we have the most amazing life together with an incredibly bright future ahead of us, I am mother to the most amazing – if somewhat wayward – kid on the planet, and just generally speaking there are very few clouds in the sky, if any. The day job is lovely, something I enjoy and I freakin’ adore the people I work for – good for my self worth too, not that this was in any way lacking, as they are both kind and appreciative (even when I genuinely wonder if they have reason to be).

The thing is though, that the day job was Plan B. Don’t get me wrong, most people would love this gig – how often do you not hear about horrible commutes, evil bosses and bitchy co-workers? Not me! I tootle along a little U-shape here in leafy south-west London to get Monkey to school and then drive back up through Richmond, then through the gates of this beautiful place where I then spend the working hours in a varied role and where any exchange with my bosses involve mostly a hi! and a smile. To be fair, this is a pretty fkn awesome Plan B as I would actually have been OK with stacking supermarket shelves. A Plan B doesn’t need to be great, that’s not the point of a Plan B. The purpose of a Plan B is to help along and facilitate Plan A in this scenario. So to end up with a Plan B that I can not only live with but approach with joy and gratitude just further tips the scales in my favour when measuring fortune.

But here’s the problem. I got completely stuck with the writing, so three quarters of a second draft has been gathering dust over the past year and a half and as it currently stands my motivation, never mind inspiration, just isn’t there. I’ve just coasted along in this comfortable, trouble free and blissfully lovely little existence I’ve now lead for about that time. There’s a huge wave I want to catch, a wave I’ve always dreamed of conquering, but it’s so lovely here up on the beach on the sun lounger with an umbrella drink in my hand. I glance over at the surf board…. Sure…. ….but not today.

Plan A and B were meant to be the perfect marriage: Plan A to follow my dream and write that novel and Plan B to support it and ensure I still had the luxury of going to work, have people around me (I need that!) and a routine (flying solo on my own schedule gets me on that sun lounger quicker than anything else as it all quickly becomes mañana, mañana…). But here I am and suddenly I got restless. Restlessness hasn’t been enough to fire me up with the writing again unfortunately but what it has done is made me feel quite flat and, as much as I hate to say it, like a failure. I miss the spark in that part of my life, I miss feeling that I was going to do great things. Plan B is doing lovely things. But I need something more, something that ignites something in me and something to feel passionate about.

So a kick up my backside was needed and I think I found it. From a family where both my grandmothers as well as my mother have always been massively into all things craft – knitting, weaving, sewing, crocheting, rug making, embroidering, you name it – as well as a stepfather who is a master carpenter and woodwork teacher, making things with my hands have always been something I’ve loved. On my mother’s side of the family every other person is an artist or poet – the love of creating, whether it’s stringing words together or forming with one’s hands, is in my blood. Over the past year I’ve got into making traditional sami bracelets out of leather and pewter thread. So much fun but always for that very reason – enjoyment – and up until now I’ve only given them as presents to friends and family. When B’s niece asked for one after seeing the one I made for her mum, my about-to-be sister-in-law, I thought what the heck and stuck a selection on Etsy. Selling them at about a third of what sami bracelets would normally go for, but they’re not perfect and I’m just dipping my toe anyway.

Here they are, and the Etsy shop name ended up as ‘Songs of the Forest’ as a nod to a childhood spent playing in the deep, mystical, fairytale woods of Värmland despite their lack of connection to any trace of sami culture (think the very north of Sweden) but still:

Just for fun though, and I’ve never before considered doing something with it before. But I’m good at it AND I love doing things like that. And who says you can’t just throw yourself into something completely new at 41? That’s right – no one. And that’s what I’m doing. Pewter thread bracelets in all their cute glory, but what I want to aim for is making silver and gold jewellery!

As my great luck would have it, my bosses agreed – by the way, anyone with a horrible boss reading this, I understand if you hate me, I even make myself sick sometimes by being the recipient of so many wonderful things that I don’t know what I did to deserve – and so in September I’m enrolled to do a silver jewellery design course. The focus is on making silver jewellery from scratch and learning the basics along with stone setting too. If this does spark passion in me in the way I suspect it will, there is a one year Diploma course to consider. At that point I’ll also know if working four days per week (both courses are one day per week) is viable after seeing how the first course over three months works for everyone. If my bosses then turn around and say no, they need someone five days per week, I suppose I’ll after the first course know if I want to pursue in and forsake my lovely Plan B. That’s far off though! I’m hoping the new two – Plan B and Plan New – will go hand in hand and everyone’s happy. And ultimately I’m hoping Plan New and renewed enthusiasm will inject my comfortable existence with excitement that’ll wake me up a bit!

As for the wedding, all that’s left is to pick the menus. That’s it. Our wedding bands are ready, everyone’s outfits bought and ready, hair and make-up sorted (make-up sorted in that I’ll do it myself – the racoon look didn’t work for me, nor did the heavy brown eye shadow – lots of slap just isn’t my thing and I can’t think of anything worse than thick layers of foundation, plus my skin is good as it is thank you very much) and although I can’t walk in the shoes I bought that won’t be an issue as I’m sure no one will notice if I remove the devil things half way through the evening and slip my hobbit feet into flipflops.

It’s B’s birthday today and the card I got him says “Happy Birthday Boyfriend!” – when I saw it in the shop I knew it just had to be that one because, after all, it’s the last time I can say that to him. All 27th of Aprils after today he’ll be my husband. Feckinell! That’s really grown up!


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