Family Fortune

I have spent a lot of time on the blog lately talking about how manic life can be.  Work, college and other commitments seem to be all consuming these days.  I haven’t been getting to the gym, I haven’t been writing much or even reading much.  Cooking, which is normally a great source of joy, has become just about fueling my body for the next day’s battle.  In the act of just putting one foot in front of the other, I feel like I am losing myself.  Even my dreams are filled with exam anxiety!!

In the midst of all this, I had almost forgotten that I had planned a weekend away.  The plan was for myself, my mother, sister and aunt to go to visit an uncle of mine in Limerick.  We had arranged to drive down Friday evening together and return home on Sunday afternoon.  With everything that had been going on, the trip had almost slipped my mind and it was only a few days before we were due to head off when I remembered it.

Of course, conflict immediately set in.  Work was really crazy, with budgets due that week.  I was exhausted, stressed and probably not going to be great company.  Add to this, I really should have been doing college work.  My dissertation deadline is only 3 weeks out and there is an exam to look forward to after that.  I really couldn’t afford the time away.  BUT, I genuinely wanted to go.  I don’t get to see my uncle often enough and I love getting to hang out with these women.

I went back and forth with it all week.  Weighing up the pros and cons of going versus staying.  In the end, my fear of missing out teamed up with my hatred of breaking commitments to help me to decide to go.  I decided, however, not to join them on Friday (aka. budget day) but to follow them down on my own on Saturday instead.

I can honestly say, it was a great decision.  Sitting in the restaurant on Saturday night, I was acutely aware of the positive effect it was having on me.  I could feel my spirit and soul refreshed.  It is amazing how at a time when I feel like everyone wants a piece of me, I could find four people to just sit and be with.  That feeling has been resonating with me a lot this week.  Perhaps, when we feel the most like we are losing ourselves, it is the time when we most need our loved ones to anchor us.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by the people who know you best and love you regardless of your struggle.

Growing up, I always remember wanting to make my family proud, my parents in particular.  I wanted to have some great and lofty achievement to showcase and for them to be able to say “look what Arwen did!”  I wanted to feel that pride and reluctant as I am to admit it, it has probably influenced a lot of decisions I have made in my life.  I was always convinced that by doing the next thing, or by winning the next prize , I would somehow feel “good enough.”

It has taken me a lot of years and more than a little heart ache to come to the realisation, that if you are lucky, with your family, it is not the achievements that will make them the most proud.  They love you and will be proud of the person you are.  They will seek out your company, even if you feel like you have nothing to offer.  They will rejoice in your happiness and stand beside you on your darkest day.  To them, as lost and scared and sorrowful as you may feel, you will always be enough.

So, my advice to anyone who feels like life is taking over is this;  Make time for the people who know you best.  Hang out with people who don’t expect or demand anything from you.  Be with people, who want nothing other than your time.  I promise, it will do you good xxx


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