‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.’ Albert Einstein
CW: brief mention of baby loss
The notion of balance is an interesting topic for discussion I think and one that will definitely offer different thoughts depending on who is writing about it. The quote offered up for this week’s QuoteQuest explores the idea that to keep our balance in life we must keep moving, is that always possible though, or are we always keeping moving even when it feels like life has stopped us in our tracks?
Nothing has ever changed my life the way that losing my second pregnancy did. Even when my Mum died, as hard as that was, and believe me it was devastating, losing my baby altered the very fabric of who I was in a way nothing else ever had. For whatever reason I couldn’t keep my balance and keep my family together. I walked away from my marriage and just kept moving.
What transpired after that wasn’t a very balanced life. At all. It was however the life I needed to keep moving forward.
I think something I have learnt about myself, perhaps quite recently is that I am actually susceptible to allowing things around me to be unbalanced. I have a habit of letting someone else’s needs supersede my own, of stifling the words I should be speaking in effort to please and see the other person happy. I am trying very hard not to be that person anymore.
I recently had a birthday and I can admit I am not very good at birthdays. My mum was my birthday champion, she always made a fuss and that day was hers just as much as it was mine. She died 8 days after my 25th birthday, after that my birthday became something I let pass me by. No one else took up the challenge of making my birthday special, even when I made the effort for theirs. No one that is until Mr F.
Mr F was horrified and saddened when I recounted how little I’ve done for my birthday in the past few years. He said to be prepared because he was not going to stand by and let that happen again. Our plans had to be adjusted thanks to Lockdown 2.0 but never the less I had a wonderful day. He made sure of that and I am incredibly grateful that he has brought birthday joy back into my life. There was nice breakfast, lots of attention, gifts (two of which are in my image above) and he made certain I didn’t have to cook my own dinner.
With regards to settling for less and people pleasing though, I requested any gifts he was sweet enough to buy me be wrapped. He is not good at wrapping and he and his brothers just used tinfoil or randomly hand over unwrapped gifts, suits them all just fine, but I wanted wrapping paper or at least a nice gift bag. He asked why this was such a big deal, nicely I might add, more out of curiosity than a way to get out of it. I explained that this was the kind of thing I let slide in other relationships and after a while the absence of those kinds of gestures made me feel like shit.
Similarly I’ve voiced that I would like to observe anniversaries and valentine’s day. Now I don’t mean I always want grand gifts or fancy dinners, I simply want time for us on those days and the occasional gift, however small, would be most appreciated. His response was one of agreement and again some bafflement that I would expect this not to be the default. For me though, expressing those needs is a way to make sure this relationship stays balanced, healthy and loving.
I’m fed up of looking back on relationships and seeing that I allowed myself to be overlooked in too many ways. It’s not even that the people I was involved with actively tried to do this, it’s more that in hearing their words and identifying their needs and desires I did my best to be everything they wanted without actually making sure I was asking the same for myself.
My life feels like it has a balance to it now that I have never experienced before. I think for me moving forward has always been less about keeping my balance and more about finding my balance. It has taken a long time to achieve. The birthday I mentioned saw me turn 36 and I am beginning over again in ways I never imagined I would be, none of which would have been possible if I hadn’t kept moving forward, even if sometimes that wasn’t the easiest thing to do.