Thursday, January 21, 2016

Five Years And What's Changed?

Five years and two days to be precise. I remember walking home from the nursery with my friend Shira as she explained to me what a blog is and how to set one up - basically google blogspot and follow the instructions. A few hours later and I was a blogger.


The first post. Cute. I got some encouragement from veteran bloggers who I later discovered were only about three months ahead of me in the game. I think Gemma was my first blog friend. And I now see that Jazzy commented on that post so I guess we've also known each other for five years. Reading back over some of the posts I wonder if maybe a blog cull is called for. Not all posts are keepers.

I joined a couple of online parent bloggers' groups in the US and followed some blogs. It didn't take me long to realise that I felt more at home with the British bloggers.

At the time I was the mother of a just 2yo who'd been in full time childcare since September. I was fast coming to the end of the money I'd saved up to allow me to be a fulltime mum for a while and I'd not yet found gainful employment.

The job in publishing where I wrote educational textbooks no longer existed as the company had folded with the ongoing global recession. I loved that job. Shame.

I went to a first interview in a non-profit organisation run by Americans with serious career-heads. The hours would have had me dropping DD off at nursery at 7.30 (when it opens), running out the office door to catch a bus to pick her up at 4.30 and every bus ride being fraught with anxiety in case I was late. And what if she were ill? What if she were sick for a week? I couldn't take the stress and embarrassment of having to call in sick on a regular basis.

I needed to get back into education somehow, somewhere. But how? Where? And meanwhile no money left.

My apartment was a mess. Full of baby equipment, too much furniture acquired over the years for previous abodes and that never quite fit into this one. Boxes of donated baby clothes till about age 8 (yes we're still wearing some of it now). Too many books (yes you can) and too much stuff in general.

I was bored, underemployed, eating for comfort and lonely.

Fast forward five years and what has changed?

I found that perfect job in a Teacher Training College which got me back into a work environment I love. It took a few more years of miracles (I honestly don't know how I managed to keep afloat for the next four years) before finally having enough work to actually cover the monthly expenses. There's little to spare but at least the fear of losing everything has been erased. This final piece of the jigsaw puzzle only fell into place during the last few months. It's not perfect by any means but it's a lot more secure than previously.

I also started paying myself first, as they say in all the how to be a millionaire books. I've been putting away a small amount each month. Money that I thought I couldn't afford to save has been saved and it's starting to add up to that small-medium emergency fund you're supposed to have. Another leg of security.

I embraced decluttering and minimal(ish)ism.

The baby equipment and the toys in the living room have long gone. The boxes of hand-me-downs have been worn and handed down again. Books were culled and five bookcases (yes five!) were let go. OK, I replaced two of them with two smaller bookcases but we're still three down. A desk went, a new wall turned a walk-through room into a proper bedroom, a second toilet and a proper shower were installed in place of the old bath, and finally just this week I got my new (2nd hand) dining table which is the right shape for the room. Less is definitely more manageable and more comfortable to live with. I'm loving the space.

Blogging has changed my life and saved my sanity. I joined facebook and twitter only to publicise the blog - I didn't really get it before. Both these platforms have led to networks of new friends (twitter) and reconnections with old friends far and wide (facebook). Groups have allowed us to share information, conversations and all sorts of entertainment without the need of a babysitter.

Best of all, it's all written down. Well most of it. Not the really private bits. It's like a journal with photos and public feedback.


I am still overweight. It's a process.


18 comments:

  1. Rachel - you are doing great! (and I love the dining table and chairs)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gillian, and I love the table too. xxx

      Delete
  2. You look fabulous! What a journey - you didn't add how anonymous you were - you never appeared and here you are! Where will we be in 5 years. You have achieved so much. Thanks for always being there, I do really appreciate it X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, yes I was going to be completely anonymous. Well that went out the window pretty fast around here but it did take me along time post a photo of myself anywhere. Looking forward to sharing the next five with you.

      Delete
  3. Ahh, such a lovely post. This and you're very first one which was great to read back over. You've had quite the journey in the past five years and it's great to have a record of some of the things that's happened, isn't it? I have to say that over the past five years you've become a 'must read' on my bloggers list. Keep blogging! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jazzy, you are on my 'must read' list too. xxx

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on getting to five years, and on always writing something new and interesting, and, as you say, a wonderful record of yours and DD's life that you probably would not otherwise have. As Jazzy says, keep blogging, and hope you can visit us both in Ireland sometimes soon xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ireland is top of my list. Thanks Candi. xxx

      Delete
  5. Indeed it is a process, happy 5 year anniversary. Blogging is a fabulous connector and I'm certainly glad to have found you (or you found me, I can't recall). Mich x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite a long process. :~). You are amng my earliest blog friends Mich and I look forward to many more years of blogging friendship. xxx

      Delete
  6. Oh Rachel you are right up there in my top 3 of blogging friends. Oldest and the best. Oldest referring to since the beginning not your age. Love how upbeat this post is and LOVING your dining table space. Mine is always a dumping ground. Blogging has many a time saved my sanity tooooo xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I'm feeling guilty that I only mentioned two of my early blogging friends. Of course you and I go back all those five years, as does Mich from Mummy from the heart, Emma in Bavaria and Emma in Cyprus, Sally, Vegemitevix, Candi in Ireland, Nicky from Typecast, Jean who is Nor Supermum, Jane in Exmoor, Kate... and so many more. And now I've probaby dug myself even further down into a hole as I've missed people off an even longer list. *sighs* P.s. Good luck for tomorrow.

      Delete
  7. I had to post and congratulate you on your 5 years. I've been lurking for a long time, loving your posts, and the snippets of things your daughter says. She reminds me so much of my own daughter (now 26 this year). The other thing I really must add is, that you have a really pretty daughter, who is becoming more beautiful with every year that passes. Her personality appears to match, you must be so proud of her!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely comment Bets. Thank you for writing. I love it that there are lurkers I don't know about yet - the more the merrier. Thanks again xxx

      Delete
  8. It's been a privilege to share some of this journey with you Rachel and I'm so glad to see your jigsaw is coming together so well after so long. Everything is a process and you're doing brilliantly x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anya, things have a way of working out if you hang in there long enough, don't they?

      Delete