Out of Control Extreme Edition

Anyone who has read my previous two ‘Out of Control’ posts will know my love of a plan… I just like to know where things are headed and how they might get there.

Three years ago today I embarked on my adventure of moving to London, and today life has mirrors to that day but has taken curves in the road I didn’t expect. In editing my own manuscript lately, I stumbled over this which I had written: “But if the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that you can never know what will happen, not happen, or turn out differently. You can never plan for the year ahead in the way you might like, although intentions and dreams are worthy and useful.

Oh, the delicious irony of your own writing knocking you on the head with life advice…

In 2018, as in 2017, I explored ‘Hello/Goodbye’ from Jo Saxton and Steph O’Brien’s LeadStories Podcast and felt like this would be a year of change, and simultaneously that the word for my year was ‘persist’. Daunting. Persistence tends to denote challenge. It’s the idea you will need to battle on, rather than sail happily through…

And then, what change? Good change? Bad change? It felt like there was a shift in the air that I couldn’t quite place. I could have voiced discontent in various facets of my life and expressed what I wanted to change, but I wasn’t sure what would or when it might happen. In particular, I wanted a new job – after 3 and a half perfectly enjoyable years it was time for a new challenge, but that seemed to be out of my grasp. I was living in a shared house with some lovely people, yet my desire for my own space was growing stronger again but buying in London out of the question. I felt that the church community I was part of was somewhere I might be due to move away from, but I wasn’t sure where to go or why to move.

In a chain of events I should have perhaps expected, all these things changed – but not quickly.

Hearing the word ‘persist’, remembering it at times where it felt like change wasn’t going to come, and reminding myself that things would change, I knew just needed to keep going and do exactly that: persist. It makes it sound simple. It wasn’t. It felt so hard. A daily slog, drafting job applications, not hearing back, flunking interviews completely, allowing minor frustrations to bother me and just wondering what might change. I submitted my book proposal to a publishing house and was waiting to hear back from them about whether it was a plausible and potential publication for them, then was asked to restructure and resubmit. It wasn’t a no, but it didn’t feel like a ‘yes!’.

It was six very long months of persistence. From January to June I persisted. And complained, and bemoaned the lack of change.

Then suddenly, things started changing. Firstly, within a month I had a new job. Having spectacularly messed up an interview I determined to take control of my tendency to freeze and forget everything I’ve ever done when posed with a question, and believe nothing else but that I was the best for the job. It was a challenge in the face of my failure, and a huge conflict of emotions. It was a job I’d applied for, and clearly failed to secure, twice before yet somehow this time I won through, in what with hindsight over the years has been perfect timing.

Next, having resubmitted my proposal, I was sent a book contract. As I type I’m mid-edit of my editor’s edits (I have an editor!). My book has a cover design, a timescale, and a publisher. It’s felt like an incredible and unreal treat, waiting for emails to ping into my inbox and believing enough in my book to think someone might want to publish it.

Finally, my other half and I decided to move in together and enlarge our little family – so I’m now particularly large! Having my own home has been bittersweet as I moved on from an incredible central London location, yet wonderful to share my life fully with an incredible man, whose care and consideration of me have been second to none. The prospect of our new addition is simultaneously exciting and terrifying – surely one of the most monumental changes I’ll ever experience?

I then moved church services, although not church, to a closer, more family based service where there’s a community already blessing me and us with many of the things we’ll need for a new baby, not least maternity wear for me. It’s been welcoming and encouraging, even if the early start time is a challenge – but in a few months I feel that’s going to be forgotten!

Persistence, it seemed, had paid off. The waiting for change, and the wondering what change would be, had taken a long six months. Yet in the space of six, seemingly shorter, months, I was a manager, I’d moved, and had impending motherhood on the horizon.

2019 will definitely be different. I’ll be a published author, a mum and a homemaker – the latter for a while at least. And who knows what else it could bring? Yet as I prayed about this year, the word that came to mind was ‘peace’. I need to channel some inner peace, and I think I’m certainly going to have to roll with the punches in a year nothing can really prepare me for. But I’m also about to fulfil several long held dreams, which if you’d asked me about last January I’d have shrugged them off as improbable, if not impossible.

And I’m assuming this is the extreme edition… Plans to move abroad are not on the radar, and yes, it’s definitely only one baby in there, but as I’ve learnt (I’d like to think…) – who knows what’s round the corner?

*the mug in this photo isn’t one I won…one flight of stairs is currently more than enough!

Surviving Separation and Divorce

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