This weekend I went away with my 3 BFF from medical school. We have known one another 30 years and despite distance and change, we remain close and tight.
We booked a cottage, many months ago, roughly equidistant from our various residences – this is important when the driving time between the furthest two is about 6 hours. We chose a place close to a nature reserve with a huge reservoir so we could walk, and we opted for a bedroom each – a necessary luxury as we get older !
After the emotional pressure and stress of the last weeks I woke on Friday morning rather reluctant to a) make the trip b) leave my nest c) leave K and d) take the risk of leaving my boys ‘home alone’ for a whole weekend. On reflection that last was by far the biggest. When stressed and vulnerable, more ‘risk’ feels desperately hard.
But mindful of my enthusiasm previously, my genuine wish to see my friends, the knowledge that I would be very “safe” with them, and my need for some relaxation I left on Friday, later than planned but in time to arrive in the light.
On Friday evening I felt rather discombobulated, pleased to see my friends, but not really connected and belonging. I know this feeling now, and its because I am not sharing. So I talked all about what has been happening in my life, listened, and with the loving thoughtful compassionate responses of my friends came that sense of belonging as I have known it would.
We had a very slow paced weekend. Saturday I spent most of the day painting in the garden, whist the others read & sunbathed and we all chatted. We walked a bit, went out for supper and mooched companionably about – just being together.
This morning I sent them this email.
Just that short breathing space has done a LOT for my thinking processes.
I have reached 4 very important conclusions (I’m not going to DO anything right now BUT …)
1. All my life I have been chasing the lucrative practice. I have it. I have an “enormous” (for GP) income. But has it made me happy? NO. And further more, despite that (and I know that you all have some family monies that I have not had the benefit of) I am in a worse financial position than any of you
2. I am afraid of being poor. I grew up with frugality and the ‘not quite enough’ I saw the stress that not being able to pay for e.g. a car service had on my mother and this fueled my (and my brothers, I think) search for financial stability
3. I HATE the ethos where I work now. I hate the relentless driving for more cash at the expense of all else. Its not the work I hate its the ethos. It goes against WHO I AM. I am empathic, generous, giving and I work in health care because its a good fit with my personality. But I have become part of an organisation that ultimately puts the wants of the partners (3) over the needs of the employees (90) and the patients (26,000)
4. I blame myself endlessly for being alcoholic, STILL having an issue with my eating (although not this weekend, interesting that, isn’t it) BUT, it’s because I am unhappy. Sure, I am much less unhappy than I was before, but most of my adult life I have been stifling and battering who I really am, in order to fit with an ideal that has been shown to me by my mother, the media, society, my expectations etc etc, No wonder I have been unhappy and resorted to alcohol, food and shopping to numb my feelings enough to get me through each day.
I have no idea what I am going to do with this information but it is the truest thing I have ever written
And like I said, once its out. I find it hard to put it back in again.