Weeks 27 and 28: self confidence and connecting

30 years 0n...

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Great Wake Up! has been on the back burner for the past few weeks as routine is stretched to its utter limit.
Last weekend I went to my school reunion. It has been 30 years since I was there; 30 years since I had even been to the town where it is. The decision was made the week before the event and it was emotional. Why? Because it forced me to look at myself- what I had become, the choices I had made. Also I reflected on what I was then: had I been balanced, wise, always kind and respectful to myself and others? Well, no. And that is hard to accept.
In some respects a last minute decision is good- no diets, outfit shopping etc.…Just me as I am. The exercises in the bathroom experiment helped! By pulling in my abs when washing hands I felt my core improve and focused on my posture. It is also a little exercise it is socially acceptable to do when in a public lavatory!
The reunion was lovely: meeting an old friend at the station, old friends in the pub and then going up to school. The last bit – in the school -was less lovely as the old concerns of not having anyone to speak to re-dawned. In many ways I am confident- I can give presentations, I can talk to new people, but I like to skirt around the edge of social groups. In many ways an introvert, I never really commit to a clique and will be happiest seeking out others that look uncomfortable and trying to make them feel included. I think this comes from being a daughter of an immigrant and also living in the ‘rough’ town down the road from where my school was situated. Those feelings of difference can be hard to shake off.
So as my world settles down, what can I take away from this whole experience?
• You are fine as you are. You can stop angsting about your weight, hair, clothes. We grow older but we all look pretty good.
• Keep moving whenever you can. I can still run up the school stairs and walk up the long hill to the school. I want to carry on being able to this when I return in another 30 years!
• We are lucky to have a life to look forward to. At the age of 46 and from a year group of 120 students, 5 have died.
• Being kind is key. It was those students who were thoughtful and kind that others remembered and wanted to be with. It was not down to wealth, qualifications or coolness.
• Be woken up to life – keep trying new things. It keeps you having a young mind set.
• Sometimes going back and reflecting on those formative times can be comforting. What you remember yourself as, is not the same as what others remember. We are our worst critics and hearing the memories of others allows us to look at ourselves in a more gentle light.
So Great Wake Up! leads me to this week and gratitude. I am certainly grateful that I had the opportunity to go back but I now look forward to re-focusing again on the now.


Mother, wife, daughter, teacher...

Firmly stuck in the 'sandwich generation' category, I am 46 years old and looking to shake things up a bit! I am a teacher, which I love - but it takes over your life! A mother of three - two daughters, 16 and 15, a son aged 11. Wife to Simon for 19 years. Carer for rather eccentric mum, aged 89.


Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
over 5 years ago
Brave to go back to your old school and reunion. Big pat on your back from me because I wouldn't do it. Well done to you though. Actually I've just thought how that must have been weird going back to your school thirty years later as a teacher! Bizarre!
Go to the profile of Jacqui
over 5 years ago
Especially as I was a messed up kid! But often it is those of us that found it tough who want to go back. I think we feel the need to nurture and make it easier for others!
Go to the profile of Vanessa
over 5 years ago
Great perspective, Jacqui!
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
over 5 years ago
Just catching up this week. I could so relate to this...although I have a few close friends I too skirt around groups always feeling a little bit the outsider. I'm so glad you decided on the whole to take the positive from the experience. lovely post x
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
Great insight Jacqui and brave step to go to the reunion. Spot on learnings. Thank you, C x