And so it was that time of year again. The time of year to don my most outrageously floral dress, attach a lavishly decorated piece of mesh to my head and sit in the glorious sunshine watching people in boats racing along the river. It was time for the Henley Royal Regatta.
As you may remember, last year’s Regatta was something of a memorable day. Not necessarily for the actual events of the day, but for the life lesson I was taught.
How to answer that dreaded question…
“So. What do you do?”
I had mentally prepared myself for that dreaded question; this year I was ready. I had made a mental note of all the aspects of my life that made me feel like I was finally part of society.
- I had a new volunteering role. Spending two days a week working with clients with brain injuries for Headway Devon. I did not see the need to tell them that the volunteering was as much for my self-preservation as it was for the clients, or that the majority of our time was spent playing Scrabble and Scattergories.
- I had a job. Working every now and then in a local delicatessen; once more I saw no need to tell them the full details, that it was for a family friend and that I had been doing it since I was fourteen.
- I finally had a plan for the future. This November I will be heading off to the Alps where I will be a chalet girl for one of the most prestigious ski companies out there. I would keep the fact that the main reason I wanted to go was to have back some of my freedom and embrace what it is to be young again, a secret.
I would no longer answer with “not much” and look to my closest ally to take over from there.
I would have something to say, something to make me feel ‘normal’.
But the truth of it was this: I did not need to worry about what I was going to say anymore. I am not sure if it is because I have finally come to terms with everything that has happened and the situation that I now find myself in. But whatever it is, when the question arose I found myself answering in a completely different way.
I was able to open up to complete strangers about the trials and tribulations I had been through, my life goals and ambitions and most importantly, tell them the truth about what I do and what I want to do.
Now, it could have been something to do with the jug of Pimms, slightly loosening my tongue, or perhaps the heat of the day, misguiding my judgement; but whatever it was, I am thankful that it happened, as this year I learnt yet another life lesson.
This year I learnt that as long as I am happy with how I am living my life, everyone else is happy too. It doesn’t matter that I am not quite yet at the point where I want to be. I am on a journey that I am enjoying (especially when I have days like I did in Henley), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.