It’s a sad day when bookandbed realises she can’t do everything. It’s always been a significant problem of mine, choosing. I’ve never liked closing off alternative avenues – even as a teenager I always wanted to keep my options open, to explore and do everything. I did 9 GCSEs and 5 A levels when no-one else did. I know now that kids routinely get 11 grade A GCSEs and 6 grade A A-levels, but back then, they didn’t. It was the highest academic achievement at that time of my school and the highest results in my town, population 60,000. I didn’t do it because I was some sort of genius, it happened because I couldn’t decide and didn’t want to choose. It unfortunately set a precedent in me that I felt I could and should always do things that people tell me are too much, that are not achievable. I got away with living a life like it for too long and it became who I ridiculously was proud of. I got away with it and sadly nothing really challenged my belief in this until I had a child and tried to carry on living like that and then the bottom fell out!
Let’s not get all Alpha-Female about this, though. Where has it got me? I didn’t become the barrister I thought I would when younger (thankfully) but I’ve not got a portfolio training and writing career either. I haven’t got multiple children and a career that’s on fire. I’m never going to do a Russell Brand and get invited to a Parliamentary Committee on Working Parenthood, either.
Instead, my diluted focus and my life’s refusal to choose and close off opportunities means I remain a generalist and – at worst – a frustrated one. If you don’t jump and make a decision, too often life makes those decisions for you and underachieving is infinitely more frustrating than making a choice.
This blog and writing have formed part of a raft of things I’ve been trying to do at the same time but recent blog silence no longer means I am not reaching the goal set by this blog – reading together. Instead, it means I’ve had to prioritse things, which we all know doesn’t come naturally.
Fortunately, my daughter is ever more fixated on books – for her it represents time together and she’s becoming obsessed by the alphabet and the drive to read, so she naturally ensures this is a priority for me. I’m delighted by this. The blog achieved what it set out to achieve and now I’m wondering how it can evolve to reflect our needs and focus. The push to write about it though is taking a regrettable backseat.
Otherwise, trying to do too many things jeopardises all of it. Without focus, all ambition remains just dreams.