The other day I got around to watching the movie ‘Frozen’ with my two young daughters, and like so many animated adventures before it, the girl does indeed get together with a handsome guy at the end, implying that they then lived happily ever after. I’ve believed in romance for as long as I can remember and I never doubted that one day I too would walk off into the sunset as a happily married woman. Nobody expects to be in one of those unlucky one-in-three marriages that doesn’t make it. The future I had expected to live, facing life’s problems together, growing old together, that whole future has shifted and taken a new direction. It became time to reinvent my future and reinvent myself, but I didn’t even know what I wanted to be.
I blogged happily for several years at The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife and what started as a hobby became a flexible work-at-home career as I built myself a business as a freelance blogger and virtual assistant. My personal blog told the tales of real-life family travels on the canals, from home births on a narrowboat, to how do you get a school place without an address? It was sometimes an idyllic life of freedom, as the children fed swans from the front deck and sunlight sparkled on the rippling water. Yet the practicalities were difficult with two young children and when my husband and I separated last year I knew that I could not manage boat-life as a single mum.
The girls and I moved to a house in Devon to be near my family and revelled in the luxury of an endless water supply on tap and central heating at the flick of a switch. I was so excited that the supermarket would deliver groceries to our door, and the girls thought it was fun to live in a place that had stairs and a bedroom to play in instead of a tiny cabin.
They say that as one door closes another one opens, but before it does you sometimes find yourself in a hallway of doorways, like Alice in Wonderland, wondering which door handle to try. I tried to blog about our relocation without mentioning my personal life, but I wasn’t on a narrowboat and I wasn’t a wife. The name of my blog no longer made sense. Not only that but I had built a business as ‘The Narrowboat Wife’; blogging for boating businesses and freelance writing for the waterways press.
It was time to reinvent myself but I didn’t even know what I was going to be. Here’s the thing: I still don’t. So I just started blogging about my journey of reinvention, about reading books and setting goals, about gratitude and living in the moment, meditation, positive thinking, self-esteem, and anything else that I tried whilst I dithered in the hallway of my life. In fact, I prefer to think of the hallway as a chrysalis, but instead of a pretty butterfly I rather fancy that I’ll reappear as some kind of feisty dragonfly; elusive and enigmatic, sparkling in the sunshine, and never too far from water.
Has your whole future ever shifted and taken an unexpected direction?
Peggy Melmoth now blogs at Reinvent Yourself 101 and has created Overcome Divorce Stress: A free master class to help busy women relieve tension and gain confidence. It includes a 20 minute hypnosis download, a hand-out, a worksheet and the full colour e-book ‘21 Kick-Ass Ways to Cope with Divorce Stress’.