Monday, 18 January 2016

Growing through the mud

It was another cold,wet winters day as we slowly made our way down the winding roads of the National Trust estate. She was taking longer than the rest of us, pausing at every puddle along the way. Sizing it up, leaning her body back then throwing her whole weight forwards right into the centre of the newly melted puddle. I smiled as I heard her gleeful laughter. She was taking longer at one particular deep puddle. I tried ushering on "let's keep going sweetie" walking ahead. I turned to look and see if she was following. At that moment, she had taken one enormous leap, the landing resulted in one almighty tidal wave - one big enough to cover her entire face. I gasped, awaiting the imminent bawl. It never came. Instead, she doubled over in hysterical laughter.

I've been looking at this picture a lot since that moment. It got me thinking about the way I face life. Do I see a challenge and plunge my whole self into it? Do I look at the dirt that inevitably gets thrown up and keep smiling? I know for sure that there have been times that I have taken a 'puddle plunge' with totally different attitudes.

The summer of 2006 was a real defining time in my life. I was 17, preparing for my A levels exams, working part time, organizing my wedding (which was taking place in August) and practicing hard to take my final grade 8 ballet exam. I was stressed.When things were starting to get on top of me and I was beginning to think something was going to have to give. Ballet was something I had really been passionate about throughout my teenage years and I could see that aspect really suffering. A few weeks before the exam I almost pulled out. But I remember telling myself - 'no... just keep going. Work hard, have a go. Even if you fail, at least you'll know you tried'. I took the exam, and I passed with a decent mark. I got married, and am still in a very loving happy marriage. I passed all my A levels. While there were some hairy moments- thinking the wedding would never happen several times, nearly failing one of my exams, my attitude was a positive, hopeful and determined one. As a teenager, this experience was a defining one - giving me the confidence to know that with a little grit, goals could be achieved.

Since that summer, there have much bigger challenges to face. Nearly loosing a husband in Iraq, infertility, loss of work, supporting a loved one through depression, ill health, and looming prison sentences of a family member, to name but a few. Sadness, trials and challenges come to everyone. It is how we choose to face them that is the key to success and growth. My goal is to deal with life a day at a time. I also have a plaque in my kitchen with - 'Enjoy the little things' - this is hard when you're in the thick of a really hard day . But things do usually work out in the end. Don't spend time dwelling on what cannot be changed. Today, right now is what really matters. Believe it can and will be possible.

Wipe the mud from your eyes, and put a smile on your face.

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