Aspirations – earn more money…
Money, money, money, it’s so funny in a rich man’s world. Hmm is it? Funny I mean, I guess it is if you have loads of it, then the concept of money could seem quite hilarious.
Many people I know wouldn’t want to live where I live. In casual conversation they tell me my street is ‘not safe’ or ‘I wouldn’t live there, not with my children’ or ‘I couldn’t – wouldn’t live in that neighbourhood’ and ‘I wouldn’t let my children walk around there at night’. These words sit squat, toad like, catching my thoughts as they fly by. Am I careless with my kids? Am I attracting ‘bad vibes’ or bringing my children up in a place they cannot thrive? Would they be ‘better off’ in a different neighbourhood, where there was more wealth? I choose, we choose, myself and my husband have chosen to prioritise spending time together as a family. I do work, but not full time, so I could earn more money but I chose to be around after school. I am now here in my house with a 15 and an 11 year old, their childhoods have been here in Bristol. Those early years cannot be re-played, summers frittered away splashing in paddling pools, ice-cream; winters cuddled cosy on sofas. I wonder if I have done them a disservice keeping them away from beaches and faraway places. I could have worked harder, faster, longer. The message I hear passed down from our government is ‘You are screwed. You with your dreamers head and creative abilities. Take the first job you are given. Earn more money. Earn more money. Earn more money…’
So when I also hear these messages unconsciously echoed from people I care about, I question whether I have made the right choices after all. I don’t have the money for holidays abroad or dinners out in restaurants and I’m already carving an extra notch on my belt, so I can make it a little tighter next year.
The thing is, I have consistently made the same choices for the last 41 years. I have prioritised my family and our creative dreams. Always believing in the importance of taking time when we need it; valuing and connecting with ourselves and our community. I like second hand things ingrained with history and seething with stories, I love people who want to make, re-create, are happy with a fire and good company. I want my children to know I am available and I can hear what’s important to them. Yet as I trawl through job applications, I feel the weight of my motherhood in the individual cells of my body, resting in my brain, exposing the time –gaps in my CV – when I stayed in this place, being here for my children.
I know we live a life of abundance in a multitude of ways, we don’t go hungry or cold, we have a roof over our heads and a garden to play in. With the chants of ‘money, money, money’ and ‘work faster, harder, longer’ shouting out from newspapers and TV screens, I look at the people around me, investing in their families, communities and creative dreams. I know I’m in the best place I could be right now and this is where I’ll stay for a long time to come.