Life really began for me after I met my husband, and not just because I fell in love with him. Growing up wasn’t terribly great in the personal growth sense- at the very least. I was a troubled kid and it’s no wonder as I look back on it.

Very early on relationships with my closest family members dissolved into distrust and indifference. I think I spent most of my time just surviving. Not surviving a volatile and abusive relationship, although there were times, but surviving distant parents (in their own ways), not leaving my house much and having the god damn tv on all the time. At least that’s a small look into the way I was raised.

I had no aspirations to do anything. It never occurred to me that I was capable of doing anything significant. I didn’t see a future beyond 20 years old. I just went about each day not hoping or dreaming of more. My world was slightly tilted when I started rock climbing. It was a shock that I was really good at climbing since I was always lead to believe that sports weren’t my thing. I came to climbing in a strange sideways fashion. I’d met someone who didn’t realise they wouldn’t be welcome at the party they walked into. I offered to walk him out before he was roughly thrown out. I still don’t know what made me agree to go to his place of work the next day to try rock climbing. I was offered a job in the gym shortly after and a passion was born.

My world was thrown totally out of whack when I met my husband (also a fairly sideways introduction I’ll save for another time). Here was this intelligent and life experienced guy who just expected me to know more than I did. The worst part was that he didn’t shame, criticise or make fun when it was clear I didn’t know much and I asked the most simple of questions. Then I asked more and more. I wanted to know how things worked, about world politics and how to experience the outdoors. I went swimming in a lake for the first time with my husband… so many basic firsts with him. I started looking outside of our relationship for more. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and try new things wherever my interest was sparked. I joined the local badminton team, the bridge group (despite being the youngest by about 40 years…), got a job at the post office where I thrived, I wasn’t embarrassed to listen to the radio and read articles and form my own opinions on things. I was excited by life for the first time ever.

What’s the point to all this? I’m not exactly sure. It’s been on my mind lately how much I’ve grown. Lately I’ve realised that I have a lot of interests I wouldn’t have ever dreamed of, like engineering. I’ve thought a lot about my family life growing up and it’s obviously inspired a different approach with my own kids. It drives me to work harder to be the parent I want to be instead of how I might immediately feel and react in tough moments. I just want so much more out of life.

11 Responses to Living and Learning

  1. Lucy Dolan says:

    What a shame you were shut away during your youth because you are obviously an extremely intelligent and capable person – it is fantastic that you were able to grow after meeting your man! My dp had a similar time as a young person. He still suffers with the lack of aspiration sometimes. It’s amazing how much we can give our children despite not receiving what we needed ourselves. I feel the same – although my upbringing was fine I felt very thwarted and frustrated much of the time. I see my littlies flowering at a young age and it’s brilliant. Even my wee boy who is very delayed – he has such a great sense of fun and is such a fighter.

  2. ella says:

    wow! thanks so much for sharing this annie. i’ve just started looking at the book ‘growing up again’ which seems to relate to this…

  3. Nice blog post Annie. I didn’t realize until now how many of the things we did when we first met were new to you also – listening to CBC my choice (I don’t know how I ever stood anything else now), audio books, sewing and quilting. Okay, I knew that sewing and painting were!

    I thin it’s so awesome that you’re getting a chance to explore a broader world and working to share that with your children. They are so lucky as are all of who get to learn from you now.

    Keep up your stellar work and maybe, just maybe we’ll have to negotiate a switch;)

  4. greenteacher says:

    Thank you for being so open and honest. There are so many paths and choices that come our way, everyday and every one is an opportunity to be different, better, more positive people. Just before the kids were born, we got cable. And now, we’ve decided to not renew the contract…what a waste of time(and money)!!! Actually I can thank tv a little because it was it that got me to recognize what else I would rather be doing, cooking, gardening, reading, sewing, knitting… the part you wrote about tv really struck a chord with me…. Aaah, CBC radio 2, what would I do without you? :)

  5. tai says:

    Reading this makes me even more in awe of what an amazing mama you are, to bring such intent and conciousness to your parenting when that is not what you had growing up. I’m so glad you found your way from that past life to this one- hurrah for wonderful partners that bring out the best in us!

  6. natalie says:

    Thanks for teaching us what you’re learning – I’m soaking it up : )

  7. Hello, just found your blog and read this fascinating and honest post. It’s heartbreaking to read that you were so shut off from life in your childhood, but amazing that you’ve become a person full with the world.

  8. Forrest says:

    Sounds like we had a very similar childhood — I’m glad you made it out of cold suburbia and are thriving! Keep growing and posting — I’m getting more energy everyday to start blogging myself from you and the other unschooling/waldorf/enki moms, thank you.

  9. Annie says:

    Hey thanks everyone. When I first started blogging I don’t think I would have had the courage to share this with the world. It’s freeing to just get it out.

    Ella- I’ll have to check out that book!

  10. Dawn Suzette says:

    I am just catching up on things Annie. This post is so touching. I recently had a conversation with my MIL about how we are raised and the choices we make as adults. It is so amazing to me how the people we choose to surround ourselves with have such an impact on our life. Meeting my husband opened my mind to so many possibilities… Such good things in life!

  11. debbie says:

    Oh this was so nice to read, Annie. I seem to “wake up” every few years and open a little wider to what life is offering up…I’m glad you shared this with us.

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