I finally bit the bullet recently and wrote my will and struggled with who I could leave my (very limited) worldly possessions to. We have no children, no obvious recipients and I will be honest, it made me sad. But would I change anything about my life? Silly question, I can’t.
At the age of 53 I seem to have finally reached that fabulous point in my life when I am no longer asked if I have children. During my 30s and 40s I developed a stock answer of “No, we would have liked them, but it just never happened for us,” which seemed to satisfy folk. Neither awkwardly emotional nor admitting I may not actually want little people in my life, which many still find strange.
In reality I was a little indifferent. If it happened, fine, if not, well it was not to be and I could get on with my life quite happily. I think there was a part of me that was not confident I could raise a child, and a more honest part of me that felt like it was a lot of work when I had other things I wanted to do … not that you admit that in polite company. Now as I look back at my life, through the fog of menopausal hormones I still have conflicting feelings about it.
My life has been shaped by the experiences I have had. My husband served in the army, and as a result has had periods of quite dramatic mental ill health. I was able to be by his side with undivided love and support, something that would not have been easy with young children. As ever, we look for the positive, and from that came a charity that we set up supporting other veterans using horticultural therapy, many of whom found jobs, saved their marriages and in some cases, their lives, through their time with us. Would I have set that up if I had children to look after? Probably not.
Now I run a small social enterprise, supporting people living with dementia, again via horticultural therapy. The highlight of that has been exhibiting a small garden at the RHS Tatton Flower Show, celebrating the unique relationship between those living with dementia and their loved ones. This has raised a whole new set of thoughts in my head. Who will look after me when I am older? I remember as a young girl the whole family experience, I had cousins, aunties, uncles, all of whom were part of my day-to-day life. My grandparents all had a host of visitors to spend time with them, cut the lawn, fix that tap and generally love them. I won’t have that.
But that’s the future – for now I am absolutely enjoying everything about my life, loving new challenges, still learning so many new things, and the future will take care of itself. I am not wasting any time looking forward or back, I will miss out on now if I do.
You can find out all about the work I do with Rosemary and Time by visiting our website www.rosemaryandtimecic.org