My Mum always says that I first announced I’d be going to university when I was 3. There was never any doubt cast over my ambitions and, throwing all modesty aside, I did really well in school topping my class throughout my entire school journey. When I started getting bullied in Year 4, being ‘clever’ was the one thing they couldn’t take away from me and even with all of those troubles, begging my Mum to let me stay at home every day, crying in the toilets and stuffing my face with ALL of the comfort food, I managed to come away from school in Year 11 with the GCSE results I wanted — and deserved.
In February 2007 we’d moved from Middlesbrough to Manchester so I spent my last few months of school on an extended study leave, returning for my exams only. In August, I enrolled at the local college and by the end of the first week, I’d established a small friendship group with a couple of other people from my form. The next year or so, admittedly, wasn’t my best academically but looking back, I think it was what I needed emotionally to move on from what had happened. I skipped a few classes, went drinking with my new friends and made some awesome memories. I put my friendships before my studies and I hardly regret it at all. In that moment, I needed friends more than I needed to maintain my academic record.
At Christmas, I got my first seasonal job to get hold of some extra cash (drinks are expensive!) at the local ASDA (which I now live round the corner from). The next year, in the summer holidays between my first and second years of college, they upped my hours and, without going all mushy on you, I secretly fell in love with my manager who plucked up the courage to ask me if I’d go out with him at 2.a.m (via text) on 17th August 2008. I was 17, he was 18 and about 2 weeks later I was moving in to his flat with him. For now, my second year of college was out of the window and all I could see was our life together. I always assumed it was something I could go back and do later if I wanted to, but I never did.
I think people were dubious about us being so young but, saying that, he did ask my Mum’s permission if I could move in and she agreed. She must’ve seen something in him or us that made her comfortable with the situation or perhaps she just wanted me to live my own life and make my own mistakes?
She’d always insisted that love was the most important thing in the world. She taught me that ‘the only thing you get to keep is what you give away’ and that people were more important than money or status. She was a romantic and a dreamer and I think she passed that on to me as well.
Between 2012-2015, whilst working in conveyancing, I obtained my CILEX qualifications so I could practice law and then, in the same year, I became a mother and handed in my notice at the end of my maternity leave so we could move back up North having spent a few years down South. Typical, but I still have those exams under my belt. I loved my job and everything to do with the conveyancing process but will I ever fee earn? I don’t think so.
I did well in my job. I was driven, determined and I could run a case without much intervention from anybody else but things change according to circumstance and naturally, it was time to move on.
Today, I’ve managed to build a business of my own around Lily so I can stay at home with her (childcare is so expensive as well isn’t it?) but it isn’t easy and I rarely find a moment for myself. I won’t say that I don’t thrive on what I do because I enjoy it thoroughly. I just wish I could have some time of my own, you know?
If you wondering what happened to that guy who I moved in with all those years ago then I’ll tell you this. He’s upstairs snoring his head off whilst our 2 year old daughter lays on his chest watching Paw Patrol. In less than a week, we’ll celebrate our 9-year anniversary and I wouldn’t change anything about all of those years that’ve rolled by, they’ve been amazing in every way.
Life isn’t the straight line you think it’s going to be but that’s OK. Everything has a way of working out for the best in the end, even if you don’t see it straightaway. I knew in my heart that I’d made the right decision to put love before my career ambitions all of those years ago and, as somebody who had never let anything get in the way of her education and decisions before, it must’ve taken something pretty powerful to sway me so easily.
I was taught to put love first, so I did. Would you?
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