To paraphrase The Rolling Stones, you can ask for what you want, but you can’t control exactly how what you have asked for will be given to you.
So here I am, at last, finally, an independent adult. Not beholden to my mother.
My mother gave me quite a bit of financial help with buying my house. She also bought a woodburner for the house. So I felt bad about wanting to give up my stressful career, sell up, downsize, go travelling, and return to live somewhere smaller, cheaper, simpler and with lower overheads so I could do a less stressful job. It didn’t feel like it was solely up to me in the way that it would have been had I always been totally financially independent.
So it was with trepidation that I raised it with her and it took me a few conversations before I was able to clearly articulate what it was I wanted to do and stick to it.
The first time I brought up the subject of selling the house, I offered to give her her money back. She said no, she didn’t want it. She actually said she didn’t want me selling the house to raise money for travelling, she would give me money instead, as a kind of advance on my inheritance.
I said I didn’t want her to do that, that I had had enough money already, but she was very forceful. With my mother, large sums of money can be talked about as if they were nothing, and without really talking about it.
So I went off agreeing to consider renting out the house instead, even though that wasn’t what I wanted to do, and she never actually mentioned the idea of giving me travelling money again.
So again I plucked up the courage to say I was selling the house, in order to raise money for travelling, and because I didn’t want to be a landlord for a property in the UK whilst I was in India.
My mother insisted that we could do the trip on the rental income alone, but even if there were no gaps in tenants and no problems like non payment or ruined carpets, I knew we couldn’t. Plus it was never just about going travelling, it was a whole life re-set that I wanted.
Time went by, the house went on the market in December, and completed early March. Although I knew she wasn’t happy about me selling the house, I had thought she had accepted it. I popped in for cups of tea, she asked a few polite questions about our travel plans and gave me a rucksack.
And then at 10:06 on Monday, after I had texted her to let her know we had booked our flights and were leaving for our year long trip to India the following Monday, she called and asked for her money back.
One of the many lessons of all this is to communicate one’s feelings and expectations clearly and openly, especially when it comes to money. But I am sure I am not the only person who has difficulties in this area, especially when dealing with a very powerful family member.
So here I am, at last, finally, an independent adult. Not beholden to my mother. Not living near my mother (India aside, the boat is three hours away). Completely free, even of her influence.
I used to feel boggy, awkward, inauthentic in her company. Unknown. Whereas with my husband I feel completely safe and totally accepted. Known.
It shouldn’t be a competition or a choice but my mother has made her disapproval of my husband clear. He, who has made me so happy, who makes me so happy. The implication being that he is after my money (when we met I had a small starter home with a mortgage, he had a narrowboat, we both worked full time, both worked really hard, both fulfilled financial responsibilities to our children. I also very much resent the implication that no one could love me just for myself).
Our friends observe that we make each other very, very happy. We share the same values. We have supported each other with everything for almost a decade.
In the middle of this bombshell, my friend H, a lovely ray of sunshine, came to stay on the boat for the night. It was just what we needed, and distracted us through the worst. After H left, we went into Northampton, found somewhere to eat using the Happy Cow app, over ordered from a delicious range of yummy vegan food and treats, and caught our breath.
In spite of everything, I felt relieved, even happy. We both began to see it as a potentially positive event in our lives.
Maybe we needed it to be just us, so that we can find out just what we’re capable of.
I thought it meant unruffled, calm and philosophical.
We looked it up, actually it means optimistic and positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation. Better, more ‘evolved’ than I realised. I asked us, can we move from calm and philosophical to cheerful and optimistic?
I regard us as being in the middle of the continuum. If at one end is me coming back from India and being able to say to my mother, Wow, what was all that about, can we talk about it?
Then at the other end is as my husband said, some people would beg and plead, What have I done, why, why. Or get angry, refuse to give the money back. Or cry. Well that’s good, I said, and laughed, because I am definitely not doing any of those things.
So yes, maybe we are currently somewhere in the middle, and if we can move from my definition to the dictionary definition of sanguine, then I shall be very pleased.
Oh yes and by the way, we are flying to India on Monday!
Mera naam Rachel hai
Aapase milakar khushee huee
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Thank you for reading.
PS I have had very limited internet access since moving onto the boat and lots of travel related admin to do when I have, so I haven’t been reading many blogs. I have still been thinking of you all though, and I wish my fellow bloggers and readers well. Thank you for all your support xxx