I could have guaranteed that by the age of twenty one, I would have graduated from university, would (hopefully) have a job that would be starting my career and I wouldn’t have been living at home. None of that has happened. I’m still studying for my degree, I have a part-time job to support me through my studies and I am still living at home. Pretty much the opposite of my plan but life got in the way.
I had never even considered not going to a conventional university. It had always been the goal but when it actually came to it, there were simply too many factors going against it. The main being that my dad was seriously ill at the time. I decided to withdraw from the University of Lincoln and take a gap year. I stayed living at home with my mum and I got a job. It was only when one of my mum’s friends suggested the Open University that I realised that this could be the ideal solution. So, in the summer of 2013, I enrolled for my degree in English Literature with the Open University and opted for an introductory year studying a module called ‘People, Work and Society’. And it worked for me. The flexibility, the opportunities and the cost were even more enticing!
I have stayed working with the recruitment agency that I joined during my gap year and it’s slotted in perfectly with my studies. Plus, I’m gaining invaluable experience in a professional setting that will stand me in good stead when I’ve finished studying.
As I said earlier, life tends to get in the way. And oh boy, has it gotten in the way. Over Christmas 2013, my dad was in hospital in a high dependency unit and his body was shutting down. His kidneys, liver and pancreas were failing, his heart problems got worse, he had a septic infection, his went into respiratory failure and he then suffered from double pneumonia. The day before Christmas Eve, he was given the Last Rites and we were told to say goodbye. Somehow (and every doctor I’ve spoken to since has told me how astounded they are), he pulled through. After months of hospital stays and residential homes, he was released. Due to his unstable physical health, mental issues and newly acquired Drop Foot (paralysis of the foot), he was in need of a carer. My mum being the amazing person she is, took him into our home and despite them being separated, helped him when he needed it most.
I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason. And If I had gone to the University of Lincoln as planned, I wouldn’t have been there for my dad when he was so poorly and it’s possible he could have died and I wouldn’t have had the chance to say goodbye.
What’s the point in me telling you all of this? Well, sharing is caring, and I think I’ve rambled on these past few months without you knowing a great deal about the real me. The events of the past few years have really shaped me as a person and made my life go in a completely different direction. Things have worked out for me though, better in fact. I’ve been given opportunities to do things I never would have before. I have a brilliant job and I’m studying a subject I really love. I have travelled solo to Italy to volunteer for a week. I’ve been able to see all my nephews on a regular basis. And, I’ve met some cracking people. Hell, I’ve even gotten to ride in a helicopter!
This isn’t how I thought my life would be but I can’t moan. I have my health, my family and prospects. Sure, it can be a tad lonely at times and, in comparison, I’m not the most social student but that’s not the end of the world. Things are definitely moving into place for me though and the wrinkles are finally starting to smooth out.
**edit** It’s funny. I wrote this post a week or two ago and then Adele released her new single Hello. As I was editing it today, I couldn’t help but feel the song was fitting. So, to play us out…