Building my empire...

posted on: Wednesday, 2 April 2014

On a normal morning (for my mornings are all normal these days) I will drink a cuppa earl grey tea and look at Pinterest before every one else is up. There is always beauty and there are always quotes and really, there is all I need to start my day with thoughts of loveliness. BUT it can also feed the need to reconsider my empire. I look and I think: what am I doing today? What clothes should I wear? What will I achieve? (laundry) What is in my empire? And so on and so forth, dangerously close to the existential panic that is comparing ones life to others. The irony with Pinterest is that very few images are real, they are styled and beautified; and even though we all know this, we still covet relentlessly. Or at least I do. I don't think I am alone in that...

It strikes me that much of what has driven my behaviour in recent years has been fuelled by the need to build an empire. To make a life. Education followed by work, followed by home-buying, followed by marriage, followed by children. Archetypal modern woman? I even started my own small business when I had a creative urge. I blog and I think and I think and I blog. Round and round!

An example: I look at how I am parenting my daughter right now - as she pushes every boundary that exists in her near-teenage world and I really have to stop and reconsider on a daily basis. I even notify other fellow-mothers to do the same and then find myself not heeding my own advice. You see, part of building my empire is that it has all the necessary components and includes (and I can be honest here) beautiful, healthy, successful children. Are we deluding ourselves if we say that these things haven't crossed our minds? I (not so) secretly want life to look like a Pinterest board. I want her to do stuff and behave a certain way because it is somehow preordained in me that she should. And if she doesn't, I get frustrated. And then my so-called clever, cohesive parenting style goes out the window!

Real life gets in the way and the self-questioning starts! I jest; for we all know that when push comes to shove, the trappings of the beautiful and successful are not important. But somehow it's more human to disregard that key bit of knowledge about life and blithely wish for the perfect. Surely we all do it? Please say 'yes'...

Whilst we are sharing can I also say that my house, whilst on paper sounds like a rural idyll is in fact a complete mess??! Sadly my neat-freak tendencies have not rubbed off on any other member of my family and so I spend my days like some sort of Wile E Coyote spin trying to make everything look more lovely. I'd settle for just a little bit lovely - you know, clear floors not strewn with mismatched muddy shoes, counter tops not smeared with spilt sauce. Rogue, dried up baked beans under the cupboards. I can even admit: mouse droppings in my utility. Old farm houses are rife with problems and mice seem to be one of them. I hear them at night in my attic...tippy tap tap dancing like there's a party up there. At least someone in the house is partying ;-)

from Christina Strutt's book 'Living Life Beautifully'
What I also notice about these First World problems is that they come back perennially, even though we try to put them to one side and refocus on other more important matters.

Is there a way to keep focus on what is important? Is there a trick I need to learn? I am sure that being less serious in life may be one approach. Looking on the bright side? Chilling out? Not thinking too much? I seems to me that to live your life with any ambition, in whatever form it comes, leads to priority-confusion. I mistook career ambition as the most compelling kind, but I see that mother-and-child-ambition is in the mix as well. Not to mention ambition for status or beauty or wealth.

Time to take stock and decide one way or another what it all means. Ultimately I have to revert to what is important to me and try to keep hold of that day to day. Good luck!


  1. Yes, Lou...we all do it!!! It's just getting it all in some sort of perspective that is so difficult at times...and I'm sure that's something we all share...don't you?
    B R E A T H E xx

  2. I so enjoy reading your blog. You have quite a way with words. (and the photos are always beautiful) - a u.s. reader

  3. Such beautifully written reflections Lou and so true. You're definitely not alone in these feelings - to have ambition for all areas of life to be right and good must surely be on the list of only human traits? Sometimes I catch myself thinking "If only this 'inset whatever bit is bugging me now' would be right then everything else will fall into place?" but ultimately I think life has a way of pulling us back to priorities in its own funny way. xxx


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