One of the suggestions in our 73 blog challenge, to write that number of posts from a list we partly found and partly created, is to write a letter to your younger self. I thought this would be quite straight forward, I would chose a moment of change when my world would tilt and become different and think of that person and write to her.
I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t do this, and I’m not sure why. I have had great moments in my life, tragic moments, I have had many wasted moments, and many times I’ve stepped out bravely or foolishly. I have had a lot of very funny things happen, and shared a lot of laughter with many friends. However, to pick on a particular ‘me’ to write too, schoolgirl, student, traveller, airport announcer, teacher, writer, daughter, wife or parent, has proved beyond me! There are key times in my life when a significant different opportunity (wisely or stupidly taken) presented itself.
I have had some unexpected achievements, where nothing I did warranted success which made it rather thrilling – for example, when at the age of ten I was made the school May Queen, even now I can’t imagine why I was chosen, but in retrospect I feel grateful and proud – at the time I was so excited, and determined to play the part the best I possibly could, and I don’t think I was particularly nervous, which was (and is) unlike me! I thought I had a photo, but can’t for the moment find it.
Another unexpected success which had a huge impact on my life, changed its direction in every way was going to Manchester. I had been twice times before, once to a weekend English conference for A-level students, once for an interview in the September before a degree course started and back home the same day, slightly stunned that I had been given a place at Manchester Polytechnic, and then the third time when I went up to begin a new life as a student at that Polytechnic.
There are different aspects to Manchester as a life-changer – the friends I met – people from completely different backgrounds to mine, the intellectual challenges which stretched my mind in new and different directions, being part of a wonderful bustling, vibrant, 24-hour a day open place where night time need not exist, being in the north as opposed to the south – it was like a flower opening and each petal something different from anything I had previously known.
I have always had a close family – there were only the four of us at home, my parents, my sister and me, but we were fortunate to have cousins and aunties and uncles who we have always been friends as well as relations. When I married and we had our children that did not change the closeness I felt to my wider family, but somehow – as is obvious and not unexpected, it changed me, I became another person – the same Lois but a different Lois.
Working life can create changes in someone’s personality, and I’m sure my experiences have affected me and effected change, however, I see me as a working person as just a different version of what I really was. What did change me, and unleashed a new world for me was when I stopped work and became a full-time writer. That really has had a tremendous, exciting, positive, fun, wonderful effect on me. Sometimes, often, it is hard, sometimes, often I don’t succeed as well as I want, and in fact sometimes I fail spectacularly – but with writing it’s a different sort of lack of success (I don’t mean being published or making money) but nothing in that failure was a waste of time, the failures have meaning and value too.
So, as headlines, or maybe chapter headings, here are my ‘moments:
- being chosen as May Queen
- going to Manchester
- having my own family
- becoming a writer