It was 2016. I was just in the process of completing my law degree but I wasn’t feeling well. A visit to the Dr resulted in a string of tests that identified that my body wasn’t producing enough platelets. What we had to figure out was why?
Weeks felt like months as the Dr was carrying out tests to my bone marrow – and my brain was going haywire. We all know that you shouldn’t turn to Dr Google under such circumstances but it was hard not to. Why is my bone marrow not producing enough platelets I asked? What I was reading gave me a very real feeling that my life could be under threat, and I cuddled my daughter to sleep with tears streaming down my face, praying that I could do that as long as she needed me to.
During this period of contemplation I was so full of fear; I was so sick with worry that my time with my daughter would be reduced. I love(d) her so much and I could not bare the thought of leaving, as I’m sure no parent can… I did not care too much for ambition, the degree suddenly seemed worthless, all I wanted was to be with my daughter, every possible minute of every day. I did not want to miss a cuddle, a tear, a moment of her amazing life.
Finally the news came, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), not great, but not what I feared, and I now had distinct clarity that I would work whenever I could when my daughter was asleep, or in school, but that every other moment was far too precious and the future was so uncertain that I did not want to get caught up in a corporate career, to make us excessively well off, with the high price that I would miss the most important thing in the world to be alive for. So with a very mild shadow over my life I fight for every moment with my child. And I fight to work hard every moment that she is otherwise engaged. It won’t be long before she no longer requires my attention. And whilst I want to be ‘present’ for her, I also do not want her to struggle, and so I fight, and do all that I can do, without, needing to leave her for too long to do it. .
I will take the occasional early morning, and attend the occasional exhibition, naturally, there needs to be a little give; she is already enjoying more time with her friends and the prospect of a playdate so that mummy can come home late excites her, but that is all it will be for now. I do not regret a single moment that I have struggled to spend time with her. I will never regret spending time with my daughter instead of being wealthier sooner. Health is such a precious thing. Life can be stolen at a moments notice, and experiencing the reality of a health-scare really helps you to put ambition into perspective. It’s great to be ambitious, but not if it makes you lose sight of what really matters. I was going to quit the idea of law altogether, as I had decided that nothing was worth leaving her for, but then I decided to look for part-time legal work, and I ran a FB campaign which paid off, you have to be instrumental in making your work-life work for you, it won’t knock on your door (unless you are connected by privilege) – you have to go and find it.
I celebrate the movement towards work life in sync with school life / flexible working / part-time working, and I always promote the companies that make that possible, as long as it is for a decent wage too. Wages have not risen in line with true inflation, and the Gov aren’t really dealing with this as they have no first hand experience of it and employers are reluctant to make changes because it is their profits, and so the responsibility is with us, the workforce, to say that ‘I will help you run your business, but you will need to adequately remunerate me, and if you can’t see this then I will have no choice but to work for myself’. The onus is on us, to say what is no longer acceptable, until eventually people will have to come before profits.
Every person should be able to earn £2K per month for 25hours per week, at least. That would be in-line with property and bills inflation.
Life is short, treat as you like to be treated, and treasure every precious moment, as we never know when that moment will be our last x