Left adrift, but found our way

sailboat

Looking back at my childhood through my mid 20s, I suppose one could say that compared to other youth, I was mostly left adrift. I think my siblings were, as well. My parents were the opposite of “helicopter parents” in that they did not control our every move. In fact, they did not control much of what we did. They provided us with a nice home, and good food to eat. They took us on weekend and other excursions. They did teach us right from wrong, but beyond that we had a certain freedom that many other children our ages didn’t seem to have.

Though my parents demanded we attend school and demanded we come home for dinner and at a certain time to sleep, all other times were ours to spend however we wanted, and wherever we wanted. I rarely remember either of them asking where we were going, even when we were as young as five years old. That would seem unheard of in this day and age. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, we had no cell phones, obviously. Even if we were near phones, we never called, unless asking to sleep over or eat at a friend’s house, and they were pretty easy going about that.

I remember sitting with my sister and brother discussing this freedom. Expressing gratitude for it, because of how it made us mostly fearless, free, and independent, but we also had a couple of complaints. One was that our parents never helped with homework or even asked us about homework. Or if they did, it was rare. At some ages none of us even chose to do homework. We were average (or even poor) students at times, mostly in our early education. Not because we weren’t intelligent, but because we were distracted by other things, and in my words “thought homework was optional”. Later down the line neither parent suggested any course of study or career plan. We chose them ourselves. Yes, I suppose that is nicer than the latter, but then again some guidance could have been helpful.

My sister and brother and I have always been hard-working types. Even though we weren’t always great students as kids, we excelled when we really had to, or at what we really wanted to excel at later down the line, and we did it on our own accord. My brother had issues in early school, but turned out to be the computer whiz of the high school and eventually caught up with studies at a community college. Then he went on to the navy and excelled there. He knew it was time. He learned many skills, and taught them, and supervised myriads of men under him. He ended up retiring young, and recently returned to work as an electrician, pretty much as his own boss for the most part.

My sister decided she would do administrative work towards the end of her high school days. She finally applied herself and learned the skills she needed. She started entry level at a good company, and over the years worked her way up the ladder to a great job making very good money. She pretty much runs her home and raised her kids. She’s done so under adversity, and even despite her own struggles. I’m very impressed with how she has taken great initiatives over the years, and is a symbol of strength. She will also likely retire early. I hope she treasures that time doing things she really enjoys.

I suppose I showed more initiative towards things at a younger age than my siblings. I became very serious about ballet, starting at 8 years old. I was even invited to audition at one of the best ballet schools in the United States. Unfortunately, that was not to be (at least at the best school), and though my parents only reluctantly supported my ballet, they did more forcefully encourage me to quit. I had a bit of a mental crisis at the time. One I had little support getting over. I was able to change to a great private high school (at the public school’s suggestion), and there I excelled. Without any significant encouragement from my parents I applied myself to my studies. I even graduated towards the very top of my class. I was the first in my family (besides one uncle) to go university. I also excelled there, and afterwards in my work career.

My mother died before the worst of my mental illness struck. Luckily, however, I married a very supportive and loving man. Other than my husband, I had little support, cheer leading and encouragement from the rest of my family. It was at that time that I could have used “a village” of support. But I am gaining back strength, and am slowly resuming my ability to be my own motivator, but it is hard. My mental healthcare support team and my husband, worry about my mental wellness. I understand their concerns, but I think it will ultimately be my responsibility to take the big steps forward and solidly stand on my own two feet. I should know how to do that. Right now I am a little adrift again, but know I can someday steer my sailboat of life in the right directions again. I guess self-steering is ultimately better than being pulled like a barge.

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22 thoughts on “Left adrift, but found our way

    • updownflight May 22, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Thank you, Hussein Allam, for your frequent kind words. And thank you for being you, too. I am so glad we follow each others’ blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hussein Allam May 22, 2017 / 7:51 pm

        The struggling that you encountered is so hard, but I believe these things will vanish, it will not stay forever, you are such strong woman by overcoming on all of these matters , keep it up! Updownflight🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight May 22, 2017 / 8:47 pm

        Thank you, Hussein Allam. I am confident that things will get better, too. I’m gaining good strength every year that I am well. I look forward to coming decades.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hussein Allam May 22, 2017 / 9:49 pm

        You act positively in each step the way you go forward. and that’s very amazing. Hope you can reach the point you need. Warm regards, uodownflight!🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Covert Novelist May 22, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Not sure if I’m correct, but isn’t “knowing” half the battle? You know what you are up against, the uphill battle may continue until you reach the end of that journey, but knowing lessens the burden. It is most encouraging that you have support to assist you on your personal journey. Your worth the effort! Never forget that! You deserve this and more! I think you are a brave strong woman capable of anything you set your mind to. You go girl! wink wink

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 22, 2017 / 8:55 pm

      I know that you are right, Covert Novelist. I do know what my barriers are, and luckily at this stage of my life I have the tools to fight them. It will just take a little bit more time, but I’m going to keep chugging along.

      Thank you for your support. I love encouragement wherever I can get it. I have given up on receiving it from my dad, but I am lucky to have other great people who cheer me on.

      Like

      • Covert Novelist May 22, 2017 / 9:01 pm

        You are a dear heart! I have known many suffering with this issue and I WANT YOU TO WIN! I’ve lost too many who weren’t strong enough to fight! to stand up and SCREAM at the top of their lungs, I’M WORTH IT! I AM WORTHY! I AM ME!

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight May 22, 2017 / 9:10 pm

        I want to win, too. I do think I’m worthy, though there were times when I just thought I was incapable because of my illness. I’m still limping a little bit (figuratively), but I can move forward and that’s the direction my nose is pointed.

        There was a time when I grieved the old “me” from before my mental breakdown, and all of the sedating medications I take. Now I know the difference between the old and new me and the illness. Some people with bipolar disorder don’t, at least according to them. I am obviously a little different than when I was 32 years old. I’m now a middle-aged woman with a lot of knowledge and experience under her belt.

        I think I like the middle-aged version of me a lot. I’ve grown more sympathetic, open-minded, and grounded than ever. I think that’s good, and will hopefully serve me well in the years to come.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Typo May 23, 2017 / 4:09 am

    I love this piece. My dad was more hands off while my mom was the helicopter, I don’t think there’s a correct way to parent to be honest. They’re also learning as they go. My siblings and I struggled to find the balance between approaching life like our parents. My sister and I were extremes, she was very disciplined while I ran with things and hoped for the best.

    Great piece! Keep writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 23, 2017 / 10:40 am

      Thank you for sharing about your parents, Typo. And thanks for the kind words.

      Like

  3. manicmagicalmomming May 23, 2017 / 4:22 am

    This was a great read, and really got me thinking about my own upbringing. My mom was somewhere in the middle. I’ve always thought that I’d have done better in school had she been more hands on in that area. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 23, 2017 / 10:42 am

      Thanks, manicmagicalmomming. I’m happy if my post helped you think about your own upbringing. I’ll never be a mother, but certainly I would have tried to find a balance if I ever did.

      Like

  4. bipolarsojourner May 23, 2017 / 5:54 am

    i could a swore you were writing about my family. the similarities are shocking, from the freedom to the demands. we threw in another demand of going to church every sunday.

    freedom has not served me well, yasee, freedom gave me independence. with independence i learned to not ask for help. not asking for help taken to the extreme lead to isolation. isolation goes hand and hand with my depression.

    i wish my parents taught a little less freedom and a little more reliance. then, the thought of asking for help wouldn’t be such a scary proposition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 23, 2017 / 10:46 am

      You make really good points, bipolarsojourner. I also think the slight excess independence my parents gave my siblings and I made us not ask for help, too. I didn’t think of that, but wow! That is such a great point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bipolarsojourner May 24, 2017 / 12:03 am

        unfortunately, i realized that fact far to long ago. know what? i still struggle with over-independence-asking for help. hey- wanna help me? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight May 24, 2017 / 2:22 am

        I’d be happy to help as I can, bipolarsojourner. I now have to work on gaining my independence back again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • bipolarsojourner May 24, 2017 / 3:36 am

        thank you. i can do a pretty good after many years of trial and error. it’s only when things go hard right. that over independence kicks in.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. xKickz May 23, 2017 / 6:43 am

    Thanks for sharing! It reminded me of my own childhood how each one of my siblings excelled in different aspects of life. As for the sailboat, a friendly reminder that the sea at times can be filled with overcast and rough waters. As dori from finding Nemo would say “Just keep swimming”. The waters will calm and blue sky will once again appear =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 23, 2017 / 10:48 am

      Thank you for contributing to this post, xKickz. I have really enjoyed hearing from others on this topic. Your friendly reminder is important to hear.

      Like

  6. Laura May 23, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    This is such an amazing heartfelt post. I appreciate your honesty and openness. You are an inspiration to any and I have no doubt you will succeed in anything you desire. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 24, 2017 / 2:21 am

      Thanks, Laura, for the kind encouragement and words. I know my time to succeed again will come. Hopefully soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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