I journeyed into London recently to meet with colleagues to discuss the future of whatever career I have left. I won’t dwell on that for now, but what I do want to share is simply the experience of my trip into the city and the memories it brought back.
I dropped the kids with their grandparents and headed off to Wembley Central station. In previous years, climbing the stairs behind Iceland and now the Tesco Metro, was something that I would dread, I would be met with vile smells of urine left from the drunken squalor the night before. It isn’t as daunting anymore, don’t get me wrong, the area is still grimy but at least you can breathe through your nose whilst walking towards the station. I made my way to the ticket barriers and it’s the little things like touching in with your debit card that threw me off. I went to top it up my Oyster card and remembered I didn’t need to. I thought, ‘Where had I been during all this change? And ‘What else have I missed?’
Whilst on the train towards Euston, I tried to absorb the moment of being ‘sans bebe’. I carried a handbag and not a nappy bag and I wore proper shoes for the first time in ages and not Birkenstocks! I looked reasonably smart, I’m still not able to fit into my pre-children clothes but hey you can’t have everything. Even though, I travelled on my own, I could’ve easily slipped into old habits by plugging my earphones into my phone to listen to my music, but I didn’t. I wanted to feel the buzz of life outside mine. I was conscious of myself and after two years of being thrown into life with babies, I wanted to be conscious of my surroundings that didn’t involve children.
I noticed the changes in fashion and the overall demeanour of the younger ones. A young twenty something girl caught my eye. She was very pretty and she looked very busy. She was typing something on her laptop, her phone kept ringing and she seemed to be working incredibly hard. As I’m sure most women do, I admired her shoes, they probably weren’t sending her into a slow death as mine were. (On a side note, did you know after babies – your feet can change shape?! And that’s forever! Didn’t know that? Well, now there’s something to think about…) I assumed that she was a carefree working woman and I instantly created a picture of who she was based on what she looked like and what she was doing at the time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this, as we’re all guilty of creating make-believe ideas of who an individual is based on their appearance. I realised what I was doing. I was simply feeling nostalgic, I was once living life as a carefree young, reasonably attractive (if I say so myself) twenty something woman, where the only issue of the time would’ve been “what are we having for dinner tonight?” or “Where are we drinking tonight?” ‘Incredible’, I thought. How time has flown and in these twenty minutes of thought and self-reflection, I arrived at Euston station.
To get to the Psychology campus of the University of Westminster, you have to pass University College London Hospital and boy did this bring back some memories. It was actually the first time in two years that I was anywhere near the vicinity of the hospital without being pregnant. I even recalled the discomfort that I felt whilst being heavily pregnant as I walked. This was the very same route I had to take to attend my antenatal clinics. I reminisced on the birth of Reeyan and the heartache it brought as we made the very same, daily journey to the hospital for two weeks to sit by his side in neonatal care. I giggled to myself at the memory of Roy taking cheeky photos of us before the elective section with the birth of Leela. Euston, is very close to my heart.
The walk to the university wasn’t as eventful, neither was the visit. Once that was all done, I couldn’t walk fast enough back to the station. I couldn’t wait to see the kids. Life outside mine, has changed, people are much younger, I don’t like to say I’m any older. I just come with a little added experience that’s all…..