This post is less about food and more about lifestyle. I had a contemplative moment and realised that it’s easy to forget our past. When the grass is green, you’re surrounded by friends and you feel a sense of self and settledness, it’s easy to forget a time without the things you love, and sometimes take for granted.
My twenty-four year old self is happy and incredibly blessed. I don’t just have a job, I have a career. I’m engaged to the loveliest, sexiest man I know. We live in a nice apartment. We eat delicious food and drink good wine (and gin). We have truly lovely and wonderful friends. Yes, we’re a bit skint and wish we could buy a house and book our wedding, but how many twenty-something’s can afford all that stuff these days anyways? We have it all. And I forget the days when I had nothing. It feels so long ago.
Mum struggled for money. She was a single Mum who only lived off the state when she needed to. Her illnesses meant that she had to have time off work sometimes, but when she could she worked and worked hard. Not like some people these days who get away with doing jack-all. She used to do the big shop on a Friday after school at Kwik Save and Farmfoods, before getting a bus home and carrying it up a big hill. It was a struggle. But I forget that.
When she died I had nothing but the contents of a bedroom. I didn’t even have anywhere to live at first. Eating nice food and drinking nice wine were at the bottom of my to-do list. Survival and sanity were my primary focus. At one point I went through a phase of having crackers and cheese for tea from Netto, and pasta when I could, because I was skint. I’d forgo nutrients and a good meal when needed to make sure I could get to work and have some sort of a life. Mad really. Now, even though we have a food budget, it’s very generous, and I wouldn’t dream of skipping a full meal to pay for something else. I forget those days – it’s like that wasn’t even me.
I’ve been skint, homeless, lonely and struggled to make ends meet. Yet when I’m at home in our apartment, sat reading a book with the free headspace I’ve recently acquired, or watching a film on my Mac or taking pictures with my Nikon, or texting friends on my iPhone or serving dinner to our best friends at our own table, with our own crockery and cutlery and wine glasses filled, with wine we bought with our own hard earned money, I totally forget everything.
Is it because it no longer defines who I am? Or because it’s so ingrained in my personality that I don’t even need to acknowledge it anymore? I don’t know.
What I can tell you is that every now and again it’s good to remember. Not to wallow or feel sorry for myself, but to simply remember, so I can somehow comprehend just how lucky I am today.
Hayley Jayne xx