I'm disappointed I don't get to travel anymore and am restricted to school holidays with my job as a Teaching Assistant.
I'm disappointed I don't get to work on the major golf events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi since we moved back to the UK.
I'm disappointed I can't go on safari for the day or pop to a local nature reserve for a cup of tea since we left South Africa.
But.....I was disappointed for all those years that I didn't have the freedom to work or to visit see my family as and when I chose.
So is it disappointment I've been dealing with or just a set of circumstances that led me down a path of new experiences and opportunities and adventures?
Did I make the most of our time as expats living abroad? Or did I spend the whole time feeling disappointed that I'd lost my career working for The Football Association, that I gave up my degree just as I was coming towards the end of it, that I couldn't see my family, that my life had changed beyond all recognition?
At the time, part of the above was true. I felt cheated, but I also threw myself into every opportunity I was offered.
I got to meet some of the most amazing people when I lived in South Africa, now life long friends and yes I am disappointed that I don't get to see them as often as I'd like (It's been 4 years, blame covid) I had some of the most amazing experiences whilst living in South Africa, experiences one could never have from a holiday there. From charity work in townships, to seeing the Big 5, meeting Witch Doctors, Whale watching, catching a train from Jo'burg to Cape Town, seeing the Namaqua flowers.
Then moving to Dubai where I had the opportunity to solo travel to Canada, Australia (where child 3 moved to) Germany, regular visits to South Africa and frequent visits to the UK where we purchased a flat for me to stay in to spend more time with the family as we welcomed our first grandchild. We had holidays to Greece, Egypt, Hong Kong, Northern Ireland (where child 4 moved to) as well as luxury hotel stays in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and staying in many places around the UK. We were present at weddings, funerals, last day of school, passing out parades, births. I made it back to spend precious time with my father before he died.
I've returned to work now as a Teaching Assistant, I love my job. Some days I'm disappointed that I no longer have a career, some days I feel bored that I have nothing to challenge me, then I remember how much time I have now for us, for the family, for friends and the long holidays for us to go away, to spend the summers in Australia with child 3, the half terms in Northern Ireland with our Grandson and the weekends with child 1 and child 2 and our grandchild. We can have our mums to stay, be around to help them as they get older with hospital appointments, take them shopping, help them with jobs around their homes, just go for coffee, just spend precious time with them.
I still get to work on the golf, The British Masters and the PGA Championships, just in the UK. I also volunteered in the athletes village at The Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022
Is it disappointment or just never being satisfied with what we've got now? Is it about always looking back to the past?
I remember when we first moved to South Africa we met a couple at the golf club that everyone referred to as the 'when we's' 'When we lived in........' 'When we .........'
Maybe we're now the 'when we's'
I hope I'm not dealing with disappointment, I think it's just life. It's natural to look back at what we've achieved, where we've been and how we've grown and to build on it for the future. I'm sure there will be more disappointments in the form of missed opportunities, turning left instead of right and only natural to wonder what would have happened if we'd turned the other way.