What I’ve learned about love, life and endurance

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By Ellen Fussell

I remember my spirit as a young child: my grandmother described me as “effervescent”, and I have no doubt that as a skinny, unassuming blonde girl of 8, I had limited worries.

While self-confidence may not have been boundless, my entire focus would have been soaking in the wonders of the world around me. This was when I learned about fun.

Only a few short years later my same grandmother pointed out that I had lost my spark. No doubt replaced by a sulky and moody teenager frustrated by the slow ticking of time. Challenged by boundaries that seemed pointless. This was when I learned about patience.

By my late teens I was full of a decent amount of of confidence and a dash of rebellion. But those big life milestones of love and loss combined with the challenges of educating myself had me doubting and questioning again. This is when I learned of passion and risk.

My early twenties were filled with adventures and many roads travelled. Often, when I would reach a junction in the road, instead of choosing a path I would turn around and retreat. This is when I learned that determination would help me travel far, if only I could work out where I was going.

I soon married my best friend and soul mate, we bought a house and a dog and played at being grown ups. We worked hard and slept in on weekends. I became a career woman by day and domestic goddess in my down-time. I learned about responsibility and the value of truth; and that a relationship was about give and take but, above all, required honesty.

By my late twenties I hit rock bottom. Becoming a mum shook me to the core. Suddenly I sacrificed the organised, smart and in-control career woman for a blubbery and leaking mess who never slept. You’d think this is when I learned truly of love, but that isn’t my story. This is when I learned of endurance.

I could endure for days without sleep. I could endure weeks of sickness, the mountains of washing, relentless crying and the sameness of each day. But I also learned of kindness. The impact that it had on me and others; that small gestures could turn around somebody’s day and that it rarely cost much, if anything at all.

It took me ten years to endure that phase. It hadn’t been a waste, just a journey. And over that time I had collected so many strengths. I was patient and kind. I had ambition and passion and was willing to take risks but still responsible. I had fun.

But the best part was I actually learned truly of love. I loved myself for the first time in my life and from that I found the truest love in my husband and the purest love as a mother. But because I loved myself, I realised what it was.

On reflection, I am not even half way there. I’m probably due another fork in my road. But with each step I take I hope I keep moving forward. And as I do, I bear in mind this line:

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” Ernest Hemingway.

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    • Rhonda
    • February 4th, 2017

    A great reflection from a strong, compassionate and mighty woman. Great things ahead for you Ellen!

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