Posted by: Admin | May 7, 2011

The Saturday Interview 16 – Jayne

Teaching Assistant Jayne is approaching her big 5-0 next month with some trepidation.

“I don’t like change,” she tells me when we meet in a local park, “but I know I have to make changes if I’m going to move on with my life.”

Married for 28 years, her husband’s ill-health means that Jayne is now the family breadwinner. Coupled with the emptying of her nest and the strain of dealing with his illness, Jayne is moving into her fifties feeling more than a little battered.

“It’s quite scary, having to struggle,” she admits, “I’ve been very lucky in my life and haven’t really had to worry about finances and so on before.”

Why are we women so hard on ourselves? I wonder aloud. Listening to Jayne listing the events of the past couple of years, as an outsider I can see why she’s feeling so unsettled. Sometimes, it isn’t until we stop and take stock that we realise just how much we are having to contend with – and, contrary to how we might be feeling, how well we are actually coping. Jayne finds comfort in her faith and enjoys playing the cornet in the local brass band.

Nevertheless, it’s little wonder that Jayne is feeling restless and unsure of the future. Her husband, who is eight years her senior, is facing his own challenges and her children, aged 23 and 20, are now independent. Is it too much to wish for a little excitement in one’s life?

“I’m going on holiday with my daughter to the Isle of Wight,” she ventures. And? “I’d rather lie in the sun in Spain,” she admits a little sheepishly.

As we take the photographs, I get a glimpse of the sunny, fun loving character that Jayne feels is being smothered and I have a feeling it won’t be long before she bounces back. Sure enough, when I send her the photographs a few days later I receive the following message:

You have made me feel really good about myself, thank you! I think I am ready now to embrace this great event in my life. I don’t feel fat and frumpy any more and think that I should look on it as a new journey. (Like we said really, I suppose.) A time to do things for me, not my husband or my children but for me. I won’t be doing anything life changing, (that much I have decided) just carrying on as normal but with me in mind. I have to look forward to the next 20 years not dread them as I was doing.

I’ve put Jayne into the Gallery and, if I can find sponsorship for the This is 50! book of portraits, I’m going to ask her to pose with her cornet – I think she deserves a fanfare, even if she has to play it for herself!


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