The Choices We Make


I try and make active choices each week as to what to write about. Rather than it just being my end of week ramblings.  This week, it’s a ‘hubby away, let’s revisit the midlife crisis’ inspired post. And it’s a books inspired post as well (no surprise there really… but it’s ok – we’re got a change from Brené this time… although… to be honest they are linked…). It’s got flavours of the election going on, with some day to day Shanghai-nese texture too… Let’s hope it mixes well.

So, with the election in mind, and to feed our ‘America hungry’ little girl’s soul something good, we sat at the weekend and read Barack Obama’s ‘Of Thee I Sing’ book with her – which I got for her not long after she was born. It sang to her, she lapped it up – and I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed more, explaining to someone about who wrote the book, and what the importance of the message was.  POTUS made a choice to write a children’s book. To inspire. To move his daughter’s towards the possibility of greatness.  Well, it’s not like I didn’t love him anyway – and the equally inspiring FLOTUS – but as I head to bed tonight, I think of the choices being made across the US today, and I hope people make the right one. Because I know who I want inspiring my little American, and… I’m with her


Personal Choices

So, a large part of my mid-life crisis has been about me making active choices in what I do and don’t want to do, and be, anymore. And the biggest thing I don’t want to be anymore is tired. But, everyone’s tired, right? Well, after much reading (too late into the night) and thinking, I’ve come to the earth shattering conclusion that I should just go to bed earlier.  And so, you will note (of course, as you are regular readers of this… and I know you just sit around waiting for it to pop up…) that this week’s blog is ‘late’. Well, hell, yes it is.  As this week, with hubby away, I have made the choice to go to bed. To give myself the best chance of not being a tired, grumpy solo parent each morning.  This way, I just get to be plain old grumpy…

Shanghai Choices

Shanghai is a big city.  And getting across it can take a long time, so there usually has to be a pretty good reason to go somewhere out of the ordinary, late on a weekend evening, keeping the kids up etc… Well, fireworks night provided the opportunity for one of those choices to be made, and I am so glad we did.  Yes, it too AGES to get across the city to one of the other International Schools that was hosting a Fireworks display (and the journey and location completely validated our ‘non-choice’ choice of Dulwich– but it was SO worth it for the 15 minutes of pure joy, standing there, eating waffles with Nutella, with the kids, and the hubby, and a great random bunch of Dulwich Fireworks Hunters – oohing and ahhing at the bright lights… (In 18 degrees heat!) The right choice made.  Everyone happy & smiling – and a great tradition to hold on to for the family.   See you again next year NAIS…(Fireworks Night & Pancake Day – my two fav British traditions ever…)

The other big Shanghai choices all form around food… And tonight my choice was to eat a small amount of ‘even more ridiculously overpriced than in the UK‘ Willies Cacao as a treat.  My rationale for the huge overspend on chocolate? Well, I’m not spending the money on crap alcohol anymore so…

(Ocado, please know that I miss you, desperately, and I will return to fill a basket / a trolley / a lemon van,  come December…)

Book Choices


So, a good friend (& Motherhood coach) posted a picture of two new books on Instagram – and both knowing her, and falling in love with the cover photo of one of them, meant that I ordered it straight away for my Kindle.  Well, I tried to.  But Amazon had clearly done something wrong on Wednesday last week, as I was allowed to pay for the book, but not download it (very irritating…).  But it’s ok, everyone had kissed and made up by Thursday… so book landed and then I started in…

Shauna Niequist’s Present Over Perfect has hit me over the head and stopped me dead in my tracks.  This is my mid life crisis written down by someone else (if you can just ignore some of the godly bits – which amazingly, I have managed to do…)  It has made me rethink and review everything to do with how I got here (here being the midlife crisis) and given me such hope for the future,

There are a couple of chapters in particular that I would reprint here if I could (Agency & Legacy) , but instead I will paraphrase the bits that really got me:

We dive into work because it feels good to be good at something, to master something, to control something…I can master an excel sheet in a way that I cannot master parenting. I can control a project schedule in a way that I cannot control my marriage.. It’s easier to be charming in a client meeting than with the kids at witching hour & it’s nice to feel competent at something when family life can feel difficult at best – and by ‘nice’ I mean addictive..

And the inspiring part? (Rather than the knowing… ‘oh my god, that was my life’ part…)


…A new understanding that we get to decide how we want to live… I can live in …Claygate, or Shanghai…  I can work from …my sofa, in peace and quiet, or from the bustling office downtown…  Isn’t that beautiful? & exciting? & so full of freedom?  You get to make your own life. In fact you have to. And not only that, but you can remake it too...’

So, I’m taking these choices – and I’m remaking my life.  One election day at a time…

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