We all know what they say about ducks – sailing serenely on the surface of the water and paddling frantically underneath. I think that typifies me. Paddling hard isn’t so bad if you know the direction in which you are headed, but when you aren’t always sure, that can be a lot of effort for little gain.
I have always been a solitary person. Even as a child, I often played alone or immersed myself in a book. It is a pattern that continued throughout adulthood as my relationships have been unconventional and ephemeral. When the time came to have a child, I did that on my own as well. That of course meant that I also had to contend with all the challenges of parenting on my own.
The best part of the journey so far is understanding that I have choices and that for many people is a luxury. I haven’t always made the right choice but still I have managed to live a very full life. And it’s not over yet. I’m at a time of life when my child, Donald is about to paddle off to his own pond. I am looking eagerly towards those retirement years although not quite able to fund the lifestyle as yet. This is a time of transition as I decide what I want to do with myself over the next phase of my life, where I do it and how. There may be a ‘with whom’ in there as well.
I want to peel back some of the layers of my existing life, to live more in the here and now, to learn to love being a middle-aged woman, and to derive happiness and satisfaction in the choices that I can still provide for myself. I’m going to paddle as hard as I can.
For those who like to know some of the more personal detail, I am a single woman in my late 50s, with a teenage son and a menage of cats. Son Donald Duck was conceived as a solo venture, assisted with a generous donation from a good friend and the services of an IVF Clinic. Donald has recently become enamoured with girlfriend Daisy, and the two of them are joined at the hip to the exclusion of more mundane things like completing their high school studies. Hopefully, no ducklings make their appearance any time soon. Swimming also in this pond is Papa Duck, my ageing father. Other family members may visit from time to time.
I of course am Dulcet Duck, but you may call me Duckie for short.