Sankofa 2: Not yet living the dream

It was like the lyrics in that Lori Lieberman/Roberta Flack/Al B Sure/Fugees song about feeling as if someone had come across your private letters and was reading them out loud. The post evinced a visceral response in me because it was as if the DM member had read my mind. I knew that I had to reply, to reach out to share and support. However, that would mean acknowledgement and acceptance. It would be like hanging my knickers out in a communal courtyard. A week elapsed before I replied.

We’ve been in Doha over 2 years and in that time my husband has had little income. We’re in such straitened circumstances that a trip to Sealine, brunch at a hotel or a spa session, even once a month takes some serious financial juggling. Living the dream? Not yet.

I feel guilty, guilt so potent that it often wakes me at that most devilish of times: 3am. My husband agreed, because I asked him, to give up his work and professional status in renewable energy to come to Qatar, only to be treated dismissively for being a chemical engineer with no oil and gas experience, despite having an MBA and over 15 years of program and project experience.

So what did we do? We held our breaths, hoping and praying that each meeting, each month would bring us back to being a double income family.  I even looked at better paying jobs in neighbouring countries.  After 20 months and no second job, we exhaled. We stopped existing conditionally (we’ll do x when hubby gets a job). We chucked out the plan. We started living.

So if I was reading this I’d be saying that I love the mountain top revelation but what about the pragmatics in the plains?

We got rid of the rental car and bought 2 okay cars, not the SUV I’d slobbered over (my husband is a green through and through and has not had a desire to up size), and 2 extremely good child seats.

We went on holiday – not to India or Sri Lanka or Oman but crashed at a friends’ apartment in Abu Dhabi.

We invite friends over for dinner despite me being a reluctant cook.  My husband thinks he’s the love child of Ainsley Harriot and Jamie Oliver.

I finally joined Doha Mums because I realized I needed some friends who weren’t work colleagues.

I have my clothes pressed at the laundry, but we share the household chores.

I go to the spa but it’s not for the ‘full works’, some months it’s a manicure and a pedicure and other months it’s a massage.

We allow ourselves to be treated to playdates or dinner or both.

I revel in others’ experiences and successes.

I created a gratitude list and regularly update it.

My husband and I talk honestly about how we feel. We dream a lot, plan a little. We’re living!

How do you continue to live and enjoy life when things are not turning out the way you’d dreamt or planned?

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