Much of my life has been spent living what I should be doing. Enough of the Should!
I should go to university, I should become an accountant, I should settle down and buy a house. And I should meet a guy, marry and have babies.
I Should have a safe steady boyfriend
I remember thinking at university that I really should have steady boyfriend. All my friends had boyfriends and we were soon to graduate. Keeping up with my friends was always important to me. I had no idea where I would end up living. I found a boyfriend, I settled for a boyfriend. A guy who was perfectly lovely but wholly unsuitable. I met him in a cheesy London bar, the Roadhouse. We started dating and it turned into a serious long-term thing.
He was ten years older than me, me 21, him 31. He was ever so sensible with a sense of style best left in the 80s. A mustard YSL shirt stands out from our first actual date in a Covent Garden restaurant.
He owned a house and had a great job in finance. It worked out well for a bit. I began my job with HSBC in London, he worked for another bank in the city 100 m away from my office. We moved in together to his cottage in Kent and we commuted into London Bridge every day.
I LOVED my city job and life. A girl in her 20s working for a great company in a brilliant job, in a great team, earning good money and training to be an accountant. The team was the best, we would head out every Friday lunchtime for lunchtime drinks, rarely making it back to our desks, only to switch off the computer. Then we would return to same bar to carry on drinking and dancing.
I should better my career
I really should better my career and move to a different company after I became a qualified accountant, moving from HSBC to Tesco. And then spent a stressful five years working for one of the biggest retailers in the world, working on huge store growth programs, commercial roles looking after billions of pounds of turnover (petrol and fags!!!), and a huge head office restructure.
My 20s relationship with the older guy ended, triggered by meeting a guy from the Treasury department at work and having a bit of fling. Six weeks after splitting from the older guy I met my future husband.
I should never be single
I was 27, my biological clock was ticking. Settling for the first guy who showered me with affection seemed like a good idea. Within three months he had moved into my house and we were a serious item. I was pregnant on my 30th birthday, making for a terrible party. Married four months later as I should get married before having a baby.
My 30s were a strange decade. I was either pregnant, balancing life with babies/toddlers and working full time or out trying to let my hair down. By 36 I was done, three boys later, no more children. And I started to see there was another way. There were things that I could try that were different to standard, predictable path of life I had chosen.
I could set up a business
My new life that I chose required some money, I needed some of my own security as there was no one else to provide that for me. I negotiated a package to leave EE where most of my career had been spent during my 30s and had £40k to start a new project.
I took a risk and took the plunge with setting up Mrs Mummypenny. Enough of the should! Mrs Mummypenny, the limited company and worked like a dog to write incredible content, network till I dropped and made a huge number of mistakes.
They should have stopped me. I should have a regular reliable monthly income. I should be able to pay the mortgage the following month, I should never get into debt. None of these should happened. My income for my first year of business was a few thousand, there were points during the second year where I wasn’t sure if I could pay the mortgage the following month and I got into a lot of debt.
But it paid off, my business was and is a success. After two years my business was earning enough money to pay the bills and to start to repay the debt I had built up. That £16k debt was paid off in two years and my path to financial freedom was laid.
I could chose happiness
Next step was to deal with the unhappy marriage that I should stay in for the sake of the children. I didn’t stay, its rarely the best idea to stay for the sake of the children. I left the marriage in 2019 and now feel like I have the world at my feet. Now I am totally independent with my own house and business. I have happiness. I am over the SHOULDs.