The Blog

“I thought I’d be a banker not a housewife in Clapham”

Vanessa 54, married with two grown up children. She lives in London but originally from Zimbabwe

What’s your most memorable experience? 

I grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and when I was 16 I was shipped to boarding school in England - it was horrendous. I comfort ate then became anorexic. They put me on a watch.

What’s your view of marriage?

'Will you be my wife and mother of my children, but something has to give?' were the words uttered by my now husband of 24 years. I was a bond dealer in 80s London and although my biological clock was ticking I was in no rush to get married. I’d been out with so many men and it had never been right. He is my soulmate. We met very serendipitously and it was just meant to be. So I went from reading the FT to joining the NCT. My life had changed enormously and I was stuck at home with the newspapers and no one.

How do other people see you?

It worries me what people think about me. It’s something I have to work on. I don’t open up that easily. I feel people think ‘it’s alright for her.'

What are your dreams and desires?

I want to travel more. I’m slightly in limbo at the moment. The kids have gone to University and then they're back for the holidays. I have an ageing mum to think about.Life is full of phases. I’d love to go and live in a Buddhist monastery for a year and live a simple life. 

Who or what inspires you? 

Young people inspire me; their youth, enthusiasm, energy, and feeling of invincibility. They have no boundaries, they can do anything. They have a sense of immortality.

Are you free?

I am free -  sometimes too free. I am the master of my own time.