I am a Senior Manager in a busy company and I specialize in people management. I suppose you could best describe my job as getting the most out of people by encouraging them to see and achieve their potential. I deal with my fair share of anger and upset from staff but I never take this personally. I balance my work demands with my passion for playing music and painting. I have a loving wife and two children and these are my priority in life.
I was born in the US in 1950s to Irish parents who had emigrated in pursuit of employment. Six months after my birth my parents returned to Ireland. They did not want to raise children in the US. I am the eldest of three surviving children. Following my birth my mother gave birth to a boy who did not survive. Four years after my birth my mother gave birth to twin girls one of whom survived. When I was ten years old my mother gave birth to another daughter.
My father was a plumber and my mother a book-keeper. My mother did not work outside the home until I reached the age of ten at which time she returned initially to part-time employment and when I was in my teens she returned to full-time employment in part due to my father’s poor health. This impacted on the income coming into the house but as an adolescent I had no sense of this in terms of my material needs being met. My mother was an adept manager of money – on the other hand she could not cook to save her life, fortunately my father could and he became the homemaker during my teenage years.
I attended a number of schools. When I was aged 12 I entered a “House of Formation” as a boarder. I believed at the time that I had a vocation as a priest and that I wanted to teach others. A number of my classmates in the religious run school at the time expressed the same belief, I was the only one whose parents gave permission to follow up on their belief.
My recollection of my life from age 2 to age 10 is one of well being and security, with parents who were very loving towards each other and their children. My father was an interesting man, he did not attend my football matches and was absent from that part of my life, due mainly to his working long hours, over-time was a necessity not a “nice to have”. On the other hand he was very well read and a gifted artist and he and I formed our relationship based on our shared love of literature, history and art. He also had a very dry sense of humour and a well developed sense of the absurd – those who know me well say that I have inherited all of these traits .
My mother was a very intelligent woman at a time when being an intelligent female in Ireland could be very frustrating. She was the homemaker during my early life. She was ambitious for me and later for my sisters but she was not particularly maternal, she was matter of fact. If I had an intellectual issue to grapple with I went to mum, emotional issues waited for dad to get home. At the first opportunity my mum returned to the workforce. I admired my mother as opposed to loved my mother and at an intellectual level I appreciate all that she did for me, she taught me independence and to be comfortable in my own skin.
When I was 12 I went to boarding school armed with my vocation. That my parents agreed to my wanting to do this taught me a number of things, that my parents loved me, it was what I wanted to do and that they trusted my 12 year old instinct. My parents were honest – they always maintained that my life was mine to live and not something for them to live vicariously through – this was an example of them walking the walk and to this day I am grateful that they permitted me to make this choice. I hated boarding school but I stuck it out for two years. When I said enough, my parents were there without question or criticism to help me pick up the pieces. I learned a lot about myself at boarding school.
My parents laughed a lot, they made time for each other and for their children. My mother was a big fan of yoga and meditation – she was the one who got me started on both, I dropped the yoga decades ago but I kept up the meditation.
My parents taught me its OK to mess up as long as you are prepared to face the issues and deal with them. Neither of my parents did self-pity, they did do support very well. How I with their support dealt with me this boarding school period taught me how to address similar issues with my children and in particular how a parent should best act/react to get a child through major life issues.
I am the sum of my parts – two parts my parents, three parts my wife and two children and one part a slightly detached and very bemused me. I believe that I am emotionally healthy, but to be honest I not quite sure how I got this state of well being.