Covered in the mud of our mistakes, caked in regrets; that's when the real learning begins, doesn't it. We wipe away our false beliefs and see things as they should have been, occasionally marveling at how backwards our old vision has been revealed to be.
As I clear up my latest personal glob of mud, I deeply sympathize with Zoe Lewis' confession of her own humbling revelations about the path she's been traveling. It's not easy to admit we've made a mistake, but that's the best way for good to come from self-inflicted tragedy:
A playwright who embraced the feminism espoused by her mother and flaunted by Madonna now feels betrayed
I never thought I would be saying this, but being a free woman isn't all it's cracked up to be. ...My mother was a hippy who kept a pile of (dusty) books by Germaine Greer and Erica Jong by her bed (like every good feminist, she didn't see why she should do all the cleaning). She imbued me with the great values of choice, equality and sexual liberation. ...
Now, nearly 37, those same values leave me feeling cold. I want love and children but they are nowhere to be seen. ...I was led to believe that women could “have it all” and, more to the point, that we wanted it all. To that end I have spent 20 years ruthlessly pursuing my dreams - to be a successful playwright. I have sacrificed all my womanly duties and laid it all at the altar of a career. And was it worth it? The answer has to be a resounding no.
I argue that women's libbers of the Sixties and Seventies put careerism at the forefront, trampling the traditional role of women underneath their Doc Martens. I wish a more balanced view of womanhood had been available to me. I wish that being a housewife or a mother wasn't such a toxic idea to middle-class liberals of yesteryear.
Increasing numbers of my feminist friends are giving up their careers for love and children and baking. I wish I'd had kids ten years ago, when time was on my side, but the problem is not so much time as mentality. I made a conscious decision not to have serious relationships because I thought I had all the time in the world. Many of my friends did the same. It's about understanding what is important in life, and from what I see and feel, loving relationships and children bring more happiness than work ever can.
Had I this understanding of my psyche ten years ago I would have demoted my writing (and hedonism) and pursued a relationship with vigour. There were plenty of men and even a marriage offer, but I wouldn't give up my dreams.
I talked to the girls who were the subject of my play Paradise Syndrome in 1999... Nicki P, 35 and single, works in the music industry and adds: “It was all a game back then. Now I am panicking. No one told me that having fun is not as fun as I thought.”
... Not all women want children but I challenge any woman to say she doesn't want loving relationships. I wish I'd had the advice that I am giving to my 21-year-old sister: if you find a great guy, don't be afraid to settle down and have kids because there isn't anything to miss out on that you can't do later (apart from having kids).