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Stop and think

A story told by Gil Géron Dilsen, Belgium

After more than 30 years working in the social sector (mainly with young people), Gil Géron spends her self-employed time coaching individuals and organisations. She is a proud mum of three and grandmother of seven.

“Am I an insane person?” she asked. “I think we all are to some extent”, I answered.

I’ll be turning 60 this week. I didn’t think it was possible after so many years, but I’ve recently learned something new about myself. Something I had kept hidden inside of me for all this time. I was sitting at an outdoor café on a sunny day, there were plenty of passersby (I love that), mountains in the background, and as I took a sip from my glass of wine, the realisation dawned on me.

My daughter lives in the Black Forest (in Germany) and was expecting her fourth child last summer. I travelled there on the 1st of August, to help her out with practical things as well as for emotional support. Upon her request, I took part in the day-to-day grind of their hectic family life. Now, I happen to enjoy being busy all the time, doing plenty of things simultaneously, usually juggling three projects at the same time. I need to feel useful and occupied. But that sweet granddaughter was in no hurry to be born, so I had to temper myself a little bit. She forced me to occupy myself with the here and now, with her sisters and brother and to help her parents with the household.

On the 10th of August, I treated myself to a restaurant meal, away from the commotion of the large family. As I was waiting there at the Alte Post, it came to me: I like this. I find it fulfilling to take care of the house chores and not spend any energy on other projects. Rationally, I always knew that housekeeping was important and that people liked doing it and did it well. But it was never my thing, until I was able to make myself useful at my daughter’s place in Germany. Exactly at that moment, in that place, holding my glass of wine, I realised: of course I can retire at some point. I don’t need to be afraid. What a relief!

It took three weeks for my daughter to give birth eventually. Not once did I get a chance to open my laptop, but I did get to know my grandchildren well. That brought me so much joy and inner peace. As I embark on a new stage of my life, I find myself thinking a lot about what I still want to do and what I can do. My granddaughter forced me to stay still for three weeks and to reflect. I’m very thankful for that”.

Authored by Roos Lowette Leuven