Session 2: Learning by looking at my life over time

Introduction

Looking back through a car wing mirror
Figure 2.1

What can we learn by looking at our life, and our experiences, over time? How can this be helpful for the future?

Session 1 was about looking at yourself in your present situation. However, the person you are now is partly a result of everything that has happened to you in the past: who you were with, where you have been, what you have done and the outside events that have affected your life.

We learn from good and bad experiences and the ups and downs of life, but some people may have had extreme events in their life that would be distressing to revisit. If this is the case, you can choose to focus on areas of your life that you’re happy to spend time thinking about.

Your experience of caring is likely to have a strong influence over your present situation. Your caring role may be something that developed over time. Perhaps like Christine, the word ‘carer’ may not be the way you think of yourself, it’s just something that’s normal to you. For others, becoming a carer might have been a sudden event. Whatever your situation, you will know that circumstances can change quickly and sometimes things happen that you don’t have control over.

The value of looking at our roles and experiences, and recognising the influences on our lives, is that we can unpick what really interests and motivates us and start to understand our decision making: is there a pattern? For instance, what we consider important can change over time, or can differ at different points of our life. How we feel about these experiences can vary too.

So, how do we define high points and low points? Are there recurring themes in the choices we make? Can we see the difference between choices that we make and changes that happen that are out of our control?

In this session you are asked to look at your life experiences, including your caring experiences. The aim is to work out what skills and abilities you have built up, together with the qualities you have developed, particularly from caring, in addition to ones you have gained in other areas of your life.

Experiences over time