- About the Author
- On Active Service
My son is thirty nine today. I remember the day he was born as clearly as if it was yesterday. And yet it seems to me I was such a different person then. This led me to think about whether we are indeed different people at different stages of our lives. Certainly that’s what the author William Boyd thinks, and writes about in his novel “Any Human Heart”, recently brilliantly dramatized on television.
It’s not just the fact that I was thirty nine years younger when my son was born that makes me believe I was so different. Of course I liked different music. I can remember the radio was constantly tuned to Radio 1; I can even remember the song that was number one at the time: “Seasons in the Sun”. And I had different tastes in clothes, dictated by fashion, not comfort. But it’s more than that: I was married to a different person. I had different friends. A different outlook on life. I was more impatient. Less satisfied with life. Striving to do more, be more.
I see my life, so far, in four very different stages: first, my childhood, growing up with my parents and brother and sister. Secondly, my first marriage and the birth of my son, looking after him, whilst trying to forge a career for myself. Thirdly, my present marriage, the trauma of divorce, taking on my step-children, establishing a successful career. And finally, the present stage, the children grown up, no longer working, time to do the things I always wanted to do.
And at each stage I feel I was a different person: child, sister, lover, wife, mother, career woman. I see myself reacting differently to things that happened depending on where I was living, who my friends were, who I was married to, which children I was looking after, where I was working, who I was working with.
But it’s just an illusion of course. My basic personality hasn’t changed. I’m still the same person, with the same strengths and weaknesses. Like all of us, I just behave differently according to my situation at the time.
Bethany Askew is the author of seven novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days, Poppy’s Seed, Three Extraordinary Years and The Two Saras.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Two more women’s fiction books have been accepted for publication in 2020 and 2021 respectively and she is currently working on a new novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.