Posts Tagged ‘ middle age ’

Three years later…

We’re always saying how time flies (we being middle aged people). Digging around in this old blog has brought that into sharp focus. It’s been three years since my last post confession, though as I sit here with the fire burning low and the gentle sound of  The National playing on Spotify and a glass of merlot to hand it feels like I’ve never been away.

And yet, and yet…life has moved on; leaped on. I have a teenager in the house. My baby boy will turn nine before the year is out. I am a co-director in a proper company and am working close on full time. We have today been visited by a retirement planner and have discussed aggressive pensions and venture capital. My hair is less glossy, my tummy thinks I’m having a baby, well, twins. I have friends of my own (not my parents) who are in their 50s and 60s. I’m in a choir, I enjoy a knit and a natter, and I frequently forget that the 1980s is a foreign country not just to my children but also to co-workers. I’ve discovered Hendricks gin with slivers of cucumber and get cross with regret at all those years drinking the far inferior Gordon’s and lemon. When I go to pubs I rate them on the availability of seats and whether the music is suitably in the background, rather than how busy and noisy they are. Fuck, I’ve even started listening to The National.

I’ve also started enjoying books again. One of three I’ve currently got on the go is Andrew Marr’s A short book about drawing, which is more an instruction manual. It’s a really sweet book, particularly when set against Marr’s recent stroke and his rehabilitation, which he says drawing has helped inform and inspire. He’s not a great artist but that’s why I especially like it; it gives me heart. I like taking on new hobbies and interests and drawing is one of the newest. I’ll see how long the drawing thing lasts, vying as it is for my attention with so many other distractions. andrew-marr I don’t think life has ever been this busy, but also so interesting.

Tomorrow is fairly typical of life at the moment…I’ll be up about 645, prepare breakfast, get eldest to his 730 train, do littlest’s lunch and help him get ready before the school run, followed by a quick dash to the physio to be reduced to tears by his deep massage on my poorly plantar and told off for not keeping my foot in a bucket of ice or resting it like he’s ordered.

Then back in time to make a 10am call to a designer who’s got to try to make sense of my lengthy notes and scribbles as we create a new website together for a client. I’ll just have time to make quick calls to the plumber and tiler to book them in to finish off the bombsite that is the bathroom before dashing to a school where I’m putting together a communications strategy and a school magazine.

I’ll spend around three hours with them before dashing off to an emergency dental appointment, then back to the office to put together some of the reams of new content needed for the aforementioned website.

Collect the kids from train station and childminder, back home, chat to them while preparing tea, eat together, then try to get a bit of glossing done to advance the bathroom project. Once the kids are in bed the hubby will hopefully be back from a day in Stafford with another client, and after a quick catch up with him I’ll be back to website content writing. I’ll ring my mum and dad for a catch up, and suddenly remember I’ve yet to book a Mother’s Day meal somewhere and everywhere will be full, so everyone will end up here, without a functioning bathroom. Oh joy.

Despite appearances, I’m really not complaining about my lot, far from it. Both our household incomes depend on us making a success of our business, so being busy is necessary. Thankfully all the work we are doing at the moment is enjoyable and creative, and we are working with and for some amazing people and organisations. I love nearly everything on this busy little list but I do long sometimes for the luxury of empty days. They will no doubt come back soon enough…

So, time for bed. Here’s a lovely night-night tune…it’s from a new LP from Johnny Cash of rediscovered work from the 1980s. This is a top tune, beautiful and strong and poignant. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwRScXqKoXY

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Crisis? What Crisis?

I’m 43 years old. Blimey.When did that happen? In my head I’m still just a flibberty-gibbet, a teen angel, a babe in arms. But I’m not; I’m 43. Bloody hell. When I got caught smoking at school, aged 15, I had to take a letter home to my parents. I recall being terrified about my parents’ reaction, and dreaded the sound of them coming up the stairs on their return home from work to confront me – yet also recall, really vividly, that in the midst of my telling off all I was thinking was how OLD they looked, with their disappointed faces and angry folded arms. And how superior I was, with my youth and brilliance.

They would have been at least five years younger than I am now, so God knows how my kids see me when I’m laying down the law. Youngest inexplicably thinks I’m 29. He has no idea about age; he thinks his granny (70) is 43.

So, like it or not, I’m officially middle aged. The least I can do to mark such a momentous event is to take up hang-gliding, take a lover, or take a dive into insanity. I have no desire to do any of these.

I’m writing this in a French forest, at a picnic table outside our holiday home in a Yelloh! village an hour and a half’s train ride from Paris, in the complete darkness, drunk on wine and contentment, while my beautiful family sleeps and snores feet away. The thrum of busy insect life is occasionally punctuated by a scurrying beast or the incredibly loud thwack of acorn against roof. It is amazing here; a place of complete and utter tranquility. I am at peace.

It was not always thus. Three years ago, approaching my 40th birthday, I did go a tad insane. For people who have read my blog for a while, or who know me, this was proper off the rails – for a couple of weeks I was barely able to get the kids to school of a morning, let alone be much good for owt. (By the way, I’m not from Yorkshire, but it does seem to be my default setting when merry to get all “owt” and “twas” and “twat”.)

But – and it took a while admittedly, and needed the support of my ace family  – I got through it. I still have my moments of stress and anxiety, but mostly I am totally sane. (Hahaha-hahaha-hahaha *runs like loon around holiday park dressed in nothing but a figleaf and elf ears*)

The last three months have tested my sanity to the max. I have taken on a trying new role (part time, they said – part time, my arse) combined with looking after the kids, house and family stuff, and trying to drum up a bit of business of the PR variety. If I was going to lose it, I probably would have by now. Admittedly, I’ve come close once or twice. Only two weeks ago I was so caught up with juggling work demands, childcare, general household responsibility and a million other things that, in the midst of rowing with my 10 year old, I drove off after filling up with petrol at my local petrol station without paying. Thankfully a nice policeman and the garage manager trusted in my innate honesty and recognised my misdemeanour for the absolute mindblock that it was, and let me off.

Other than that blot, I have generally remained calm and collected in the face of considerable pressure. Now, finally, three years on, I feel a corner has been turned, a hurdle cleared, a lesson learned. It seems I can cope after all; I am not destined for the loony bin just yet.

I can, it seems, do a job that I am falling in love with, despite its excessive demands on my time and brain power, while also caring for and spending quality time with my kids and family. Friendships have definitely suffered along the way, but I’m desperately planning to make amends on that score over the next few months. Generally, though, I feel I have survived a tough few months and things can now only get better.

So, now what? What have you got planned now, middle age?

As increasing numbers of friends and acquaintances face up to illness and disability, to loss and pain, it’s obvious that becoming middle aged brings increasing vulnerability to the rigours of being a mere mortal. I used to feel I was immune, infallible, that somehow I was one of the chosen ones who would not succumb to such boring rituals as getting ill or bereavement. I don’t feel like that any more. It’s a shame, losing that carefree notion of a carefree life, but there it is.

Middle aged suggests midway. If that’s true, that means I will pop off this mortal coil at about 86. Now, that actually sounds like a fair deal, speaking from my 43 year old berth. I’m pretty damn sure that when I’m 85 it will be a less attractive proposition. However, I also know too many people who have breathed their last long before getting close to middle age. It is something to celebrate you know, getting this far intact!

Wayne Coyne and the Flaming Lips had it about right when he sang “Do you realise everyone you know, one day, will die…” I mean, it’s hardly a revelation is it, yet we all block it out, and avoid thinking about it – but we are all DOOMED.

Time really does go fast; and it is hard to make the good times last. All we can do is appreciate every drop of goodness, every day of happiness. We can watch the sun set every night, until the day we die, but only if we also remember that the sun going down is just an illusion, caused by the Earth spinning round.

My family is still sleeping. The forest is still alive with rustling and creaking and scuttling. I feel like I am the only person awake in the whole of France. A candle burns fiercely beside me, my glass of wine stays resolutely filled up, as if by some magic hand (mine, if truth be told) and the air is still. The stars are shining bright in an arc over my head. It’s a beautiful evening, still warm enough for me to be sat here on the laptop outdoors at the midnight hour. I could be in paradise. I’m not, it’s only France, but I’ve got everything I need right here, within feet of me. But most of all, right now, today, I may be middle aged but I’ve also got peace of mind and a happy heart. Who could wish for more?