Another week; one without much writing in it, I am afraid. This, owing to the fact that my husband has been working from home and we share an office at the moment, so my days have been interspersed with conference calls, pipeline reviews, sales cadence and so on. All a lot of corporate jargon; he spends his days sharing information, measuring and being measured. Hey, it pays the bills. But it’s distracting when you are a bystander.
Meanwhile, I got a couple of days of contentedness. I get this. Days where I look back on recent months and think: what was that all about?! I’ve written before about the funk I have been in, that hinted at itself in March, took up full residence in June and here we are in November, still niggling away. Turning 40 turned out to be rather more challenging mentally than I had expected. But then what did I expect? I Googled turning 40 and found articles about well-preserved celebrities who felt that life was ‘better than ever; I am so sure of myself compared to my insecure 20’s’.
Well yes, there is that. You learn and you learn and become sure. What I can liken it to, for me at least, is that my life is like a box of stuff that I keep filling up. Friends and family and children and items and memories and experiences and films and songs and places, you get the picture. Although with me, I never forget anything. I have an elephantine memory of things that have happened, been said, been observed. I develop theories constantly in my head.
The conclusion; the box of stuff is already feeling full! Lid is coming off. Sides bulging. I find this somewhat alarming as isn’t the mid-life crisis meant to denote exactly that: the MIDDLE of life?!! If the box is full where am I going to put the next 40 (God willing) or more years?!
This leads me to the need to jettison many of our belongings in an attempt to empty the box. The box is a metaphor – does that make sense?! Probably not; I expounded this theory to my friend Dawn last weekend, walking the streets of Amsterdam and sensed, looking sideways, her wry smile recognising that this is vintage Lou. Or some such nonsense.
If I were to characterise this year so far, it would be one of realisation. So many things have come clear and many of them have been thought-provoking. The reality of living with a teenager daughter and all the challenge and joy that it entails. At the moment it’s calm, but there is a spectre of something, somewhere on the horizon, where it will undoubtedly get tricky again! And then raising a son, who is growing up rather fast (a modern phenomenon? nine is the new twelve; thirteen the new sixteen?). A marriage that is nearing fifteen years old (not to mention the 7 years that predated the wedding). That’s over twenty years!! Whaaaaat. It’s all good and I am blessed for sure, but seriously, where did the time go?!
And if it feels like this now, what on earth is it going to feel like at 80? That’s one to ponder….
I assuage my thoughts with the following:
A commitment to myself to wear only clothes that please me. Like I am crafting an outer version of myself. I am embracing the different.
I cook and I cook and I cook. And then I clean it all up. There is a regularity and dependency to it.
A single, dogged, sometimes hair-brained willingness to cover any topic with my children with truth and honesty.
An acceptance of the fact that even though he still doesn’t hang up his towels, nor empty the dishwasher, nor has any inclination to do the laundry, my husband is the one. Still. As Dawn reminded me last week ‘Yes yours, my love, is the right human face…’* which is from the reading she gave at our wedding.
The knowledge that this is the deal right now. I know it is. I am a cliche.
A daily walk with the pup where I put the world to right in my head and come home afresh. Walking rocks.
Trying hard to make it all fit in the box!
* From ‘The Confirmation’ by Edwin Muir.