I keep sitting down to write a post – friends contact me and say ‘no blog!’ where has it gone? I gotta say: I am really struggling to find perspective right now. The world seems to have, just in the last month, shifted on its axis and I feel like it’s inappropriate for me to come to this space and write about how tough it is to finish our house build. Or how stressy this winter term is for my children. Or how draining it is to get up in the dark and come home in the dark. Or how I come out in a cold sore and my shoulders ache and I look rough – which is always a sure sign of tiredness. Or how I really miss my husband who has been away so much recently it’s started to affect everything. These are First World Problems and I seem be plagued by them at the moment.
Meanwhile the recent world events, the Paris and California attacks and their aftermath are impossible to stomach and all the time, every day, my kids ask me if we are safe and I don’t really know how to answer them. Yes and no. I also note that friends and acquaintances, some of whom I have known well for years have started to exhibit politics that I don’t agree with. Prejudice is rearing its head and I find myself inwardly reacting to it. It has become too hard to disagree with the multitude of views that are being shared on Facebook about the state of the world and what should be done about it. And more close to home, I have been surprised with the vehemence with which some people I know have opposed the possibility of helping others. At this time of year particularly it’s hard to witness.
Last week I was at college. These academic sessions creep up quickly and when I stop, I consider that a month has passed and now, let’s see, just how much writing have I done? Tick tock, I should be a third through my novel by now and yet I am still looping around characters and plot and wondering: am I really going to pull this off? I ask myself: am I scared of hard work? Have I forgotten what it is to work to a deadline? And then I realise everyone is in the same boat and we all muddle through and that writing a book is not an exact project plan with deliverable milestones. That was my old life.
I remind myself that I chose this. I opted in. And yet I am still finding it tough. The sudden onslaught of erudite conversation is hard; my brain aches. Especially when interposed by phone calls to the plumber to see if he’s sorted our new heating system. I am in the midst of the longest list of house snagging I can imagine. There is still so much to do – though being back and living here with all the newness is wonderful. We had some friends over on Saturday night for a makeshift dinner party amongst our unfinished dining area. It was lovely to entertain again and to have a space that felt like it was ‘us’. For so long this farmhouse was very labyrinthine and old-fashioned and twee. Whenever we have lived in houses prior to now, we have needed to adjust our taste to the era of the house. This one is the oldest so we did have lots of farmhouse detail, very British. Now, with the new build it is much more a reflection of how I want to live. Clean lines and white minimalism. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I have to say I am really enjoying the contrast. And yes, when it’s done I will share pictures.
So it’s Wednesday morning and I sit (hide out) upstairs whilst there is a plasterer downstairs, dust sheets everywhere! I have a ‘to do’ list that is not even funny any more – house and book and Christmas shopping (all on line) and then at the end of the week we are going away before Christmas! Packing! I can’t wait and I know once I get there I will be able to breathe a long slow breath and think it was all worth it.
I see in myself that I have become adept at not saying it’s hard when it gets hard. I don’t feel entitled to have a hard time as frankly, my life is not hard. At all. However I read an article about girls who suffer from anxiety in there 20’s and I found myself thinking: Christ, if you think you’re anxious in your 20’s try adding 20 years, a husband and couple of kids, a mortgage and career and see how anxious you feel! I should not judge as everyone has the capacity to feel it’s all too much. I just feel as if my particular box of worries is growing, not diminishing and honestly, when I look back on my 20’s all I see is a clean white slate of carefree-ness that simply does not exist anymore.
It will pass.