All I wanted to do when I was growing up, was be a Grown Up! Grown Ups get to do everything, Grown Ups have all the fun! Oh the eyes of a child, jealousy, envy, want; they are all emotions children get, but really can’t handle very well. They do not ‘see’ what a Grown Up ‘sees’. I have said I had a wonderful childhood, and I did, but the grass was always greener, somewhere else. Now that I am a Grown Up, it is kind of fun in it’s own way, but not always.
I got my first job, my first car – I was an adult, I had no house, no husband, no children and I could do what I want and when I wanted (within reason) and life was good, even on limited funds. The world was my oyster and I thought I knew it all. I now know I knew nothing of life. Then came marriage, mortgage and children on one income, life was good, but hard. We had very little, but love, laughter and family, in general we were content, but we still wanted ‘more’. I was not jealous as much as I was envious of others successes; money, jobs, house, private schools, cars and stuff. I was happy for them, but I really wanted my own stuff.
As the kids grew older, their demands for their own stuff became more apparent, I went back to work full time to help pay for………..well everything, new house, new car, kids became teenagers, kids went to Uni. We we working mostly to live, rarely living to work. It became arduous and monotonous, the tedium and drudgery of wanting and supposedly needing all that ‘stuff’. I realized the people I was previously envious of, were probably envious of our humble little house with small mortgage and old car we owned outright, I know I was. My kids were small and really didn’t need anything too taxing. I missed those days, especially now we were so busy working to pay for all the stuff I thought we needed.
I often thought that childhood was so wonderful, there was no need to work, my innocence knew no boundaries. Freedom to play, no responsibilities weighing you down. Sure we had rules, but that is different, rules were there to be bent, occasionally broken, but responsibilities are different; being a grown Up was hard. Suddenly being in charge of my own life and responsible for others was difficult, a burden of love every mother carries willingly. You worry over them or for them, you watch every moment like a hawk, but have to stand in the shadows for fear of not letting them grow themselves, find themselves. eventually they become the adult too. You have done all you can, hopefully (like me) you can stand back and beam with pride at all your hard work, it was worth it. All you hopes and dreams for your children are starting to come true. They still want you in their lives, but they no longer ‘need’ you.
You have become an empty nester (although technically I still have one living at home), you see them occasionally, not every night. You can no longer watch them sleep, see them grow up. You are back to only worrying about yourself & maybe your partner. Now what? Is this the Grown Up time I have been waiting for? I now have the means and the time to do what I want, when I want. I no longer have to fend for a whole family, just the two of us again (Moth and I didn’t really have very much time as just the 2 of us, daughter number 1 came along very early in our marriage). We have spent the last year or so getting to ‘know’ each other and in some cases ourselves, again. We have started to travel again, we have done more work around the house. I started my Photography and this Blog as a creative outlet for myself, I have encouraged Moth to re ignite his passion for wood working, or even to find something else. But he is yet to do it. He says there is still so much to do around the house.
The House; you know what I have learnt? If I clean today, I will have to clean again tomorrow, the floors, the carpets, the dust, the dirty dishes, the dirty clothes. I used to be a clean freak, my house was always spotless, but now? Now I do enough – sure I run the vacuum over the floors, occasionally mop them, I run the dishwasher a few times a week, and I wash clothes when the pile is getting too big. I don’t panic if it’s not done everyday or even every 2nd day. I don’t care if I don’t cook some terrific meal every night. Scrambled eggs or baked beans on toast is perfectly legitimate. When did working full time, having a spotless house, perfectly manicured lawns and children become such an obsession? My house is (mostly) clean and tidy, we have clean clothes and my animals and husband are well looked after. We do not eat junk food or take away every night of the week. Where did all this pressure to have everything, be everything come from?
So I guess age does bring wisdom; I don’t obsess over anything, so what if my house isn’t spotless, so what if dinner is late (or baked beans on toast), so what if we decide to go out and not tell anyone, if I want a new filter, lens, tripod – I work, so why not splurge on myself? This is the age of me, as a Grown Up, my time to play, and I can play, sure it’s not the same games as a kid, but i bet I appreciate it more! This is the time where I have no real responsibility, no real major bills. Sure I still have a job, but I have been here so long to an extent I can come and go as I please. I still have my health (well mostly). It is My time to shine as such, My time to be fearless and grab life by the horns.
So I will have another slice of cake, I will not clean today, I will leave work early just so I can photograph something, I will order that new bit of tech – just for the hell of it. Because at my age I have finally figured out, each day is a gift…..or perhaps I am just having a mid life crisis!!
Until next time, be fearless, enjoy life and travel safe