If I could wave a magic wand, what age would I wish to return to?
For a moment I imagined it would be my early childhood, up to the age of ten, when I really think I lived a wonderful life. But then I thought I’d have to live life from then to now and so very quickly I changed my mind.
I remember when I was in my twenties and thirties, a busy mother who chose to stay at home, I really struggled each new year. I knew I wanted to stay at home with my children and those I minded, but that didn’t stop me feeling that life was passing me by. Unfulfilled, dissatisfied, restless I envied those who could leave home for hours. I remember one morning yer man moaning that his drive to work was almost an hour. I looked at him, with a crying, teething one year old in my arms, who had already been up since five and two others running around and I told him I’d give my right arm to be in a car alone for two hours in one day. He gave me a kiss and left. I knew he didn’t get it and as he left I cried, wondering how I’d get through the next twelve hours.
But I did survive that day and the many days after. In fact I went on to have a fourth child and stayed at home a total of twenty years. I know many will say those were the best days of their life, but I would dispute that. There were fantastic days, filled with the joy, madness and fun that young children bring to a home, but despite having a great circle of friends, including one who shared almost every minute with me, there were also many long, lonely boring days.
So now I am out the gap and another New year has come and gone. As I look at my current life, sometimes I feel old. “Oh,” I hear you shout, “You are not old,” but don’t panic, I don’t mean ancient, just not ‘young’ and to be honest I am so grateful for that. I see others with young children and it brings me back to my twenties and thirties, but moments later, as I go about my new life, without smallies and with great freedom, I have no desire to be that mother again. I watch my children dress up to go out at night and I’m grateful to have a partner and not be in the market for one and a comfortable home to stay home in. I have ticked the boxes that were not ticked during the many years I was at home and the restless, dissatisfied me is no more.
Last night I watched a programme on television during which two women had cosmetic procedures done. One had botox, the other a lip filler. My head nearly fell off I shook it so much. Both already looked perfect and one was only twenty eight when she first had it done. I know it’s her own choice and many are doing it, but at one point she spoke about her ‘thin lips’ and said that as we get older they get even thinner.
I looked at himself and said, ‘I don’t remember the last time I looked at my lips, they must have disappeared!’
The woman went on to say, that for a while she stopped smiling because that made her lips even thinner. I can tell you listening to that made me feel old. I didn’t get it. Are thin lips a real no no? Are all young girls doing this now? Am I completely out of touch? How old am I to be tut tutting like this? Would I wish I were young again if this is the world of the youth of Ireland?
When I was young I couldn’t imagine being the age I am now, nor would I have believed that life was good for anyone who was not ‘young’. I am sure those two women would probably share that opinion if they saw me today, especially as I have laughed my way through much of my life, leading to laughter lines and all manner of blemishes on my face, not to mention my stick thin lips!
However they would be wrong.
These past few years have without doubt been the best in my life and 2017 is looking equally promising. Most of what I do I love doing, be it spending time with my family, writing or teaching swimming. I’ve built a circle of friends second to none and a social and private life I enjoy enormously.
I have goals for this year and I’m actively making them happen. Who knows if I will succeed, but what I do know, is that this year I am facing the New Year with an enthusiasm I don’t ever remember before.
So would I go back to my younger days? Not a chance. I’ll stick where I am, thin lips and all.
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photo credit: GlacierTim via photopin cc