What matters?

posted on: Friday, 28 December 2012

As you know I am prone to meandering through life, noticing things. As I have written before, I feel as if I was in a slumber for most of my twenties; my early thirties I became more aware and now...in my late thirties (ugh) I have reached conclusions. Many of my life priorities have shifted. The old priorities are still there in principle, but their importance has waned, to be replaced by others. This perceptible pendulum swing is interesting to me, partly because it happened gradually but so resolutely. I want to take it as a life lesson (for I like nothing better than a life lesson) that things change and whilst my change pattern is really slow so I am better able to absorb it, it's there nevertheless.

Things that matter:

My health, and that of my loved ones is paramount.

I am obsessed with sleep. White, cotton sheets and numerous strategically placed pillows and good mattress quality. When discussing holiday plans for this summer I heard myself saying 'well of course the beds have to be good quality; holiday without good sleep is no holiday at all'.

The puppy. I should be now describe him as a dog - yet he remains small for his breed and ridiculously teddy-bear like and fluffy. I arrived at dog island as a detour; an experiment in weakening my resolve and it remains the best thing I ever did. I love him. As in: I REALLY love him.

I do recall a time when I didn't live by the clock. The time of day or night was not of optimum importance. Yet now I notice that everything corresponds to the passing of time. Not a decision is made (be it shall I have a cuppa tea to it's time for the school pick-up) without consulting the clock. What does this mean? I am a slave to time. There is never, ever enough of it. Like ever.

In a way that I never grasped in my twenties, my hair and skin matter more than what I choose to wear. If it's a good hair day, all is well with the world. Likewise skin; my happiness with myself when stepping out the door is increased if I look well-rested and clear-skinned.

One of things that matters the most to me now is family meals. Gathering to have dinner together, sharing food with our children, finding meals we all like, simultaneously, is a happy place for me.

I do circuit training twice a week. It's an early morning, get-it-done, approach to exercise that is bolstered immeasurably by the fact that I do it with friends and a trainer. It punctuates my week, it keeps those extra few pounds off, it delivers endorphins no matter what the weather.

I need to be alone sometimes. I used to be really uncomfortable in my own company and would go to endless lengths to have someone with me all the time. Now I seek out solitude and notice that if I am without it for days on end, I get...gritchy.

Things that used to matter:

Frequenting pubs. This is a big British pursuit and something that I devoted most of my early adult years to. Any given night, going out for a drink was a thing we did. Propping up bars and what? Presumably talking with friends, although I can hardly recall what we talked about at University and after as we simply hadn't done anything yet. Except study and talk about boys. Then later talk about our jobs...or jobs we wanted to get. Our careers.

via dust jacket attic
In early married life it was the time of the weekend away. The mini-break. Countless cities. Countless weekends in London staying with friends. Playing at being grown up by cooking slap-dash Sunday roasts, served in hand-me-down dishes. At that time people still inherited crockery; it was pre-Ikea.

Closely linked to the weekend away was the wedding weekend. We worked out when in the final throes of a spate of summer weddings that we had been to over forty of them in our early twenties. In fact I remember one year where we had seven Saturdays taken up with weddings stretching through June to August. But I did love a good wedding; comparing and contrasting dresses and speeches and the likability of the mother in law.

I feel like I spent a great deal of time networking. Building my career. And I used phrases like 'getting visibility' and wanted to be considered for promotions at work. Everything was all about the next big job. My colleagues and I vied for attention from our corporate bosses. I could never have imagined anything other than working flat out - Monday to Friday - making a name for myself.

Mid way through, babies became a feature. This of course signalled the change that led to where I am now. Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, having babies, seeing my friends have babies; that became the mainstay. Ultimately I realise now, that was what mattered for about ten years of my life - straddling my twenties into my thirties. Until the time when those babies started school - and then everything shifted a gear and altered. I saw one of my best friends yesterday who has had her third baby in recent weeks. A gorgeous baby boy who has been stealing her sleep and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future! I came home thinking that I have done that stage; babies no longer feature for me and I am entirely fine with that.

I look back and realise, I did no exercise, never walked anywhere. I ate crappy food and rarely cooked. I basically spent my time pretending we were in episodes of 'Friends' (complete with Rachel's hair). No iphone, no Pinterest, no blog! Or at least it was in written diary form. I didn't really think about much at all...oh how times have changed!