Wednesday, April 27, 2011

14 going on 40

So today was interesting... very interesting. While my youngest was on a play date, my eldest and I sat outside in our back garden, in the rare Irish sun, and chatted for quite a while. A rare moment of 'just us'.  It turns out, my 14 year old is quite wise for her age and has some very interesting insights. She sees things quite clearly and, from what I found out today, sees right through people. I might just have to use her as vetting instrument in future!

Seriously though, we all look back at being 14 and think 'God, they were tough times' or 'what awful years'!  The reality is that at 14 we are not clouded by political correctness, social obligations and the 'lets do what's best for everyone' attitude. When you are 14, you have strong opinions (right or wrong) and you yearn not to conform....and maybe, just maybe, that has its benefits.

People say that as you get older you become more of yourself. I wonder though? Do we not lose some of ourselves? Especially as mothers? Do we put ourselves aside and make decisions based on what is best for our children, even if its not best for ourselves? Definitely. It's inevitable....and if we don't and simply put ourselves first, regardless of the consequences, then we are judged for being failures as mothers altogether. The reality for this mum? The possible impact of her actions on her children really does come first - and for that I hold my head high.

I am 39 and I have lost some of myself for the sake of my children - but I am not sad or angry about any of it. So where does this becoming more of yourself as you get older come in? Well I guess I just have to wait and see. What I do know for absolute sure is that everything is here to teach you something, and if you can't see what it is, I recommend asking a 14 year old - if you have one lying around.

This is for you my wonderful, beautiful and oh so sensible child. Keep shooting straight from the hip and hold on to those oh so impressive instincts. They will guide you so well through your life journey. xx

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Cyber Life....

The title of this blog alone is making me LOL! I have a cyber life. Imagine that? 

When my parents were 39ish I had to set up the television, rig up the VCR, figure out how to put batteries in things and I was deemed to be a genius by all the adults around me. Ha! Now I'm 39 and not only do I have a cyber life, my parents and even my great aunt do too! I play on-line scrabble with my 89 year old great aunt everyday. My mother, who is a fantastic artist, has her art exposed on-line on a website shared by her peers. My father lives in South America and he Skypes me everyday. How cool is that?

There are of course down sides and there is also on-line etiquette. As a blogger you don't reveal people's names and you do your very best to not offend anyone. I have managed the first but, in my short time blogging, I haven't managed the latter, and as a result managed to lose two friends in the process: a virtual one and a real one. So then not only do you have to agree to disagree, you then have your online ties severed - which must really feel like closure, and perhaps even satisfaction for the angered party.

The other down side is trying to mange your teenagers cyber life too. The advice? Don't write anything on-line that you wouldn't say to someone's face (hmmm should really have followed my own advice there). Then you have the cowards who come along and use the internet to harass your children. Lovely.  Life is complicated enough.

But what I've realised and I have adopted from my friend Miss Stand-Up-On-That-Scales-In-The-Middle-Of-The-Department-Store is this: don't create problems, solve problems. I love it! I have adopted this mantra, and I have even started to impart this advice to my children. I feel empowered, I feel responsible for my actions and in no way a victim of any circumstance. 

My 20 or even 30 year old self would never have been able to say the same.....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Carpe Diem

I have a had a lovely lazy Sunday with my fabulous children and fantastic husband. We did nothing different to any other Sunday except it felt different. Sunday lunch, laundry, gardening and a leisurely coffee with a dear friend in the local coffee shop with my youngest who always enjoys her babyccino. All simple but lovely things to fill my day.... and what a difference a day makes! 

I sit here with my glass of wine and I stare at the blank screen ahead of me and it's a metaphor for how I feel today. A lot better than yesterday for sure! The possibilities are endless, the world is open and I'm ready to take it all on...whatever it may be.

Nothing to beat myself up about: no weight issues, motherly guilt or anything else we women insist on putting ourselves down about. I take a deep breathe, I take this moment to enjoy this feeling and I really try to hold on to it going forward. Today I become a little more of myself and I'm quite happy to do so. This journey to 40 really feels like a journey towards me. Bon voyage Ms 39 Candles!

I'm feeling good today, I hope you are too!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just when you think you have it all figured out....

Ah yes, life is good, life is funny and ever so sarcastic not to say somewhat on the side of: 'seriously?'. Just when you think that you no longer sweat the small stuff, that other people's actions don't affect you and that you are just too old to have to endure, or even care, about other people's crap..... Well you would be wrong!

Without going into detail, because it really is irrelevant, how do you end up in a situation you once found yourself in four years ago? I've heard that life sometimes taps you on the shoulder and if you don't listen, it whispers in your ear.  It then goes on to slap you in the face and, eventually, if you still don't get the lesson, you end up crashing into a metaphoric brick wall. This feels like that, but in reverse. I firmly believe I hit the brick wall four years ago and that I've recently been slapped in the face....and, unfortunately, I'm still not sure why.

Although the first time around I was so angry, this time I am so hurt. Yes I am vulnerable and that in itself is amazing as it is something I never allowed myself to be in the past. I thought vulnerability was a weakness, now I know that it is courageous to feel what you feel without shame. 

As a girl, I had to be strong because my sister died when I was 10, my parents split up numerous times and eventually my mother left without  me at the very tender age of 12. I was left with my very capable but alcoholic Dad. My husband calls my tales of woe the 'Angela Ashes' stories. We and our children laugh about it now because we can. I overcame and turned out to be a relatively normal, stable and decent human being. But not perfect....I never said perfect! When I make mistakes, I own up and I am gracious.

Which brings me back to the whole point of today's blog.  How is it that I am in a situation where I allowed myself to get hurt? Well maybe I've opened my heart up to people and have willingly let them in. Maybe life's lesson is allowing myself to be hurt and not react in anger. Maybe the lesson is to control the urge to retaliate and just let it be.  Maybe I'm just supposed to trust life to make its puzzle pieces fall into place, and surrender to whatever is here to teach me.

Now that would be any age!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This blogging thing....

Well? How am I doing as a blogger? So far the feedback has been good but I have to say, I'm not blogging as often as I feel I should! Maybe I could add it to the list of things to beat myself up about? Maybe I could stuff a cream cake in my mouth to numb the guilt? Maybe I could count this as a failure? Or maybe, just maybe, I can be kind to myself and say: 'You know what? Well done you for doing it at all!' I mean what's the point in blogging something for the sake of it? What's the point in looking for quantity when all anyone wants is quality?' 

Ah the wisdom we find as we get older....That's the good part isn't it?

The not so good part is waking up in the morning with creases in your face that take hours to fade...Hmmm now where's that collagen I used to have? I'm sure I left it here somewhere! Or the panic when your €40 concealer is just about running out. Get some quick! Who wants to see my blotchy skin?

Are we beginning to see a correlation here? I am! As I type this I have I just had the realisation that the harder the maintenance you have on the outside, the easier things become on the inside. 

What a revelation! I love it! Bring on those wrinkles, dark circles and gray hair I say! 

Okay, uh, maybe not just yet though....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Yes well it was Mother's Day in Ireland on Sunday. Lucky me, I got 586g of fabulously fattening Irish handmade chocolates - by Tuesday, there were none left.

Simply put, although I might be nearly 40, sometimes the adult side of my brain switches off and the childish, no-self-control, you-still-need-to grow-up-but-not-today side of me rears its ugly head.... 

My husband, like most men, makes up his mind about something and pursues it without flinching. I mentioned once that men's peripheral vision is limited....and I believe it's to their benefit. They don't get side tracked. Women on the other hand, well everything is a distraction. How I would love to be able to say:' Look! A fabulous box of chocolates, lucky me! I'll have one a day as a treat!'. Uh, yeah, right! Instead, the monologue went more like this: 'Crap! I'm trying to be good. Okay, I'll have a good day tomorrow. After all it's mothers day...' Meanwhile for the rest of the day, I can't stop thinking of the box of chocolates and how I'm going to manage? 

Day 2 of the uninvited guest that is the box of deliciously sinful chocolates is still there. Solution? Finish them, finish them all, and start tomorrow...And so I do. Was it a solution? No! Do I feel better now that thy are gone? Kind of, but I also feel guilty for: 

1) having no self control whatsoever and,
2) eating all the chocolates (they were divine by the way)

The point I'm trying to make is that at 39, 40 and I'm even sure at 50 years old, the struggle to do what we know is best for us continues....

My maternal grand-mother died when I was 16. My grand-father is still alive today and has had two companions since her passing - they are both gone now and he is still here at 91 years of age - Ruth was his second companion and she had a motto: 'I'm in my eighties and I have desert first, then dinner....' Wise woman! I promise to adopt that way of life when I get to that age, but in the meantime, like most women my age, I'm obsessed with my weight and I beat myself up over a box of  chocolates. Sad but true. Being 39 and still harbouring self control issues doesn't say much about me except that I have along way to go. When will I grow up? Looks like I still have a hell of a lot to learn.....Am I alone?