My husband: “Ooh you’re a good wife. They don’t make them like you any more!”
Me: (jaw agape) “what??? Oh my god! What’s that supposed to mean? Are you saying I’m old?”
My husband: (laughing) “Whaaaat? That was a compliment! You’re my lovely old reliable” (now laughing harder)
Me: “…you can f**k right off!”
That’s a brief synopsis of how the discussion went. After I’d hauled my tired (uncomplaining) arse out of bed at 5.30am in the morning to take him to work since his van wouldn’t start and after I’d made him a coffee in a travel mug to give him a sense that even though this was a bad start to his day, some things were gonna go right, this, this is what I get! I didn’t even make myself a coffee for the early journey – but I made sure that he got one. And how does he repay that? By calling me his ‘old reliable’!
I knew that I was supposed to laugh this off of course. He didn’t mean it as a bad thing. He actually meant it as a compliment. He described me as being like his Playstation 4. He said that even though the upgraded model of Playstation is now out- the Playstation 5- there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the older model. “The Playstation 4 still does what you want it to do”!!!
Is it just me or does this reduce who I am down to a plastic bloody robot?!!!
After having left my ‘Romeo’ at work, I drove home with the words “old, reliable” rattling around my head. I could decide to not let them bother me – sticks and stones and all that! But they just clung on! Why? Why does it bother me so much? They’d touched a raw nerve and in true Rachel form, the ‘other’ part of me decided to ponder it further.
Ok, so – the words ‘old’ and ‘reliable’…what is their opposite? … ’young’ and ‘spontaneous’?! Ouch!! So, he’s saying I’m not young and I’m not spontaneous enough then? … Well, he wasn’t actually saying that, I suppose, he was just joking…but that’s how those words felt.
I know I’m not young, I’m 40 now. And I bloody hate being 40.
I turned 40 in July and it was a hard reality to wake up to. When I was 20, I had so many years left to achieve what I wanted to achieve – to create the dream life and dream home and dream career. Time was on my side. At 30 I woke up and felt like my youth had disappeared but, hey ho, I had the next ten years to really crack on with it! Game on! And now here I am at 40, and I still haven’t quite got where I want to be. I’m still not living my best-ever life. Where are the three holidays a year? Where’s the in-home cinema and three cars in the extended garage?! Where’s the book deal and, hang on a minute…where the hell has this new chest crease come from? And this bloody wrinkle line in my forehead that won’t disappear when I stop frowning??!!
40 sucks in my world!
There’s no escaping it! I just find it so hard to be grateful for 40.
I went to a wedding at the weekend and the bride looked like a barbie doll – not a skin blemish or fat roll in sight. I was delighted for her, genuinely, but I felt like an atrocity stood next to her. I went to my daughter’s prom the week after and I felt like I was drowning in a sea of tight arses and pert boobs. I’ve never seen so many fake tans and fluttering eyelashes and it occurred to me that maybe I needed to make more of an effort.
I found myself watching my husband when one of the beautiful young women walked past, thinking, surely he’s gonna start comparing me to her some time soon??!!! (As a side note, I’m sure he knows that I’m clocking this – cos he never does seem to look their way!!!)
The point I suppose I’m making is that 40 is bringing me lots of aesthetic insecurity and lots of angst about what I’ve achieved now that I’m halfway through this lifetime.
I recognise this in me and I don’t bloody like it, but it’s there. And so, I can choose to ignore it, or I can choose to work with it.
So (back to the story) I’m driving home from dropping my husband off, stewing on the ‘old, reliable’ (my mind had wandered from the wrinkles and middle-aged spread for a moment, to focus on the other insult he threw at me instead) and I think to myself “Me? Reliable? Not spontaneous? Huh! I can be spontaneous! I don’t have to rush straight home, I could do something different! That’s spontaneous isn’t it! What could I do that’s spontaneous??... I know, I could go out for breakfast! ON MY OWN! Hah! That’s what a spontaneous person would do!... It may only be 7am in the morning but McDonalds is open... Yeah!!! I can eat a sneaky McDonalds in the car park before going home!!! (yes, I am realising how pathetic this sounds now as I write it, thank you very much!)
I ordered my sausage McMuffin meal and as I sat scoffing it in the car park, refusing to meet anyone’s eye as they drove past (see, the shame was getting to me already!) I then realised that this felt rubbish too. What would the Barbies and Prom Queens of the world say? I bet they wouldn’t spontaneously eat shit at 7am in the morning – hell no! They’d likely have a morning run and gracefully sip on green smoothies because their bodies are their temples. Bugger! Bang goes my diet again for the week – what a fat cow I am!
I fling down the hash brown into the passenger seat next to me, wipe my hands on a car wipe and then pick up the last bite of the hash brown again – I can’t leave it, I’ve bought it now! And then the sulk really begins.
Am I really old and reliable? Am I boring and lacking in spontaneity? (notice how I’ve now decided that old equals ‘boring’ too?! Ffs!) Come on girl, get a grip! Is this the reality?! I took a deep breath, called on some common, rational sense (aka Angels – yeah, I get the irony there for non-believers!) and I tried to pull myself together.
Well…… I can’t be spontaneous because I have four kids, a house, bills, a job and a business to run. There’s no bloody time for spontaneity! I don’t even get to have a wee on my own – someone always needs something when I go to the loo – and, and, AND I’m always driving someone somewhere, or making dinner or doing the laundry…I haven’t sat down since 1985!!!
But then (the deep breathing was starting to reach my brain and I think my angels had just clocked in!) I don’t really schedule in ‘fun time’ do I? Where is it pencilled in my diary to ‘take time out just for fun’ or ‘do something spontaneous just for me?’ Um, nowhere! Nope. I had forgotten to schedule that in.
Why is ‘fun’ not on my agenda? Why can I not allow myself some fun time? Am I not capable of it?
Hang on…I do fun stuff! (the Angels were definitely here now!) It’s not that I’m not fun. It’s just that my idea of fun is reading, learning, writing, teaching. I could do that all day (and some people would still call it work!). I love to meditate and journal and faff with my spiritual rituals and practices – that’s my idea of fun and fuel. But that’s the stuff I don’t always have time for because I’m always too busy ‘doing’ for someone else. And maybe now that I’m 40, I’m just too bloody tired to keep going and keep ‘doing’ for everyone else. Maybe now it’s time to really put myself first.
Here it comes, it was dawning on me. Self-discovery was right on time!!!…
I’m not living MY life as I want to live it. I’m living it for everyone else, and I’m allowing that to keep happening. Over and over again. The reason that 40 feels so bloody tough, is not because I haven’t got the dream home, the cinema, the fleet of cars and the book deal, but because I’m still putting myself to the bottom of my pile, plodding away for every bugger else in my world and just picking up the scraps of time left to fit my fun in.
I’m not old! I’m just old-er!
I am reliable but that’s a good thing, and I can be spontaneous when I have the time and space to be spontaneous.
Oh, and I’m not boring! (bloody arsehole mind throwing that one into the mix!) I’m definitely selective and discerning with how I spend my time, sure, and that may not suit everyone else’s idea of fun, but I’m certainly not boring! I know how to rock my world!
So, ‘old and reliable’ can ‘do one’!
I’m just tired for f**k sake!!!
And that makes me too bloody compliant.
The rant was subsiding a bit here. Either the McDonalds in my tummy was beginning to sedate me or I was now experiencing the calm after the storm.
In the lull came a thought. My dream last night!
I dreamt that someone asked me to ‘have a word’ with a girl in my class (I left school over 22 years ago by the way!). So, I went along to the girls loos to find her but straight away I noticed I had a big lump of playdoh/slime/gloopy stuff in my throat, blocking me from being able to talk. Yuck! It was totally gross and totally wedged in. In a fluster, I hid under the school tables and dodged lots of random people, desperately pulling at the gloop to pull it out of my throat but it just kept coming and coming – it was never ending!
I remembered that I’d dreamt about this before, and the gloop had taken on different forms like never ending black hairs coming out of my throat, but I’m pretty sure they came out after some more tugging. But this time, it just wasn’t clearing! When I woke up, I was genuinely frustrated that I couldn’t get all the gloop out, and I knew straight away what it meant. I was like “woah, what am I not communicating here?! Where am I blocking myself from expressing who I actually am?!”
You know what it is? I just carry on doing everything that I’m supposed to do – cos that’s in the job description. Mother, wife, house keeper, business owner, grass cutter, washer-upper, maid, taxi driver etc… and that all equals roles, responsibilities, drudgery, compliance, blah blah blah….
I’ve filled every possible hour and minute in my day with jobs and other people’s agendas. How have I allowed that to happen?!
I’ve always given of myself freely and lovingly. I love to serve others. I love being able to be the ‘Carlsberg’ of wives (if Carlsberg made wives, I’d be it!), I love being able to do mothering like a semi-pro (I’m not perfect, but I try my bloody hardest!) and I love my business as if it were my fifth child (people and growth are my passion), but I really do need to make myself a priority in my 4th decade so that I don’t feel so wounded when I’m called ‘old reliable’ and so that I don’t feel like I’ve lost who I really am in the midst of living a busy life. I need to be that person who has a good balance between the two- serving others and serving myself in equal measures.
I’m not tired because I do too much, I’m tired because I do too little of what lights me up. How true is that? That’s just about hitting me in the truth bones!
“The most important time in the world is the time you take for yourself”. I just read that, right now, whilst pondering all of this, and it really made me sit up and listen.
I wanna make a commitment to myself. Right here and now. A loving one. One that says ‘you matter, because you’re important too’. I want to feed and nourish my soul with all the things that I want to do.
I want to take some time out to sit in a quaint little coffee shop with a good book (sipping on latte refills until I’m satisfied)
I want to go to town and browse the shops on my own without worrying about being back to cook dinner
I want to write a blog post without being interrupted 30 times by requests for snacks and demands to ‘wipe my bum’
I want to express who I am and what I need without guilt and self-judgement
I want to get some balance back between giving and allowing myself to receive, so that I can really feel gratitude and appreciation for it all, and not just the ‘me’ time
…I could go on.
But I won’t because I’ve decided to write them in my diary instead- under certain dates and times so that I can say “no, I can’t help you with that right now, I have a date with a book and a latte” and so that I can “yes” to the things I want to do for a change. The things that make me feel young and spontaneous.
And when my husband rings me later, from somewhere else in the country, instead of sulking with him, because I really am not like that bloody Playstation! I’m gonna thank him for helping me to see where life is feeling too heavy right now and where I might want to make some changes.
And what about my throat. Well, where my throat is concerned, that needs some TLC too. One of my strongest intutions is my dream world. My dreams are so hot at letting me know where my energy is feeling more low-vibe. I’m predicting that either my throat chakra is out of balance or possibly even blocked right now, or else, I was being forewarned (thank you Angels!) that it will get blocked and unbalanced if I don’t address what’s happened today.
Oh, what a day! and its only 10am!!!
If that gloop is anything to go by, best I bring out the blue ray and the Big Guns (aka Archangel Michael and Archeia Faith) to get to work on clearing it.
Stay young and spontaneous guys!!!