Another guest post on the blog today. This one is from my close friend and newbie blogger, Julie from Menopause 4 Thought. This one is particularly lovely to read, as even though I have many years before any of my kids grow up and leave home, I know it will come round quicker than I expect it. I’ve not really sat and thought about my life after that point, so it is fab to hear from someone who is at that point. Over to Julie…
Empty Nest and Desert Island Dreams
Well to all of you with little ones tugging at your skirts, disturbing your sleep and generally taking up every waking moment, this is for you, the unpaid, often unrewarded guardians of the next generation. I remember sending my kids to their grandparents and using the time to go to bed, not party! Sound familiar?
After 27 years of being a mum to four children, from age 18, my youngest is nearly 17 and will be the last to fly the nest when she goes to Uni next summer. Nowadays, I can sleep in if I have no commitments that day, I can do my make-up in peace, I can go out without worrying about childminders, get drunk without fear of watching teletubbies (or whatever it is now) whilst still inebriated the next morning (not fun!) and I can plan a holiday outside of school holidays! So yes, for the main I have a child free life, as much as you ever can that is. I guess to you all, my life now must seem like heaven.
Word of Wisdom: they never really leave, you never stop worrying and you are always on call! The older children visit with the addition of my four beautiful grandchildren. I love them all to distraction but I have to say that I am glad when they return home and my life has a semblance of peace once again. I honestly don’t know how I did it?!
Anyway, with this ever empty nest, came a startling revelation that as I have been a mum so long, I really do not know how to be an adult without it being based around children. I was so young when the responsibility changed my life that I am now confused, not having formed a definitive ME!
I had so many dreams, but they went on hold when I became a young mum and began gaining the wisdom of someone older than my years and missing out on the kind of things I should have been finding out at that age. Who is this middle aged Julie?
I was so busy trying to be a good mum, good wife (failed twice!) good teacher, that I kind of lost who I was. Being defined as someone’s mum, wife or teacher can do that! I do not regret this, any of this as it all led to where I am right now. My children are by far my best achievement and I am so proud of the people that I have raised. They are awesome!
I am however now scared. Scared that I am too old, too unfit, too tired to live my dreams. I can feel the young me ‘rushing’ to the surface with a strong desire to get out and scream NOW…NOW it is your time! Get ready because it is going to be awesome!
Unfortunately, the 45 year old me is less spontaneous because I know how hard life can be. I know that my childish dreams of far flung places are possible but that they are often tough and dangerous. No longer do I believe that I am invincible, that went with my youth, when I had to grow a sensible head. BUT I am still that dreamer, that girl who wants to experience world culture, to be free, just for a while.
I knew this most powerfully as I stood watching a dear childhood friend being carried in her coffin to her final resting place last summer. I knew at that moment that I do not want to regret not taking the risk and grabbing life by the horns. I know intrinsically that I need to do this, to at least try to fulfil some of my greatest desires.
So I have taken drastic measures because I fear that I will make excuses; I will stay for my grandchildren and never explore; that my travel dreams will be my biggest regret on my deathbed. I have applied to go on The Island! As I watched every week, the contestants, male and female, conquered fears and anxieties, relaxed into the strange new world they found themselves in and I know that it has changed each and every one of them forever.
I hope I get it and I am using the Law of Attraction to visualise myself there. Either way it is the start of many more brave steps I know I will be taking in the next few years as I strive to be an inspirational Granny, and Mum moving forward.
Wish me luck! Love always