My lovely daughters finally went back to school yesterday, having enjoyed an eight-week long summer holiday. That’s about four weeks too long in my opinion, and there’s no doubt about which one of us was the happiest about school starting again: Me!
Don’t get me wrong, I love my daughters to the end of the universe and back, but family life can be exhausting, especially with two strong-willed, authority-defying daughters, so it was a relief to be able to hand over responsibility for their well-being to their teachers, if only temporarily.
I may not have a high-flying career, but I am most definitely more than a mother, and with the girls at school, I finally have some breathing space, as well as the time to do what matters to me.
So how did I spend my first day of freedom? I’d love to say I threw myself into creative work, writing, reading, planning a Smile Train presentation due next month, etc., but the truth is, I watched the last few episodes of my latest TV addiction.
Oh well, yesterday was just a warm-up; today I’ve sat down straight away to write this blog post. That’s progress, isn’t it?
Once upon a time, I was a highly disciplined, hard-working young woman with lofty ambitions and a great sense of responsibility, but that person is long gone. And I don’t miss her at all. Nowadays I make a point of allowing myself regular playtime.
Perhaps it’s because I’m older and a tad wiser that I no longer feel I have to prove myself to the world. Besides, I know first-hand what stress can do to one’s health: in my case, it culminated in at least two incidences of stroke before I was even 35.
Whereas in the past I would push through when tired, challenging myself to complete a task no matter how exhausted, I’m neither willing nor physically able to do that anymore. Diagnosed with acute pulmonary embolism a few years ago, I finally learned to listen to my body: when tired, take a break, rest, go outside and enjoy a bit of nature, take a nap, read a good book. Do whatever takes your fancy.
There are those, of course, who thrive on a high-octane life, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. As for me, however, I’ve learned the hard way that I’m no superwoman. And that’s ok.
That’s not to say I’m happy spending my days watching Netflix; far from it. But at the ripe age of 45, I care less about what other people think of me, and that gives me greater freedom to do something I genuinely care about rather than what I think I should. I’m done being a good girl!