I've decided I want to grow down for a while. Not reduce my height grow down, but the grow down that is the opposite of grow up. I want to grow down and find all those fun and childish values that get pushed out of the way to make room for more bone mass and chocolate induced fat cells as we get older.
Life has got super serious the last couple of years, super serious and super super stretched. I've taken on too much work, but still raise the girls, so I find myself lurking at my desk while the rest of humanity (rightly) use the dark hours for sleep, I have too much time away from them, and back to the keyboard every evening once I've done the ususal routine of putting Ruby back to bed 14 times, whilst trying not to throw her (and me) out the window in frustration.
I care for my mum. I care for my children. I care for my husband. I care for the house, the family meals, the dog. I work. I no longer write my novel as there is no time. I barely write this blog. But that's the time that's in it, those sandwhich years where I am the filling (nearing out of date) squashed between the breads of burden.
So to put a bit of life back into that filling (since I can't change the bread), I've two chutney challenges for myself.
The first is to reduce my workload so that I can fit some stuff in that (shock, horrow! How dare she?) is in fact just for me. Like writing, like running. I have just made that income v living balance decision, and its scary but it's good.
And the second is to grow down. A few things happened in the space of a week to make me realise I've become too grown up. One morning Ruby was awake early and we went to walk the dog. I was in fowl form as I had hoped to get some work done before the girls all got up, so I stomped around the soggy park in the rain, dog and child in tow. I'd put Ruby's wet gear and wellies on so when she spotted a big muddy puddle she ran for it like a true Peppa Pig fan. The lure of her jumping around in this mire of mud was too much and I stomped right in and it splashed my mood away (I did not have wet gear and wellies on which made me rather sodden by that kinda added to the joy). And there it was. A moment of joy in a world of work. I grew down for a little bit and it gave me joy.
A few days later I was out with the girls and we were at an outdoor farm / playground place and Poppy said, "Mum, let's run to that fence and back again." I looked at her with that adult face that says, "for what purpose?" Because everything we do as adults has to have a purpose. And Daisy looked right back at me and said, "Why don't grown ups run?" Kids run everywhere. Just for the pure expression of energy and joy. They see a space and they see a chance to run. Not the running (I'm supposed) to do where I set my distance, measure my pace and pound the path. Just a run. From here to there. Just for the fun of it. So we did.We ran to the fence and back several times and puffed out lots of laughs between strained breaths.
I was at a worky workshop this week, and to start us off we were asked to draw the person beside us and then introduce them - their name and where they worked etc. The room was full of apologies and cringy laments about bad drawings and 'it doesn't look like you's'. The facilitator threw away a comment - if she had done this with a group of children, they would have attacked the challenge with vigour and made no apology for their masterpieces. Why do we loose that confidence, that enthusiasm, that total lack of embarrassment when we grow up?
And the last reason for wanting to grow down? If I don't grow down, and instead keep growing up, I'll keep growing old. My beautiful (grown down) daughter was sitting on my bed while I got dressed the other day. She came up behind me and squeezed my bum. "I love your bum mum," she said. "Thanks lovely!" I said, deligthed to be appreciated. "Yeah, it's really squidgy." This was followed by a perfectly innocent "I like your boobs too - they look like monkeys hanging down from a tree."
So, two things I take from this. I have to make time to exercise so I do stay young and fit. And that kids call it as it is. They don't evaluate every comment, sanction every thought before they make them. They just accept who they are, and see things in simplicity.
So here's my simple thought. I'm super busy. I'm super stretched. I'm super sodding strangled. And I'm not feeling super at all. In fact, I'm feeling rather crap. So, I'm going to be grown up and cut down on work, and I'm going to be grown down and try and enjoy the simpler things in life.