I am stuck halfway between a great book and a gripping book. The gripping one (The Girl on the Train) won over and I have read it cover to cover in less than 24 hours. I feel slightly dazed now; words swimming before my eyes. A satisfying read though. I will now revert to the great book (The Lives of Girls and Women) which is entirely more high-brow, but slower in pace.
It's my birthday tomorrow. After all of the fanfare last year of turning 40, what can I say a year down the line?! It's been a funny old year! The thing I wanted the most (freedom from working and space for myself) has turned out to be a challenge. Of all the times in my life, my 40th year saw me with more time on my hands than ever before and the reckoning that life had altogether shifted and changed. There were a few factors here; having a teenage child (which serves to remind you how long ago it was since you were 13) to noticing how many of my peers have returned to paid employment after years of housewifery. I did it all the other way round. The realisation that if I spend too much time alone, at home, I get this pervading feeling of stillness/frustration/boredom - even when there are a million things that need doing. The urgency seeped out of me month to month and instead I went from day to day; opening the blinds each morning and thinking: can another day have passed?? It's a curious thing.
So not an unhappy year exactly, but a pensive one. And I now conclude that the time is up for all that thinking and instead it's time for doing. I know, I know, I have said this before; bear with me.
I realise (and this could be my maturing years) that in fact the quality of your life DOES indeed depend on the quality of your thoughts. It's all about how you look at things.
I move steps closer to securing a place doing a Master's Degree in Writing; I had an interview yesterday, waiting to hear. I realise that of those million tasks that the housewife should complete; many can wait. I can steal a dog walk or a pub lunch with my husband when he works at home and feel grateful that we have that luxury. I covet things on line and then get over myself a day later; the beauty of the 'add to cart' option that never progresses to 'checkout'. I ponder whether I am too old for boyfriend jeans (I'm saying I can wear them; just). I try not to think too much about how it's all going to feel ten years from now. Or twenty.
I guess this year has been spent carving out a place I'm comfortable in. It feels as if before now, there were a series of choices (career, marriage, home, kids) that now, at the ripe of age of nearly 41, have come home to roost. Me? Mother of a teenager and a nine year old? Married for fifteen years? Washing my kitchen floor and hoovering most days? Seeing photos of myself and thinking - where did those laughter lines come from?! Furtively wishing I had once in my life been platinum blonde and wondering if I ever will be. Genuinely and actively deciding whether to age gracefully. Having a genuine interest in face creams that promise miracles. Being outraged by things that didn't used to outrage me. This is all part of life's rich tapestry...happy birthday me.