The need for new boots...

posted on: Tuesday, 1 September 2015

It's a strange time for me at the moment, right? I get it. But I am struggling not to react to it. It's so typical me, the ability to 'let it go' virtually non-existent! We return daily to our real house, the one that is un-built and un-pretty. Our belongings are piled up in dust-ridden places where they don't belong and having had an absence of six weeks, to go back is to look more dispassionately at what we own. For so long we've been working towards this build, starting any house-related discussion with 'when it's finished we will...' The desire to start again and bin most of our old belongings is almost overwhelming when I visit. I can't envisage them making their way back into the newly finished, white-washed space (when it exists; we are long way off now). We have accumulated things for years and have skirted around decluttering properly. The transition from young children (plastic stuff) to older children (gadget stuff) has not been faced. Our house creaks with items that are no longer needed. I shudder to think of the contents of our attic.

And so I react; I lie in bed (in the temporary little house, where rain falls on Velux windows and make a pitter patter noise) and think about owning less. I think about why have so much, as honestly it hasn't felt like we have gone out and bought more than anyone else. I walk the pup around the streets in our temporary village and see other little houses stuffed full of possessions. Porches jammed with welly boots and dirty trainers, pushchairs and rusty bikes. Where is the pretty?! I conclude that in modern family life, the pretty is hard to find - or at least hard to keep. I conspire to jettison all the stuff in our (real) house. I furtively like the scaled back style of the little (temporary) house. I feel guilt about our over consumption of stuff and that guilt is what prohibits me from throwing away. Vicious cycle!

Less stuff, more order - isn't this the way to happiness?

Yesterday, in a brief interlude from the British summer rain, I walked a coastal path for 20km with my friend Sarah, who is training for an endurance walk. We walked for nearly five hours and today - well today, I ache. Good ache though. The school holidays have meant very little exercise for me and for most mothers with school-age children, by the time September is on the horizon they are desperate for the restoration of some routine. 'When are they going back to school??!!' they yearn whenever eyes meet in traffic jams or in tourist-crowded supermarkets. My home town has become a place where summer people overload it during July and August, I look forward to when it's just me and the locals again.

September is always such a transitional time. More so that ever this year. My Portuguese tan is fading already and when I get dressed each morning, from my heavily edited out-of-a-suitcase wardrobe, I veer towards light layers and jeans. Back to jeans so soon? I feel like I never really got out of them. And of course we near boot season so I start the Googling. This year, these are calling me. Leopard is like a neutral, right?! What was I saying about acquiring less stuff? Oh, the irony.

And in amongst this I am still dealing with the daily challenges of parenting a teenage girl. The summer has brought a whole host of new issues. I am incredulous how much of a sucker punch parenting can be; just when you think you have it sorted, it brings an angle that I had not considered. Each and every time I am surprised, not ready, shocked. Even though I was indeed 14 once. And I have immersed myself in enough teenage self-help books to know that nothing should surprise me. It still does. Hmmmm. I live and learn!


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