What advice would your 80 year old self give you?

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As we celebrated Rory’s first birthday last week, I couldn’t help it but reflect on this past year. The massive changes little ones go through in only a year seem to make the passage of time feel even more obvious and fleeting, don’t they?

 

I’ve been thinking about all the ways he has changed. From the scrawny helpless newborn I caught in my hands as he took his first breath, to now, a chubby toddler who approaches life head first and grabs it with two hands (both literally and metaphorically).

 

I’ve also been thinking about how much I have changed. Of all the ways I am different because I am now his Mother too.

 

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And I’ve been thinking of how much we as a family have changed to embrace our littlest member, so much so, that we can barely remember what life was like without him.

 

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One year. When you’re staring down the barrel at it, anticipating something that is a year away -it feels like an awfully long time, doesn’t it? And yet it seems we blink and another one has flown by.

 

If anything the biggest lesson this past year has held for us has been in managing time. Or more accurately – in choosing how to spend our time.

 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the demands of having a young family, a partner, work, as well as feeling called to do things that you need to do to feel lit up.

 

Overwhelmed. Frazzled. Pulled in a million different directions. Managing to just keep your head above water. This can start to become the default place we live from.

 

But can I tell you it doesn’t have to be?

 

And sure, we could play the game ‘my life is busier than yours’ and scrutinize over who has more pressure, but instead I’d rather talk about how we can be in this incredibly busy stage of life without the overwhelm.

 

The first step is we need to stop. We need to be still. And we need to take a few bloody deep breaths.

 

Already you feel better, right?

 

Now I want you to list your priorities. What REALLY matters to you? Imagine you are 80 and looking back on this stage of life – what advice does your 80 year old self give you?
Housework? Nicer clothes? That new dining table you’ve been lusting over in the catalogue? – I doubt it.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to focus on every inch of my babies, whilst they’re babies, even when the never-endingness sometimes whispers it’s too much, that I can’t give any more.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to make sure that I make the time really be present with my husband. To make sure that at the end of this baby-ride I still know him well, even if my exhaustion makes me want to scream in frustration at his ability to sit amongst all the CRAP that needs doing and yet not SEE it.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to take the time to write my parent’s address for the one billionth time on yet another envelope that holds a single piece of paper with only the few letters ‘E a M o N’ and meticulously scrunched folded by three year old hands. And then to pay the $1 to send the letter, despite the fact that I’ve already spent a small fortune in the last few weeks sending identical love notes. She reminds me that he will not always be so giving with his words, nor will those we love always be there to receive them.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to say yes to day-long cuddles in 40 degree heat, despite the fact that I feel like I want to scream for god’s sake – get off me!  She tells me there will be a time when this physical attention will stop and then I will ache for this time of constant connection.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to go take an hour to myself, you deserve it sweetheart.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me turn the tv off, stop scrawling Facebook and Instagram and read, read, read.  She shakes her head and laughs at the memory of how we were all trapped by the obsession of those little squares for those few years.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to book a babysitter and go out with friends. She tells me to forget about feeling guilty over leaving the boys, even though the tears are hard to see when we say goodbye. She reminds me that I am a better Mum and partner when I’ve had a few hours of freedom from these roles to just forget about responsibilities and just laugh until my belly hurts.

 

+ My 80 year old self tells me to stop stressing about the state of my floors, the LOADS of washing, the constant washing up and to embrace them all as reminders of having a healthy, happy family.

 

+ My 80 year old self says to lighten up –  laugh and play more. You don’t have to be the rule-maker all the time – break them, roll on the floor, eat cereal for dinner.

 

So, I’d love to know.  What advice does your 80 year old self give you?

 

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