There are times in life when you have an epiphany. When the stars align and a series of events occur. These events make you stop in your tracks. Look inside yourself and take a deep breath. All of a sudden something that has just been out of sight comes into view. And the world makes sense.
Now… this minute… as I write this post … is one of those times.
About Time & Deciding To Lead A Slow Life
The Past Couple Of Months
I’ve been struggling ever since Little Mister H was born. My depression and anxiety, which had been in remission for many years, has reared its ugly head. Perhaps it’s postnatal depression. I’m not sure. I don’t even know if it is necessary to apply a label to how I’ve been feeling.
I’ve had more down days, depressive episodes and anxiety attacks in the past few years then I have done in quite a while. And the past few weeks seem to have been particularly difficult.
I feel overwhelmed. Like I’m stretched too thin. I’m trying to accomplish so much. But I don’t accomplish anything. Sometimes I can’t even muster the energy to get off the sofa and face my husband or my children.
The simple truth is that I’m finding being a parent to two children difficult. I love my kids more than the world. I would die for them. But I’m not particularly enjoying being their Mum at the moment.
And I know that I’m not being a very good Mum. I’m impatient and stressed. I snap at the silliest of things. Instead of playing with my children, I lie on the sofa feeling tired and depressed. Forever telling them:
“One more minute. I’ll be with you in just one more minute.”
So back to today.
A few things have happened today that have left me feeling winded. And I’ve spent the past few hours crying while trying to process everything.
Firstly, this morning, a hearse pulled up on our road. We live in a lovely neighbourhood where most of the residents are families with young children or older retired people.
A lovely gentleman lived down the road. Every day, we would see him go for a walk to the shops to get his paper. If he saw us, he’d always say hello and smile at the children. He had a lovely smile.
I was looking out the window this morning and realised that I couldn’t remember when I’d last seen him out for his walk. Then the hearse pulled up outside his house. He’d passed away. And I felt like I’d lost a dear friend.
For a moment, I stood in front of the window and cried. I shed tears for someone I hardly knew.
A Few Hours Later
A few hours later, Little Mister, Little Miss H and I were leaving the house to walk into town. We were planning to go shopping and grab some lunch. Our lovely neighbour was in her garden, so we stopped and had a chat. I asked after her husband, who is tragically dying of cancer. She told me that the cancer had spread again and that they are looking to move him to a hospice.
As she talked about him there were tears in her eyes. And I wanted to give her a hug and take all the pain away. After telling her that we would help in any way we could, the children and I said our goodbyes.
But Maura’s face haunted me. And I began to think of how I would feel to be losing my Mr H. The man who means more to me than I can ever say. The man who is my world. My rock. My life. And once again tears begun to sting my eyes. But I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and carried on with my day with the children.
Going downtown to shop and have lunch isn’t an especially fun activity but we had lots of fun. Little Miss H told me the funniest stories about dinosaurs eating carrots and lettuce. And Little Mister H giggled or slept. They were adorable. And for a while, I felt like I had this Mum stuff sorted!
I’ve had weeks of stress with the children. And genuine fear and anxiety about how to manage the Easter holidays. So today was wonderful. Okay, it got stressful once we were home and they were both tired and grumpy. But until then we’d had a lovely day.
The rest of our day carried on as normal. The kids had dinner and a bath and then went to bed. Mr H and I had dinner. We then settled on the sofa to watch TV. Mr H went to bed at about 22:00 and I sat up to do some blog work. I decided to put another film on and I noticed that Netflix had About Time. So I popped it on.
I’d no idea that it’s such an amazing film. It’s beautiful and funny and heartbreaking. I started crying about an hour into the film and wasn’t able to stop until the end credits.
This film. This British romantic comedy was the final star to fall into alignment.
You see, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I live my life. My life, where I live with a chronic illness and take seriously strong medication daily. A life that I choose to fight tooth and nail. I won’t be kind to myself and accept that I feel as I do because I have an illness. No, instead I choose to believe that I’m a failure, lazy and a generally shit person.
But recently, I’ve been trying to accept that my life is as it is. That fighting it is exhausting and makes me miserable. By accepting my limitations and allowing myself to be, life is easier.
The Future And Slow Living
And so, dear readers, my point is really quite simple. All these events from the past few weeks and today have made me realise that I’ve been living my life incorrectly. I’ve been rushing around like a headless chicken. I’m so stressed about all the things that I need to do that I’m not spending time doing anything.
My time with the children is filled with impatient sighs and harsh words. My time with Mr H is filled with moaning and exhaustion. And it’s no way to live.
I’m getting so bogged down with the minutiae of life that I’m not able to appreciate the beauty of it. And I’m not able to see the love and joy all around me.
I can’t even see the beauty of our children. The children that we went through hell and heartbreak to have in our lives. My heart is filled with love for my kids and it saddens me that I haven’t been enjoying my life as their mum. I’ve been feeling so guilty about our disgusting house, or money or whether the kids are well behaved that I’ve not been able to enjoy the most important part of my life. My family.
THIS IS RIDICULOUS. It’is not what life is about.
Life is fleeting. It passes in a blink of an eye. And life, funnily enough, is for living. And living joyfully. Enthusiastically. Exuberantly.
It’s about savouring every moment. Enjoying it. Taking the time, not to worry about the things I can’t control, but to delight in the world around me. To do less of the things that make me anxious and stressed and more of the things that bring me joy and make me smile.
And I’m not saying that I won’t get stressed or anxious or depressed. But I’m going to try my hardest to realise, that those moments too are fleeting.
I plan to slow down. I’m going to practice the art of slow living. I’ll appreciate all the wonderful things that I have in my life. And I’ll treasure every moment. Because every moment with my family and loved ones is precious.
It’s about time that I began to really live my life.
“I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day to enjoy it as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”
About Time, Richard Curtis