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And Just Like That… It’s May!

And Just Like That… It’s May!

“Where the hell is the year going?!”

Last night, I met up with my besties for a good excuse to hang out and eat delicious food at a local new pop-up. It’s rare to get us all together. You know the score; forty-somethings, juggling career goals and kids bedtimes, cats to consider and dogs to rescue, loft extensions and walls to knock down. We laugh a lot. The old-jokes are still fresh to us, still really tickle us. We don’t believe for a second that we’ve changed and simply cannot fathom that the ridiculous anecdotes we forever indulge in from our uni days actually happened 20-plus years ago. On the other hand, we can’t hack it like we used to. We’re slower on the grape, more interested in the menu. Getting home for a good night’s sleep is preferred over a sneaky nightcap, and we’re not afraid to admit it. But one thing that seems to freak us all out collectively is how quickly our life is flashing before us.

“It was Christmas five minutes ago,” said one pal. “But suddenly, I don’t have a free weekend until July.”

“Tell me about it,” said another. “I gave birth to my daughter yesterday… and she’s turning 10 on Saturday!”

We’re thick into the age of calendar-checking. Every meet-up is a conundrum. We not only have endless commitments, but once you hit a certain age, we have to schedule in somehow allowing our bodies to move and our bodies to recover! I absolutely love my busy jam-packed life, grateful for all who want to play a part in it. I embrace all what gets thrown my way with having two young children and running a business. But it can take my breath away. I get caught out, for a brief moment here and there. I realise I’m going at such speed that I might arrive at whatever destination I’m heading towards a little baffled how I got there. This scares me, and I’m not alone. It was the general feeling amongst my friends.


It comes back to, can we have it all? It’s like Oprah says, “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” I have created a business that works around my kids’ school life. I’m able to take them to swimming lessons, gymnastics, play dates… This sounds like a win-win but it’s incredibly hectic. I am forever looking at my watch, digging into my tired creativity to find ways of saying, “Hurry up, we’re going to be late!” When it all falls into place, and I get a moment to think, I wonder if I have made sacrifices to my career that I might regret one day. But I’ll spot a sign for a new ‘playgroup’ and think that’s aimed at mums like me…then my heart skips a beat when I realise my kids are long out of that phase. In a couple more years, my son will be starting high school, begging for independence. It can feel like a long way off, but with every date in the diary taken care of and much more loving and living to squeeze in around the planned events, he will be off to uni before I’ve had time to indulge in my old anecdotes again!


At this stage in life, maybe it’s the norm to be having a freak out. I’m careful not to call it a mid-life crisis. There’s not a sports cars or sordid affair (I hope) in sight. But lately I seem to be full of questions and left with no time to find out the answers. The smallest thing can start me off, maybe because the anxiety just adds onto any previous anxieties that haven’t had their chance to air. There’s always a worry that I’m not doing the best for my kids, weighing up all the pros and cons. Should we live abroad again? Do we need more space? Is the city bad for them? When it comes to work, how can I learn to accept the quiet times and thrive better when it’s full on? Will I ever make a bold decision again, ask those big questions and send that potentially life-changing email? Or am I too scared? Gosh, am I still scared of failure? All these years - decades - into my profession? Can I still have big dreams or should I let them go?


So many questions…


Sigh. Because instead of wishing on the stars and allowing that Eureka moment to happen, I’m too busy hanging out the washing whilst simultaneously answering emails, binge-watching Baby Reindeer and cursing myself for managing only six hours sleep a night.


Recently, I went on holiday to California with my little family. We’d been craving a change of scenery for a while and this did not disappoint. There’s something about the blue sky on the Pacific coast. It’s brighter. So much bigger. I had some headspace to think as we drove down the wide highways. The kids seemed content just being around us and got truly excited about looking out of the window and trying to spot the Hollywood sign in the distance. It spurred me onto thinking big, thinking about our next step. What sort of leap, if any, was I ready to take? Whatever that might be, I should do it soon. The years are flying by so fast…


…And before we knew it, we were back home, back to the routine, back to whizzing through life and updating the diary for days, weeks, months ahead. I don’t mean to complain. Even though our trip was amazing, you can’t beat your own bed, your own hairdryer. Plus, the calendar  is splattered with its fair share of fun stuff, apart from the dentist maybe (which I’ve been known to cancel, often, eek…) I just catch a glimpse of my tired face in the mirror, wonder if the collagen supplements are working, and think, wouldn’t it be great to have another couple of hours in the day. I hold my children’s hands on the way to school and want to cherish their little fingers on my palm, only we’re running late and hoping to make it to the gates before the bell rings. Somewhere in my head, I toy with that possible idea for a bestseller, a screenplay, visualise the red carpet, the Oscar, then lose all track of my thoughts when the doorbell buzzes and it’s Amazon, again. Another day passes.


Tomorrow will be clearer…


Or, maybe next week.


John Lennon wrote that, “Life is what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans.” It really is all the little stuff in between that counts just as much - if not more - than the dates we pin down and the meet-ups we show our faces at. Some of it is good; the first sip of coffee in the morning, the bedtime stories. Some of it sucks; tough waiting games and battles to fight. Time is completely out of our control. Funny how we find such a solid fact so hard to accept. Perhaps we just need to look up, once in a while, and stare at whatever sky hangs above our heads. This, is where we are. So this, is where we should be.

By Hayley Doyle





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