My mum used to say to me: “Don’t wish your life away.”
Nowadays I sometimes feel as though that’s all I do. To be more specific, I’m organizing my life away.
With four kids, my job, my husband’s job, and the diaries of both our ex-partners to co-ordinate, there are often times when I look up from the calendar and realise I’ve scheduled myself right out of the current school term and into the next-but-one.
This can be particularly painful when I have to re-adapt to not being in warm late summer and that campsite in France but instead in bleak mid-winter suburbia. January is a bad month for making wishes and looking away from the here and now. “I want to be thinner/fitter/better employed/better loved by X month,” we tell ourselves, shading our eyes as we scan the horizon for that magical time when everything will be perfect.
The temptation to hurry past moments of disappointment or frustration is immense, and only human. I feel this keenly as the mother of a child with autism. School is a big issue for us, and the day-to-day of persuading my child to go and, once there, to participate, is exhausting.
I often think that I can’t wait for her to be 18 and out of the system and able to pursue her own interests. Once she can take up a place at art school or drama school she will find herself surrounded by like-minded people, instead of being the class eccentric. She will be in her element, and happy.
And bingo! I’ve just wished 7 years of not only my life but someone else’s, away. This is distressing not least because in one thought I’ve missed all my daughter’s high school years (though I’m guessing some of you are thinking this is no bad thing!) but have also leapfrogged over the bulk of my 40’s and am now staring down the barrel of 50.
So what’s the solution? At this point an image pops into my head of a dude in yoga pants and red thread bracelets intoning banalities like “live in the moment.” I do live in the moment, thank you very much. I live in this moment, and this moment, and this moment, and they’re all very tiring. If I can just get through this moment here, and this one (and this one) then I’m further on my way to Friday night and that glass of wine.
Oops. There I go again.
One sure-fire way of not wishing anything is, for me (and some of you too, I know) to run. There is nothing purer and cleaner and stress-bustingly uncomplicated than feeling your heart beat to the pace of your breathing and your strides. There is nothing so good at placing you right at the centre and the now of your existence.
But I can’t run all the time. So I also take deep breaths, make mental checklists of all the good stuff, and I write. I also make sure to spend regular time with small people who smell good and can still fit in under my chin for a cuddle.
What about you? How do you fight the temptation to hurry past moments of disappointment or frustration?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Sophie Walker of the United Kingdom. Sophie blogs about her life as a mother and a runner here at www.courage-is.blogspot.com. She has published a book titled “Grace Under Pressure: Going the distance as an Aspergers mum”.
Photo credit to the author.