Two down, one to go of three weekends in a row with no parenting responsibilities. The spontaneous going to see music, taking in a yoga class, late nights and breakfast with friends has reminded me of the days before I had a child.
It’s made me reflect how much the Cheeky Monkey has changed my life. Things are more settled, I’ve moved cities and countries less with only two big geographical moves in the last 9 years and I’m more involved in the wider community.
The marking of time has become more apparent too. The Cheeky Monkey is ten years old. How did that happen? I feel the same (denial I know) but I must be different. I look at him and know I’m getting older too. I feel an urgency to get things done, to take the bull by the horns. Or is to make hay while the sun shines? Idioms have never been my strong point!
As a younger person, my life seemed boundless, the edges not visible to me at all. Now I can see our finite existence and feel the urge to make things count.
I love this awareness. I really believe that if you want to do something, you should just get out there and do it. Don’t wait for the right this or that. Start off small and create the right time, place and situation. It’s possible and necessary if you want to get those dreams out of your head and into the world. Starting in on your dream project doesn’t mean you have to do everything all at once, or all by yourself. Lots of small actions add up over time.
I know it seems easier said than done.
Plunging into the unknown has always been my favourite way of operating. Got a problem? Great, let me help solve it. Want to go travelling to faraway lands? Count me in. Need a buddy for adventures? Please pick me! But risk taking and parenting don’t always go hand in hand. In my time as a parent, I’ve really come to understand the value of the long haul. The past 8 years or so has seen me in a permanent and fairly stable job, the longest stretch of fulltime employment in my life. I didn’t work a Monday to Friday job until I was 27 and even then I quickly requested different hours from 9-5. I lasted two years. I didn’t work fulltime again til I was 36.
To my surprise, there have been benefits associated with this relative stillness in these years since Cheeky Monkey. I’ve got great networks, personal and professional. I’ve been able to spend time with immediate family on a more regular basis. I’ve learned the beauty of putting in time in a place, on a project, with people and reaping the rewards of friendship, support and knowledge, and being in the midst of things not just at the beginning but during the middle and the end too.
It doesn’t mean I still don’t prefer the unfamiliar and new. I do. But I’ve realised I can have the best of both worlds with a bit of tweaking. Working on your dreams doesn’t depend on your situation – it just depends on you putting yourself and your wellbeing front and centre. You can manage big risk if you do this – take a you-centred approach.
I’ve loved my weekends with no plans or responsibilities other than to myself, feeling single and free. For the third weekend though, I’ve decided I’m going to take my Cheeky Monkey out on a date and do something new. Just him and me – single and free can mix it up with responsible and being a mother.
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