The comings and goings of almost adult children brings instability, an ever-changing family scape. One leaves for a year and then returns, another has just left for university, and another (my nephew) has moved in. On top of that we got a new puppy (it seemed like a good idea at the time).
I am feeling overwhelmed – like I should be attending to multiple things, only I am not quite sure what those things are (except when I am just about to fall asleep). I don’t like this edgy sensation, but I also know this flux is going to continue for a good while yet, so I am going to have to get used it, or run away and hide.
I remember my mother talking about wanting to live all by herself in a beach hut by the sea when I was the same age as my children are now. At the time I didn’t get it and thought her desire both ridiculous and selfish. Now I just want to bang on her driftwood door and be allowed to enter her haven of order and certainty.
There is some research that suggests that lifetime happiness is shaped like a U, decreasing steadily until the age of 44 before rising again. Other research correlates happiness with the age of your children, dropping as they reach teenage years only to rise again once they leave home. However, I am not sure what happens when you reach forty-four at the same time as your children leave home, but also come back again, and you add another one (and a puppy) into the equation. Am I heading for my happiest or unhappiest year yet? Will I even have time to notice?
And then I am reminded of the saying; be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.
It is so easy to get caught up in the minutiae of life, to rush from one task to another without considering just how invigorating change and instability can be. So things are little manic right now. But before I know it, the children will be gone, the puppy grown, and all I will be left with is a perfectly ordered home and deep yearning for the past, unless I too embrace this state of flux, go with the flow and see where it takes me, rather than wishing everything could remain the same. There’s plenty of time for that, but only when I am dead.