Wednesday, 30 December 2015

New box

Every time in my life I've had to tick one of those damn boxes: are you '25-29' '30-34' '35-39' '40 - 44' etc I've just ticked and not really given it much thought. A friend on my 30th kindly pointed out I was 'in a new box' but it didn't phase me - age is just a number.

Really, in my case it has been. Often I find myself shocked to wake up and discover I am responsible for two other lives on this planet; I read my 17 year old diaries and feel exactly the same sentiments; I  go for prosecco with the 23 year old Uni graduate next door and think we have loads in common... And yet, in the past month I feel I have entered a new box. A new zone.

I can put it down to 2 things - the first being my upcoming hysterectomy. Yes, everyone else gets a new year hangover and I get a hysterectomy. Yay me! The hospital sent me the leaflets and on the cover are all these grey haired older ladies laughing - obviously just tickled pink at the thought of being womb-less, and I thought 'Christ, is that me now?' My Mother had the same op when I was 11 and I remember thinking it was for OLDER women - like REALLY old - and yet, she was younger than me when she had it. Similarly my Aunt had one aged 41. So here I am, in the era of untenable periods and gynaecological surgeries.

Obviously I'm thrilled about no longer having to suffer for 3 weeks of every month - but there is a part of me that mourns my fertility. That though I don't want any more children, I'm saddened that the child bearing years are over. That I'm done. There is something so finite about it all - that is hard to swallow. Most of all, the knowledge that that era has passed... and the new one makes me... old(er).

The other reason is a sadder one: in the past month I have had so many friends lose their parents or receive devastating news about their health. This Xmas, as I sat next to my Mother as she drove around Ireland, shopping for her perfect Xmas, I looked at her with new eyes - simply grateful to have her in my life. I'll confess I take my parents for granted, expect them always to be around - have only in the past few years put my childhood grievances to bed, and embraced this new dynamic.

Are we really here - at an age where our parents are not the robust over-bearing energetic folk that we once knew? Even, are we?

This Xmas, though it is far from my favourite holiday (too much stress and pressure and expectation for the good of anyone's health) I jumped head first into the celebration pool - made time for all my family, flew home to Ireland, though it was far from the easy option. Rather than eating out as I preferred, I respected that my Mum loves a home cooked turkey instead. It's time for me to be less selfish - to just accept my folks for who they are and relish what I have.

Because of the new box. The box that says I'm not 23 any more, and make up isn't going to hide the morning after the night before sins. That I no longer paint the town red, but cosy up inside friend's houses with all our children running feral way past bedtime. That conversations with my 17 year old niece suggest I am the older tragic adult who thinks they are still cool but is far removed from the word as is possible. That exercise isn't a choice any more, but a necessity. That a size 4/8 may no longer be within my grasp - and that is OK. For the first time in my life, I'm in a new box. But I'm here and that is all that matters.

1 comment:

Chaos said...

I enjoyed this entry x