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The End of October

October 31, 2017
Written in bed last night….

 

The end of October has become a time of introspection for me. Years ago it was a time of heavy partying: Halloween, my birthday, Guy Fawkes… Now it means almost another year older and another year together with my partner- landmarks rather than hangovers.
I don’t have much time to be introspective these days, just as I have little time to blog (two years since my last post, where did the time go??), but somewhere along the line the urge is overwhelming and oops, I’m suddenly navalgazing.
It occurred to me that this has been the year in which I’ve felt my aging more keenly than ever. It started with a niggle in my back (“Oh, I’ve had back pain on and off since my twenties, it’ll be ok”) and became more and more painful until I really had to put life’s complexities aside and focus on my health (“Oh shit, I’m in so much pain that I can’t actually stop crying and would currently very much like to throw myself off a cliff”) I only have one body and that body needs my attention as much as my children do, if I want to be around for as long as possible.
Years of trying to hide those sneaky grey hairs had taken its toll on my luscious locks and so I decided to save myself the grief and to grey gracefully. At least until the dyed parts have grown out…
I’m not going to be able to turn back the clock, neither health-wise, nor appearance-wise (Hello, wrinkles!) but I can damn well worth with what I’ve got. That’s a good feeling.
My new year of life is another year in the direction of menopause and as much as my heart has enough room for more beautiful children, I also made the decision that our family is complete. I luckily still have my womb so “never say never” and all that but I feel that ship has indeed sailed. It’s bittersweet.
Also bittersweet is that Lewis and I have said goodbye to breastfeeding. For anyone who has breastfed full term and beyond, (firstly give yourselves a massive fucking pat on the back) I think you will understand this more than anyone. We didn’t mark “the end”. I didn’t get some breast milk jewelry made or write a journal entry or Facebook post on the day we stopped. One day, I don’t even know which day it was, we just left it. I told him the milk was gone so that other babies could drink it. Like my breasts are linked to some ethereal lake of milk from which all babies get their supply.
My children are growing up. My relationship with my partner is growing up. 10 years on and we have been through some extremely trying times in the last year to such an extent that I have been close to giving up. A wise friend once told me relationships are bloody difficult- you have to try every day. They won’t thrive on their own. I’ve returned to that conclusion again in recent times.
Friendships are a similar thing: Time, investment, effort are required. For a long time I thought that maybe I’m just not a likeable person, that everyone else was more worthy of friends than me. I started having flashbacks to my time at school, being the “7th girl” in my friendship group- always without a partner to hold hands with, always one of the last picked for sports teams. I hated it. (Yes, I potentially need to work on this a little more in therapy!)
However, I’m almost 37: Who is in control here? Me, and me only. I can hold out the hand of friendship or I can scurry away like I have more important things to do. My kids also need me to manage their friendships and social lives at this age so I really do need to overcome my psychological obstacles here, now.
It’s almost midnight and I should sleep, for tomorrow is the last day of October and I may need to deal with two costumed children tripping on Halloween treats. Wish me luck!
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