I always feel a little melancholy as Summer begins to come to an end. I get angsty as each GAA senior county championship match gets played and another tier is eradicated. We’ve only got the All-Ireland finals left now – a sure sign that Autumn has his feet well settled under the table.
We’ve now been back in the Burren for one entire year. But where did the time go? And what on earth did I do with it? Like a slightly tipsy 27 year old on New Year’s Eve, I’m struggling to come to terms with that creeping dread that last year’s resolutions accidentally got packed away with the Christmas decorations. Except that I’m not 27 any more and, in terms of ‘getting stuff done’, should perhaps be trying a whole lot harder.
Everyone has a secret, private, day-dreamy image of themselves which depicts them at the exact time when their life has finally come together and all is ‘in order’. In my head, I can picture my perfectly complete self – I’m wearing smart-casual, vaguely-designer run-around-town clothes, with appropriately on-trend trainers and some nice earrings. You know, one of those looks that can take you from day to evening with the addition of a scarf, just like in the magazines. My curly hair is tamed into a chic curly blow-dry (my perfect-self gets a blow-dry twice a week); my nails are manicured; my skin, facialed. I actually go to the dentist, remember everyone’s birthday with a gift/card, sent and received on-time, and I complete all insurance shopping-around at least two days in advance of said insurance’s expiration. My phone is pre-loaded with interesting, intelligent podcasts to listen to, my handbag has a maximum of five objects in it (including Mac’s latest must-have lipstick), and my house is Architectural Digest ready, always, complete with fresh flowers. The perfect me only eats chocolate as a treat, when it’s organic and 70% cacao. Oh – and never EVER watches The Real Housewifes of (insert preferred US state) just because it happens to be on. That would just be a waste of the perfect me’s precious time.
Here are a few things the ‘perfect me’ would have sorted a long time ago and yet I’m still struggling to get much further than the starting line:
- I hoped I might have written more this Summer. I love writing and I should make more time for it.
- I hoped the house would be in better order. Plans to rearrange furniture, de-clutter and get some painting done while the sun shone have remained at the planning stages.
- Where has my own, personal life gone? By this I mean reading a book, listening to music, going to a concert, seeing more friends – more regularly.
- What happened to plans to print photos, clear out the freezer, buy a mop (I’m not joking), sort out the kids clothes, stick up wall stickers in their room (also in need of a paint!), make more progress in the garden, get on top of paperwork…
It’s all the potential to complete, to achieve – it gets on top of a girl!
My ‘perfect me’ character has been keeping me company for going on twenty years now and in fairness, she’s been a great companion – a worthy aspiration to aim towards. However, I feel her days may be numbered. The cracks are beginning to show. You see, she’s not really very likeable. Yes, she’s on top of everything, but she’s not a whole load of fun. Who could possibly relate to her? Who would want to? Come on woman, where is your humanity?
Two very real humans, my sister and I, were recently chatting about living a real human life in the real human world. You know, by living I mean getting all the mundane stuff done, while making time for the more worthwhile stuff – and all of this while making sure we’re not actually ‘doing’ all the time. It’s really, really difficult. Especially when you take a look around and compare yourself to others – all of whom appear to have it all, together, with a skinny latte on top.
My sister (the oracle!) said: “Being realistic, everyone’s only got 24 hours in the day. Even if they look like they’re doing it all – they’re really not”.
When you think about it, it really makes sense. Life is not a destination – it’s a work in progress.
When you stay at home with your children all day, every day, it’s really hard to see that you’re actually achieving. It’s very slow and extremely gradual, but before you know it another Summer is at its end, he’s skipping off to playschool and she’s toddling around with confidence. And for now, that has to be enough. No doubt the perfect me would be plotting their progress on some kind of pie chart, but she’s not me. It’s as much as I can do to keep the show on the road, the sofa hoovered and everyone fed, watered & alive – those blow-dry appointments, that facial, the perfect outfit… they’ll have to wait. I’m too busy living.
Here’s to a lovely, fun Summer that was, and all the stuff that got put on hold while we kept our heads above water.
This blog post has appeared on: huffingtonpost.co.uk