Friends & Family, Grenglish, Health & Happiness, Life, Me
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As Good As It Gets

When you are a young child, you talk about what you would like to be when you grow up.

You dream big – astronaut, writer, doctor, fireman, landscape gardener, gymnast, politician, deep-sea diver, rock star, teacher, Queen of your own country; or perhaps even all of the above… *coughs*

As you enter your teenage years, maybe you start to think about who you will marry.  In my case, it was Michael J Fox and briefly Ralph Macchio, circa The Karate Kid Part 1.

Or maybe you will decide that marriage is an outdated institution and not for you at all.

I swayed between the two for many years.

You explore yourself. You get a sense of who you will become and perhaps more importantly, who you will not.

I quickly realised I did not have the education or patience to be a teacher, a doctor, or an astronaut. I did not have the courage of a fireman or a deep-sea diver, the flexibility of a gymnast, or the bloodline to be Queen. I did not have the voice of a politician or a rock star, and Michael J Fox was already married.

Your dreams do not become smaller, but you start to hone them in a bit more.

Writer. One day…

Then, you start to think about where you might like to settle. Perhaps you save for a deposit on a house.

Or, you change your mind and decide a mortgage is a lot of responsibility to have in your twenties and you want to see a bit more of the world first. So you sell your first flat and invest in a one-way ticket to Australia instead where you spend a year partying off the profits.

Hopefully I am the only one here who was that daft.

But the experience was life changing and the friends I made will be for life. You can’t put a price on that.

In your twenties, you crave independence. You want a job so you can move out of your parents’ house. The job you get is probably not the job you really want, but it is a start.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

You choose an area to live based on how many pubs you can count on the high street. Well, that’s what we did anyway.

We wanted to live in a flat with purple walls, across the hall from a couple of cute guys we could hang out with in coffee shops all day, before realizing the funny one was our lobster.

We each paid our share of the rent, argued over unpaid bills, and lived on pesto pasta and Dominos Pizza.

We swapped clothes and drank cheap wine. Although, not always in that order.

In your twenties, you can go out dancing all night and still turn up for work the next day, maybe looking a bit bleary eyed but nothing a sausage & egg McMuffin won’t fix.

You have yet to experience a proper hangover. The type that starts the morning after your 30th birthday and feels like a herd of elephants have stamped on your head and a dog has thrown up in your throat.

You lived in the moment then, because one day you’d settle down and be sensible.

That was always the plan – the dream job, the dream partner, the dream house and the perfect children.

The moment when you become a grown-up.

Then you get the career, the house, the husband, the growing family and more than a few grey hairs to prove it, yet you still don’t feel like one.

By the time you reach 40, you realise that nobody feels like a grown-up and we are all just winging it in our own way.

Maybe life turned out exactly as you planned and maybe it didn’t, but nevertheless you have come a long way and everything is moving in fast forward now.

It is easy to get caught up in the demands of work, family, friends and your children’s school.

You may wish for hard days to be over, for long weeks to end, and for holidays to arrive.

Sometimes we forget to take a minute to stop and appreciate what we have.

This is supposed to be the happily ever after part. The moment we have been building up to. These are the days of our lives.

Slow down. Enjoy it. Admire how wonderful your children are. Be proud of the career you have carved for yourself. Feel good about the friends who love you. Look at how much you have achieved.

You are probably in much better shape, more articulate, confident and self-aware. You can cook an entire meal from scratch and know how to mix a proper drink, not just one to blow your head off. You have learned the things worth holding onto and the things to let go. You have found your people.

You are in your forties and your walls are not purple.

This is as good as it gets.


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  1. This is SO TRUE Sarah. I often catch myself wishing away time, whether it’s a difficult day or weeks until a holiday, and then I panic that I’m wishing my life away. And I’m guilty of always working towards something rather than sitting back and enjoying the moment. I think we often get caught up in documenting a moment too, so photos for Instagram or our family album (ok USB stick) when actually we should just experience the moment as it is, rather than from behind a camera lens. Brilliant post :)
    Alison recently posted…The Blog WidowMy Profile

    • Thank you lovely. I too am often guilty of spending more time documenting a moment than simply living and enjoying it.

    • That’s how I feel, that is rushing past me too quickly. I think the realisation for me is how quickly the past year has gone since my son started school. All that build up and now his reception year is almost over. I don’t feel ready for Year 1 yet!!

  2. You make a very good point. I spend far too much time longing for things in the past and nowhere near enough being proud of where I am in the present. Beautiful post, but man HOW ON EARTH did you live with purple walls?
    Mum of One recently posted…Monday Parenting Pin It Party #59My Profile

  3. Gill says

    That post brought more than one tear to my eye Smudgio. Beautifully written.

  4. Such a fantastic post…. I was nodding my head throughout, and I have to say I much prefer where I am now compared to where I am now in my twenties, and I think this is part of the reason I am taking a blogging break over the summer, so I can sit back and appreciate things a little more. X
    older mum in a muddle recently posted…A Little ReliefMy Profile

    • Me too, as much fun as my twenties were I am pleased to have them behind me now. This is my happy place now. Just need to remind myself of this sometimes :-)

  5. Loved this. Stop, slow down, look at what you have and appreciate it. Great advice! (and yes, I think we all made financial mistakes like that! :D) xx

  6. Bloody loved this and love you, so so true and it took losing a friend recently to really fully take take to appreciate every moment, to look around and breathe it in, to appreciate how far we’ve all come and how much we have, these are the days of our lives. Loved this so much x
    Honest Mum recently posted…Party Al FrescoMy Profile

  7. Soula says

    Everything about this is spot on! I’m 38 with 2 kids and still waiting to feel like a ‘grown up’. Life is chaos but you’re right, sometimes you need to appreciate how great that chaos is because it means you have a full life Love it!

  8. I love this post so much. I’m not quite in my forties yet, but when I do get the occasional pang of wishing I could travel more, or have more freedom and more time to myself, or a flatter stomach… I remind myself how nice it is to be settled and happy and to be able to drink nice wine with my husband at night instead of 50p vodka shots with strangers in the student union. Let’s keep winging it, eh, but appreciate the good bits (and the fact that walls aren’t purple!) xx
    Ruth recently posted…Living and Loving as an IntrovertMy Profile

  9. I love your posts! I wonder what would i say about myself if as a 7 year old i would come and visit right now? Probably one of the questions will be:
    “Why are you at home with your children and where is that big mansion you always dream off?”
    otilia recently posted…Parenting Pin-It Party #59My Profile

  10. Lovely post. I had a real I am doing it moment this week, this is all that stuff I wanted when I was little. It isn’t perfect, there are things I’d tweak, but you are so right, we should be celebrating it!
    Penny Alexander recently posted…Easy Family GlampingMy Profile

  11. I may be a bit slow on the uptake here but i bloody loved this! I am so guilty of looking forwards rather than enjoying the here and now. Did you ever have the purple walls though? We used to have maroon – ghastly x
    Hurrah For Gin recently posted…A Family Portrait For JuneMy Profile

  12. Manneskjur says

    This is so true and something I’ve been feeling more and more lately. That my priorities are not quite right, that I need to ‘live’ more if that makes sense. Beautifully written Grengers x

  13. Pingback: Tuesday Treats: July 2014 « dorkymum

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