So this week is a bit of a big one for me.
I’m turning 40 tomorrow.
Whilst I haven’t yet fallen victim to the melancholy that a birthday of this magnitude can conjure, I am acutely aware that I’m about to take a flying leap into the ‘middle aged’ bracket.
I remember as a teenager thinking that once I hit 25, it was ‘all downhill’ from there.
True story. What I didn’t know then!
I was clueless about what life was about until at least my late 20s, and only really started to figure anything out when I hit my thirties. Now I just feel like I’m starting to ‘get it’ and have at least some idea about what I’m doing and where I’m headed…and it feels like I’m standing at the top of the mountain, on the cusp of my downhill run.
It seems like a cruel irony that just as your mind begins to settle in and find its rhythm, your body starts to give you those little signals that its peak has long passed.
My body certainly feels every one of its forty years.
While I’m thrilled to be entering my ‘middle age’ in slightly better physical shape than I have been for the last few years, I feel tired. My ideal Saturday night is one spent with Lis and the kids in front of a good movie. With any delicious meal I haven’t had to cook myself.
If, however, I plan to do something outrageous like stay up for a movie, I’ll need to have squeezed a Nanna nap in if I aim to have a hope of staying awake to see the end.
Listen to me, I sound like I’m 80!
But it’s true.
Sleep is a very high priority for me and the reality is, I’m ghastly without it.
Just ask my family.
I wish I was one of the lucky ones who can thrive on 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Not a chance. I need eight, at the very least seven hours to be able to function.
I think one of the hardest parts about having a big family is the sleep deprivation, in that the length of time you are sleep deprived is elongated. It feels cumulative. With my oldest child being 15, and my youngest only one, I’ve basically spent the last 15 years (including pregnancy) having broken, interrupted sleep.
That’s the majority of my adult life.
While I’m not complaining, it helps to know why even the mention of something as benign as a ‘night out on the town with the girls’ literally sets my anxiety to an all-time high.
I’m just not up for it anymore – for me, the recovery takes days and the sleep deprivation is pure agony. Not to mention the bazooka-worthy hole in the budget that appears immediately after such an event.
I have good friends that right now are similar ages to me, who are embarking on the next stage of their lives. They have teenagers who are all but ready to leave the nest over the next few years, and so these friends are starting to branch out and rediscover their relationships, enjoy a bit more financial freedom, and start to travel again. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit there are days where I envy them. Imagine having the freedom to start a hobby, or join a weekend hiking group or just plain jet-set around each holiday.
I watch their holiday snapshots in awe of the places they go and things they see, knowing of course, that one day, my turn will come.
Not anytime soon, of this I am certain.
But trust me when I say that when our turn does come, I’m determined to be ready.
When the kids finally do start to leave the nest and fly off on their own, they won’t be the only ones beginning new adventures.