It was my birthday on Friday and I was 37. I had a really chilled out weekend, with a vintage teaparty with my friend and 4 children on Friday, a delicious Sunday roast at a local pub today (without the children- woohoo) and a reflexology treatment. It's been lovely.
I've never been particularly bothered about becoming another year older, but 37 seems to be a bit of a tipping point for me. I'm not early thirties, I'm not really mid thirties, I'm entering my late thirties...this is uncharted waters. By this age I imagined that I would have finished having (at least 3) children, I would be on my way to being a having a fabulous job in the NHS, it would all be going exactly to plan.
However. Life over the past few years hasn't exactly gone to plan. I had 5 miscarriages between my 2 children, leading to a lot of medical tests, a lot of tears and a 5 year age gap between my children. I now have a toddler whilst all my friends' children are at school. I absolutely adore the ground he walks on and I wouldnt change anything, but it isn't what I had planned. I was offered the super duper job in Devon 3 years ago, but had to turn it down as we had elderly relatives to care for in Birmingham. One of them has had cancer and one sadly passed away last year. The NHS is a very different place to what it was 5 years ago. Promotions are scarce, cutbacks are rife, we are being told to work harder than ever and to be grateful that we have jobs.
I thought we would be living in a 4 or 5 bedroom house, preferably somewhere Victorian, a bit arty, a bit more expensive. In reality, house prices have crashed and the little semi we bought 5 years ago is looking like our lifetime home.
"The plan" has gone a wee bit pearshaped and it feels like it is time to take stock of my life, figure out what really matters and make some new plans for my late thirties/ forties.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat in the waiting room of the Oncology department of my local hospital, waiting to hear whether my mother in law's cancer had come back. That 20 minute wait was the longest of my life. Time seemed to stretch out endlessly. We flicked through magazines but didn't read the words. I tried to make small talk with her about the weather and the Olympics, whilst inside my heart was pumping. We had been here before, as much of my maternity leave was spent at a different cancer treatment centre, breastfeeding my baby whilst she was having her radiotherapy. Neither of us could bear to get up when the consultant called us into his office.
It was good news. The lump that they had found wasn't cancerous and she was free to go. I thought that I would feel elated but I didn't. I felt a mixture of weariness and the overriding feeling that I never wanted to be back in that room again. At that moment, my goals for the next 15 years were crystal clear.
1. Spend as much time with the children as I can
2. Make some quality time to be with my husband, even just a couple of hours a month
3. Enjoy what time we have left with my mother in law, the children's beloved Granny and
4. Look after myself, because if I dont do that, I cant do 1,2 or 3.
In the 8 years since I first became pregnant, I haven't done any regular exercise. I have lived on hardly any sleep for years and staggered through the day on a mixture of tea, nervous energy, chocolate and cake. It shows. My skin is grey, my eyes have bags, there are wrinkles appearing.
I've got to do something...
So this week, I have been on the wii fit twice. It told me that it had 1325 days since my last visit. That's not great is it? Tonight, my daughter rode her bike whilst I ran around the local roads, puffing like nobody's business and going as red as a beetroot. Of course, I bumped into 2 people I know- the shame!
We ate the last of the birthday cake today and tomorrow I am starting a detox. It's called Jason Vale's 14 days to turbo charge your life and involves lots of smoothies, fresh juice and moving my bum off the sofa. Gulp. A colleague at work recently did it and her skin, hair and eyes looked so healthy and shiny.
I am also starting to do some mindulness techniques, to help me to stop worrying about the plans we had that didn't happen and just to enjoy each moment, each day as it comes.
I expect I will fall off the wagon spectacularly, with the exercise and the healthy eating, but I really want to give it a go. I don't want my kids to remember me as tired, grumpy and stressed out every evening because I'm shattered. I want to have enough energy to play with them, to dance with them, to ferry them around when they are teenagers.
Plan B starts today :) Wish me luck x