The last couple of days have been hard work and I’m feeling kind of exhausted. I made a decision to push through on some work last night, so I then made an associated decision to take an extra 30 minutes or so of sleep this morning.
It doesn’t feel like enough.
My eyes are itchy, my sinuses are blocked up and there’s a constant feeling of a lump in my throat. Welcome standard Winter virus. Not unexpected, but I guess I had thought this year was going to be different. And you know, it actually has been a little different in that I’m recovering more quickly, it took a longer exposure than usual to lay me low, and even just having had one bout of illness as opposed to carrying it constantly with me over the three months leading up to Christmas. It’s okay, I think. Yeah, I think evidence is pointing in the direction of a somewhat improved immune system.
But it’s not just the virus and extra teaching work that’s made the last few days so difficult. G. was away in Dublin until late last night, so I’d a couple of days of “doing it all myself”. During Summer and other holidays I’ve often felt that I’m doing the majority of “house” stuff – obviously when G. goes off to GenCon and stuff, I’m definitely doing it all on my own, but that’s got nothing on trying to work a busy job and do all the house stuff. I thought I was pulling my weight. On some days, some weeks I may even have felt that I’ve been doing more than my fair share. But two days of doing all has hi lighted how impossible it is for me. I would collapse with exhaustion. I would never run. I wouldn’t get my work done. The house would become an infectious cluttered mess and we’d eat nothing but chips and chicken nuggets. Maybe just crisps and yoghurts some nights.
Basically it was horrible and I feel a bit judgemental of myself in light of the fact that true lone parents actually exist out there in the world. And the hardest thing – or so I hear – is not just managing the logistics of daily life, but the loneliness of navigating life’s decisions and big events without a partner to bounce things off and support you in the course of it all.
What I’m coming ’round to is – I’m very bloody grateful for my husband. I’m super grateful that we have a lot of the same approaches to so many things that we face together in life. Because there was no course or manual before getting into this. There’s actually no decent preparation for daily life. We spend 18+ years being schooled in preparation for work – and that’s usually pretty insufficient; most jobs require years of job-specific learning and mentoring before you’re in anyway proficient. But child-rearing, household running, self-management, self-care, mental health – all stuff we don’t bother to address directly anywhere in the creation of our society’s adults.
I’m forty now. Forty is no longer a “young” adult. I’m loathe to call it “middle-aged”, but sure, yeah, it’s approaching the middle of things, isn’t it? I’m sitting smack bang in the big middle bulge of the normal curve right now (although, age isn’t normally distributed, so, hmmm. Yeah, I know, easy to tell I’m teaching Leaving Cert. statistics at the moment); definitely couldn’t be called anything other than an adult anyway. All the same, it’s pretty hard to feel like I’m still pretty new to the job of being a grown-up.
This year, just this very last year, I’m finally starting to develop a feeling for how to do things as an adult. And I’m definitely unconvinced that I’m doing any kind of a decent job at it. Over and over I ask myself if it was like this for my parents. I’m at an age now when I remember my parents clearly at this same age. I was 12 when my mother was 40. And for years at the point she had been moving through the world with confidence and definite surety in her decisions. Was she an adult sooner because she faced harder things in life? Her childhood surely had more responsibility that mine. But who taught her about managing finances and running a household and managing her mental health?
Although … if I think hard enough about that, maybe it becomes clear that she didn’t learn all of those things. Maybe she still feels like I do every day – just at the beginning of learning all these things.
I just want more time.
I want to do it all right.