Nothing says ‘enjoying middle age’ like watching a “Law & Order” rerun and being slightly excited that it’s one you haven’t seen before. If I’m being honest, it means ‘not only enjoying middle age but embracing it’. There was a time when my life was a steady wave of chaos and drama and some of the memories I have actually feel like they belong to a totally different person. This comes in handy for some of those memories I don’t care to recall so easily. But there was also a time when I had to wrestle with the inner demons and the child pouting inside of me that did not want to always walk the straight and narrow, let alone be home on a weekend, watching TV and folding laundry. I was so used to chaotic and erratic events happening all of the time, that even as I started to tire of them, I was addicted to them. The smart, sensible part of me knew it was time to walk away from it all, but it is not as easy as it seems. Like the ‘sex, drugs and rock n’ roll’ adage, a crazy, daring lifestyle is dangerously addicting. If you ask any addict (recovering or not) what the hardest part of giving up their drug of choice is, they will tell you it’s the lifestyle. As stupid as it seems to the rest of the world, the very life that is drowning them is the life they crave. Basically, it’s like going from dancing on high wires and spinning on merry go rounds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to sitting on a park bench with nothing to entertain you, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but time on your hands. So yes, there wasstill a part of me that didn’t want to sit on that park bench even though I knew I should. I had to drag my inner child, kicking and screaming, and basically put her in a time out….for the rest of her life. Of course, I didn’t tell her the part about ‘rest of her life’. I figured I could put in my stint as a respectable wife and mother and then step back in to the excitement when that gig was up. So I basically lied to my inner child. And myself. The gig is never up. I went from chaos and crazy with nutty roommates, jobs that bordered on barely legal and daring weekend road trips and fun antics to chaos and crazy fuelled by Girl Guide meetings, school functions, making homemade granola bars and tending a garden while working well over 40 hours a week. My inner child was not happy with me.
Which brings me to ‘Law & Order’ and those evenings where I am already in PJ’s and on my couch with a bowl of gluten-free cereal mixed with my lactose-free milk (ya, that fun lifestyle wreaked havoc on my insides) and relishing an hour or so of quiet. For those who have known me most of my adult life, this is a far cry from what I was or what I was even expected to turn out as. depending on who you talk to, this could be a bad thing or a good thing! My children are seven years apart, so they didn’t experience a parallel upbringing; my first born literally had a different mother than my second child. For better or worse, my first born child had to grow up with a mom who was quite literally, growing up with her. As a young mom I made a lot of mistakes, but thankfully my daughter came out of it unscathed (and according to her, she came out of it smiling and happy — who knows, she hasn’t started therapy yet). My son, on the other hand, has had an entirely different life.
Which brings me to my point. Yep, I have one somewhere in here. It was about “Law & Order” and the joy of evenings alone or together as a family (which don’t happen as often as I secretly wish they would). It sounds a bit ridiculous, but there was a time when this mom couldn’t picture simple, easy times like this in her future. Not only did I get them, I no longer have to wrestle with my inner child to keep them. I actually look forward to them. I am grateful for them. Sometimes I think back with nostalgia on the whirlwind that was my youth and I can laugh (or shudder), but I no longer miss it. I would rather spend my evenings at home with a good book or movie, or good company. The laundry that still needs folding? That’s definitely something I could give up.