Tonight my kids are spending the night with friends, and because it is the middle of the week instead of the weekend I got a real feel for what it is going to be like when they have all moved on. It wasn’t quite a loneliness that settled on me, perhaps more of a melancholy. Going through the normal midweek routine without the usual kid activities, knowing there would be no interruptions or conflict or bedtime hugs or anything, was very sobering. It didn’t feel right; the house is supposed to be full of life; full of love and relationships. It just drove home how precious – and temporary – this time in my life is.

It made me thing that we have the concept of retirement backwards. We should be “retired” while the kids are young, and then pursue our careers when they have grown, rather than retiring once they are gone and the demands of life are fewer; with nothing but time to putter around in an empty house. All the family bonds and relationships, and all the demands of parenthood having taken place when we had the least amount of time and energy to deal with them.

This is why I need to break free, this is why I need liberty. There is nothing more fulfilling than relationships filled with caring and love, than feeling connected and accepted and wanted and needed. If I am going to take control of my life and how I spend my time, my to do list must start getting shorter. I’m not saying I’m just going to start ignoring things, but the number of things that are recurring must start getting smaller. This means finding the time to deal with them, which means I can’t continue giving the best of myself to something that sees me as an expendable commodity to be strip mined; as a resource to be exploited.

I must make the time now so I don’t find myself at some point in the future looking back with regret that I didn’t get to enjoy a rich family life while still young enough to make the most of it. Of course I need to provide for my family, but I must evaluate what it is I am providing them with. Am I really getting (and giving) the best of what life has to offer?


Posted on March 14, 2012, in Resilience and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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