It’s March and basically most of the people I am close to celebrate their birthdays in this month and also a lot of their siblings. Yes their parents really did enjoy the month of June .. ahem(!)
Each year, each of them don’t like to talk about their looming birthday nor the advancement in age and each year me being me – I just love forcing them to talk about it!
We talk about how things have changed and where we were a decade ago… yes a decade ago. I then look at my children who count the months to their next birthday and are bursting with excitement with the prospect of turning a year older.
Today I was watching my youngest as she was skipping around the room singing happily and oblivious to the stresses of life. She has no idea what’s to come, what’s expected of her, how life will change her. It took me back to my memories of spending time at home at her age, playing and just consumed with the thought of what toy I wanted next or when I’d be able to go to the corner shop and buy some sweets.
I remember well, the intense desire to turn 18 when I was at secondary school. My friends and I would sit and talk about how great life was going to be and how we wouldn’t be held back in anything we wanted to do… by our parents. Yes those horrible monsters that just didn’t want us to have fun, they just didn’t understand, they were soooo serious.
The 18th birthday soon came and suddenly we were invincible. We could do anything we wanted and there were no consequences.
I remember driving on the motorway at 120mph, zooming past every car with utter satisfaction, crazily zig zagging through the lanes, unaware of what trauma I would leave behind if I were to crash. It didn’t matter, I had nothing to lose.
Then the 21st soon came and suddenly I was ‘wise’, I had a degree and a CV (a whole page full wow wee) of revered companies listed on it. I knew everything. The world was my oyster or so I thought.
My 25th birthday was a slight awakening… I remember realising my car insurance was going to be lower than it had ever been, which meant that I must be mature… well old. I remember my other half laughing at me as I said this.
One thing I did realise was that it was time to really settle down and start a family.
Then the children came and each one that came along marked a new era for me. Life started changing more quickly than I had imagined and I started to do things that I didn’t think I was capable of.
I began to surprise my mum and grandma and could see the joy on their faces as they realised that I had been taking in what they had been teaching me. I had been listening.
I was actually capable of waking up at 6am without being asked to! Woo(!)
And now here I am… getting older… slightly wiser than I have been. I realise I have a lot to learn and improve on.
I see a lot of pain around me and I want to help. I want to ‘save’ people from making the mistakes I did, to show them that I’ve learnt that some things in life are of no use and bring no benefit.
I want to invest in my children and set an example. I can finally see myself growing. I now know that everything I do has a consequence, an effect.
I now have a moral compass, a conscience that can see beyond me, myself and I.
I guess that is the beauty of becoming older. Each year that goes by, our stresses grow but so do we. We have more responsibilities, more pressure but more resilience than ever before.
Now when a car drives past me at 50mph on a 30mph road I cringe, I freeze up. All I see is the car crashing into another car, the wreckage, the aftermath. I understand where that young person is, I’ve been there. I understand why they don’t think it is an issue, why they don’t think their hand could slip off the wheel, that they could miss a red traffic light – they’re in control don’t you know?
I get tempted to go up to them and shout at them and say ‘I’ve got young kids here, be careful!’, but I know in my heart, they won’t listen, it’ll mean nothing to them because they don’t have children yet. They don’t have much to lose. At least that’s how I used to see it.
And so I carry on walking or driving, just praying that God will look after them and my children.
For now I fully understand it is only God that controls our lives and what happens to us next. Not us.
And so as my loved ones turn a year older this month, I don’t want them to despair.
Yes they’ve seen a lot and yes they know that there is worse yet to see and as much as we don’t want to see it, we are the generation of yesterday, we are now heading toward the road to wisdom… to take the place of our parents… the people that were so serious and sooo boring and who we now know were the only people that ever really had our backs and each word they uttered was for our benefit.
For life wasn’t about them. It was all about us…
We’re getting there… slowly… slowly… getting there.
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