09/12/16 17:16 Filed in: Family
The day of my youngest's 21st birthday seems like a good time to start a mid-life crisis. Menopausal hormones aren't a necessary requirement I find - just the passing of time.
Bless him, but despite much coaxing, my son insisted that he didn't really want a meal or a party. He just asked if his friend could join him in a friendly beer, sitting around a fire outside. It revisits the theme of his 18th birthday and also that of his older twin brother and sister when we held a winter garden party where a vast host joined us in a barbeque and fire in the freezing cold. It seems that age has mellowed him and the theme has downsized. Being what we are however, we couldn't quite leave it alone and a sizeable family and group of family friends soon act as rent-a-crowd to swell the numbers, like it or not!
Such a gentle attitude does make me wonder if we perhaps haven't done quite so bad a job but this check point in life is bound to create an atmosphere of reflection. I'm discovering that pause for thought might be a dangerous thing. It's inevitable that life will bring some with it some regrets as none of us are perfect. Years and years ago my husband and I acknowledged that there would be regret but we chose where our priorities would lie and where we would endeavour to allow regret to fall. We determined that family would be foremost in our thoughts. Today marks the completion of one part of that undertaking - as much as a parent ever really stops being a parent. In theory at least our priorities are now shifting.
As far as this goes we've lived according to plan but the reality is always far harder and quite different to what you imagined. It's about now that you start to question the route we charted so many years ago. Is it wise to indulge in such thinking? I suspect that the answer is both yes and no. (Sounds like the conclusion of an A Level Psychology essay.) The phrase "mid-life crisis" has all sorts of negative connotations, mid-life re-evaluation is probably a much better phrase. Evaluating and re-focussing is good and profitable but I suspect that dwelling on past mistakes (yours and those of others) and too much wallowing in "if only" won't bear much fruit.
I heard once that 40 is the new 30 and there's a party atmosphere carrying over from the birthday celebrations. A bit of grit might need adding to the mix but the future awaits…