A rude awakening

I think it’s fair to say that what I have just experienced can only be described as a rather rude awakening. A hint, or if I am honest, a bloody huge announcement from the universe at large of what my life will be like when I am no longer needed for my parenting skills on such a regular basis.
Any parent, single or otherwise, will understand the thrill that the mere anticipation of a child-free weekend can evoke. Just the thought of hours no DAYS stretching out before you, almost like a luxurious mini break without airport stress, conjures up all manner of potentially exciting things to do.
Obviously, child-free time is the perfect solution to untidy homes and unruly gardens. It is a golden opportunity for tackling messy bedrooms, chucking out loads of old tat, mowing the meadow that has suddenly sprung up in your back garden and making endless trips to the recycling centre armed with bottles, old clothes and bags of hedge clippings (oh and the Christmas tree…)
Child-free time IS golden. Once all those tiresome chores are out of the way you can survey your lot with pride and a certain degree of smugness, secure in the knowledge that you have really, really made the MOST of your time off.
Obviously if time allows then a quick shopping trip to regenerate your wardrobe, lunch with a friend or even a manicure and a quick fanny wax are not beyond the realms of possibilities. If there is the possibility of a date thrown into the mix then so much the better as the shopping trip instantly transforms into a mini makeover ready for your big night out (or in, if you are feeling confident and the fanny waxing was a success).
So…what’s all this about a rude awakening?
The point is this. There are many things that we should ALL do when we have the time and domestic chores are up there with filling in your tax return and de fleaing the dog. However, one day these chores will be merely light maintenance because the messy, untidy and random parts of our lives (children) will have flown the nest. And then what are we left with? If like me you are clearly destined to be single forever then there are only so many dates you can put yourself through each month.
I had my epiphany a few weeks ago over a bank holiday weekend. All my friends were otherwise engaged and as I sipped my fragrant tea in my reasonably tidy garden, I realised that the only people I had spoken to in the last 24 hours were the Polish checkout assistant in Tesco Express (I use the word spoken quite loosely, obviously) and a strange man with a German Shepherd who I encountered on the canal towpath (wasn’t about to throw myself in-don’t worry it’s not deep enough for a suicide attempt).
With all of my friends either loved up, smugly married, engaged in casual sex antics or living abroad, I suddenly realised that when my children do finally vacate their family home, I might actually end up as one of those eccentric writers who wears fingerless gloves and ponchos, drinks sherry at 11am and doesn’t leave the house for weeks on end.
The whole emotional situation was compounded by the inevitable announcement from a recent date that went something like “you’re great company but can we just be friends…?”
My initial reaction was: “well no actually, we can’t be friends,” After all I have a growing collection of ‘boy’ friends, most of whom I have imagined having a relationship with (or at least a snog and some filthy sex) at one time or another. But then the panic started to set in, maybe I SHOULD collect a few more friends in preparation for empty nest time. What’s the alternative? A hideous HOBBY of some sort? Are things going to be so dire that I will have to FORCE myself to engage in some ridiculous past time, just as an excuse to leave my house?
Just the thought of joining a book group, knitting group, walking group or any kind of group to be honest fills me with extreme fear. I write, I drink, I eat, I walk my dog and look after my children-all without the help of a group. I can’t do groups, there is always too much over sharing with complete strangers, and conversations about things like thrush and recipes for the best EVER Yorkshire pudding. I would rather eat my own liver.
So, am I destined to a life of days of solitary cat owning sherry drinking? Maybe I should just relish the peace and quiet and stop worrying so much. After all, my children are both boys. They probably won’t leave home until they are at least 32….

Published by Sarah Adams

I am the author of The Life Edit, an eight step personal development coaching programme that harnesses the power of journalling and writing to help people make transformational changes to their lives. I am also journalist and writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines, TV and online for the last 35 years, and an accredited personal development practitioner. I have written books, appeared on TV and radio and have worked in the world of corporate communications as a senior manager. I launched and ran The Community Media Group for ten years-this is a social enterprise that exists to produce professional, community newspapers in socially challenging areas as well as providing free training.

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