In therapy, I am learning that I am experiencing two different developmental stages right now, and that trying to balance the needs and responsibilities of one with the other is part of the unrest I feel. On the one hand, I’m a 45 year old woman, a wife, a mother, someone who is used to working, supporting myself (with varying amounts of success.) On the other hand, I’m like an 80 year old, coming to terms with end of life issues. Both of these stages are valid and need to be honored, but at times, their needs require compromise.
One more place in my life where I have to attempt balance. Dammit.
Part of me would like to give in to the 80 year old. Just say “Fuck it,” put down my 45 year old responsibilities and do only what I want. Give strangers on the sidewalk a piece of my mind? Check. Hire someone to take care of the house and meals? Check. Play pinochle and dominos with my friends? Check. Sort of.
And then I wake up and remember that I have two kids who need me, a husband who needs me, bills to be paid, college funds to be saved, a living room that needs vacuuming, and laundry to be folded.
It’s not that I don’t want to tend to these parts of my life (though I could easily do without the vacuuming and bill paying.) A few months ago, all of this felt normal, exactly where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. And I felt content. Sometimes things were a drudge (hello, pairing socks) but there wasn’t conflict.
And now? Forget the whole cliche of battling cancer. The real battle in me is between the 45 year old self and the 80 year old self. The 80 year old leaves household chores undone, while the 45 year old feels guilty for the mess or angst about not setting a good example for the kids. The 45 year old runs the kids to camp and takes care of some errands, leaving the 80 year old feeling neglected and wanting to spend the day painting.
Sometimes the 80 year old feels like a tantrumming toddler, and others, the 45 year old seems to be way too much of a nag.
And somewhere, inside myself, I have to find room for both of them. Oh joy.