Yesterday I took the day off. I had a really sore mouth and throat, and whilst theoretically I could have worked, I chose not to. Instead, I stayed in bed and spent the day crafting for next Christmas. We have had this infection (sore mouth, sore jaw, sore throat and in Lillie’s case sore ears) going round and round our family since the beginning of December. We don’t seem to be building up a resistance to it at all. Our whole family feels run down and tired, even Gary.
Today we sat down and talked about what things we might need to change. Yes, I know it’s February, and most years I feel horrible at this time of year, but the rest of the family don’t usually join me. Our collective bodies are trying to tell us something and today we listened.
For the past year or so, the older ones have been beating to someone else’s drums. Of course, I realise that this needs to be done occasionally. Sometimes we have to do stuff we don’t want to do because it gives us something we need. As teens, our three older ones need exams to get to the next place in their career path. Working at these is a good thing. But there needs to be balance. Exams aren’t everything.
For years, the children have been used to an hour out in the countryside, an hour of quiet time in their rooms and lots and lots of freedom to pursue their passions. Over the last year, this has changed. There is less time outside, less time in solitude and less time pursuing passions.
From the beginning of this year, we began to make some changes, and they have been oh so good for us as a family. The benefits of family game night and sitting down at the table to eat as a family have been vast and wide reaching. Two little things which had gone to the wayside. I have also made some personal changes which have been so good, such as reading more and crafting more. These are spurring me on to make ever more positive changes. I guess life is all about just that – changes as and when a stimulus dictates. Our family is run down. Clearly how we are living is not healthy for us and we need to rejig our priorities.
We live just outside London, so here life is generally lived at breath neck speed. We have spurned that as much as possible, but sometimes one gets caught up in it all….and suddenly the hours merge into days and then weeks, and a whole year has gone by with us permanently running to catch up with it.
Things are going to change. There is going to be more time out in nature, more gardening, more time in the kitchen, more time following passions, more time for reading and learning things which are not going to appear on an exam. Ultimately, there is going to be more time living rather than existing. Yes, we will be working towards exams but they are not the be all and end all. Life is short, and I want us to live each minute as the gift it is.
I am excited. Gary and I are taking back the reins of our life, which we had clearly handed over to the god that is work/exams. We will do our best. I will encourage the children to work hard. But it will not be at the detriment of their health. We have choices. We just need to be strong enough to make them and stick to them.