Well now, this year has not been at all what any of us expected it to be now has it? And here we, in September already: the month I traditionally invite you to step back into life the
But this year is of course, quite different: this has been the longest Summer of all our lives and I know from the emails you have sent me and the conversations we have had that like me, you feel even more discombobulated than usual: and that knowing where to start, now that life is beginning to shuffle back into some semblance of normality, is a true conundrum when it feels as though every aspect of who we are and how we live needs a good, rather stern examining, if we are going to be able to do anything more than muddle through our days.
That said, the greatest gift I believe the past few months have brought me, is clarity about what I DON’T WANT anymore, truths about what my family and I had been tolerating in terms of our work and life balance and much about what I am no longer willing to make room for in my day, and how I intend to climb out of deep-rooted ruts. This has been a revelation of sorts, because far too often we are wholly unaware of the difference between what must be done and what is merely being tolerated because we have not yet been mindful enough to thoroughly weigh up the alternatives, nor truly had the time to study our most authentic dreams and gently come to a stop in time to weave the threads of what might just be possible if we were only willing to leave behind all that is strangling them.
And so for me the past few months has been a muddly, lovely process of experimentation. Deciding what feels right in the course of my day. What do I eat that makes me feel sluggish (bread!) and what do I eat that makes me feel zippy? (Huge vats of gorgeous, homemade vegetable soup!) How should my days be arranged so that I am thriving, instead of simply surviving? How much sleep do I need? And when? Which is the social media platform inspiring me most and, which, on the contrary, is filling my head with nonsense? To what degree are hormones dictating my days? (A lady in the comments the other day noted that she couldn’t decide whether I was loopy and honestly, I rather need her to know that at this stage in my life I can’t be sure either!). What do I want to be writing now? How do I want to be communicating with readers new and old? And how can I gently shift the course of
Slowly but surely, I played with new ideas, I got up late and I got up silly early. I worked into the night and some days I didn’t work at all. I had weeks of intense work and weeks of intense relaxation. Ste and I worked out a diet that pleases us both and he took over much of what needs doing here so that I could start birthing a
I read. Of course I read. I developed quite the furrowed brow muddling my way through Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, and came away with so much more understanding of why it matters and how very much I need to be prioritising it at this stage in my life. Then in the kind of neat paradox that delights me, I went on to Why We Can’t Sleep – Women’s New Midlife Crisis by Ada Calhoun and found myself nodding along with every word: understanding that I am not alone in my own befuddlement at 48 and that there really is hope on the other side of all these sleepless nights!
And then September arrived, bursting as usual into chaotic life with the return to education for Finn (after a false start yesterday, he set off for his first day this morning), and his seventeenth birthday and all the accompanying shopping and celebration such events command. Until now. Now, when I sit on my bed, typing this to you, in a bedroom I have re-invented over the past few weeks, rearranging the bulky, lovely old walnut furniture and dragging an armchair upstairs (a performance and a half you really should have had the joy of witnessing!), to make myself a sanctuary. Sipping at the long glass of vitamin C, Ste brings me every day and smiling at the new laptop a case of birthday serendipity means I have acquired: a true blank canvas on which to stitch together Brocante dreams.
September, 2020. It has come so quick. So fully formed. Berry smoothies and hot stone massages. Stacks of vintage mohair blankets so I can stall putting the heat on. The very last of the garden tomatoes. A brand new pair of fur and diamante slippers for channelling my inner Hollywood Starlet. A refreshed pencil case. Early evenings on the hill at Parbold smiling at the low moon. Bucketfuls of zinc to see off Covid. Drawstring bags full of masks and hand gel for each of us. Broth always in the slow cooker. Whole evenings lost to twisty detective dramas. A proper quilt back on the bed. Cinnamon spiced walnuts for snacks. Earl grey
This time last year I set out a path for the future of
Tomorrow then I will set out EXACTLY what changes you can expect from Monday, so whether you are are a Lifetime Salon Member (don’t worry you will always have access to EVERYTHING!) or a brand new community member, all will be revealed and together we can get back on track, starting exactly where we are, without beating ourselves around the brain with all the shoulds and woulds we so very often torture ourselves with.
Enough already. This time we are going gently, slowly and mindfully. Seeing domesticity as more than just housework and understanding that ultimately it is always about how we live inside our own heads as much as it is about how we organise our cleaning routines.
I do hope you will join me, but if now is the time for us to part ways, please know I wish you all kindness you can bestow upon yourself.