I was walking home from the train station the other day when I had a horrible realisation.
This is not a practice run.
I’m not going to wake up one morning and have all of the answers. It’s not that the Magical Wisdom Fairy of Adulthood forgot about me on my eighteenth birthday; she just doesn’t exist. Life is not going to get any easier.
In the long run, this is going to be positive for me. The first of my children are still young enough that I can fully experience and appreciate almost all of their childhoods. There will be new babies, new pregnancies and babyhoods.
The love of my life and I are not yet thirty; there is plenty of time to enjoy her, to enjoy us.
And I may already be a third of the way through my life, if I’m lucky, but I was born at a great time. My relationship is legally recognised and most people are fine with it, overseas travel is as safe as it’s ever been, modern medicine is an incredible thing. It is a good time to be alive.
I am so much better these days and yet there are weeks at a time where I have to almost physically yank myself out of the fog. During those times I haven’t much energy for more than the basics of being a good partner and mother and reminding myself of my own worth.
Yesterday a friend shared this article that I had written back in January about happiness. In the past twenty-four hours it has attracted some incredible comments; it has inspired women to think about how they feel about themselves, to analyse whether they might be too harsh in their self-assessment. Multiple people have commented that they think that everyone ought to read it, which is tremendously flattering. Through my writing I have been able to help people who are in a dark place, who are in a medium place. I have told people that they deserve more from themselves, and perhaps my words will inspire them to seek the help that they need in order to believe it.
I needed to read it, too. I needed to look at those pictures of me jumping for joy, literally jumping, and laughing my fool too-small-for-adult hats head off because the wind was demolishing my hair, and I needed to remember what that felt like. And how much I deserve to feel that way because we all deserve to feel it.
Reading that post reminded me that it’s not enough to know that you are happy unless you can feel it. I’m mentioning this because it took me a long time to figure this out: if you know that you’re objectively happy, if you can count all of the reasons that you are happy, but you still feel anaesthetised against the emotion itself, you’re depressed. And that’s scary but it’s okay. You’re fixable. There’s always room for things to get better.
There is no Magical Wisdom Fairy of Adulthood but it’s going to be okay for both of us. It’s not the practice run but we still have time to make it right.