By Liz Campbell.
One of the things I love about getting older is my ability to not give a #$@! when it comes to certain things. Don’t get me wrong, I still care about a whole lotta stuff, the big stuff, but finally I am reaching a place where I don’t sweat the small stuff. I knew that I had been inching my way towards this space, particularly since becoming a parent. Add to that some huge life events over the past several years, and you’ve got a nifty recipe with which to bake yourself a big fat humble pie.
In my younger years, how things looked was pretty high on my list. My appearance, my home, my car, all things that I felt needed to look ship shape. To have pretty things really was quite important to me. If I take the time to reflect on this, it probably came from a place of simply wanting to fit in and to look, and therefore feel, just like the others. It took some time for the penny to drop that striving for material things in order to keep up with the Jones’s, does not make for a satisfying existence.
As I got older, and life started to throw me some curve balls, worrying about how things looked began to fall by the way side. There were much bigger things that needed my energy and attention – sustaining meaningful relationships, overcoming loss, starting a family, raising children – all big grown up things…things that really mattered. And if I’m honest with myself, I think that getting to the space of not giving a #$@! about stuff came about partly because I was getting to be all grown up, but mainly because I had no time! Who’s got the time or the head space to worry about what car you drive or the latest fashion trend, when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, or running on 2 hours sleep a night for months on end with not 1 but TWO colicky babies??!
This week, I had a defining moment.
A moment that crystalized for me where I am at. And I loved it. It did not come in the form of some huge event as we often think our life’s defining moments do or should. It came in the form of a mishap, a gesture of kindness, a very tiny car and a trip to the beach.
Let me explain. The mishap involved a very big four wheel drive and my Mazda 6 (ouch!). The gesture of kindness involved a friend lending me their VERY tiny car so that I could take my kids on our beach holiday as planned. So here’s the defining moment. Instead of driving my roomy, comfortable, modern, shiny Mazda to the beach, I had to drive a small (no room to swing a cat), compact (could probably fit in my handbag), 2 door (how’s my back/toddler car seats), not modern (no power steering/arms like Popeye now), not shiny Toyota Starlett….and I did not give a #$@!
What I did feel was extreme gratitude that somebody was kind enough to lend me their car, allowing me to take my kids on holiday. Any feelings around how I might look while driving the car, or more to the point, feelings of inadequacy because I was not driving an up to date, popular car, that I might have felt years ago, just didn’t surface.
When my kids saw our sweet ride to the coast, they squealed with delight. They thought it was a great adventure, flicking the lever up to push the front seats forward so they could climb in and out, sitting right beside each other with no vast expanse between their car seats, helping mummy arrange and rearrange the luggage to fit it in the teeny tiny boot! It didn’t matter to them that the car was old and had none of the mod cons that I was used to in a car. It was something different, and to their 3 year old spirit of adventure, that meant it was fun.
Oh to be 3 again….but better still, to take our 3 year old selves into our futures.
I loved the lesson life gave me this week. I am glad that I was self-aware enough to get it and own it.
You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end. ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Liz Campbell lives in Brisbane, Australia where she is a single mum of three year old boy/girl twins. She works part time as a primary school teacher, and writes a blog with a friend, on life’s moments and our perspective on them. She loves to write about what happy, sad, funny, challenging, uplifting things happen to us, and how we feel about them. She can be followed at crabandgoat.wordpress.com.