Moving forward is not always moving up


I have long suspected that I may be having a wee early mid-life crisis. I mean, here I am. Forty not quite knocking at the door yet, but I can see it approaching – like unwelcome visitors kicking up dust on the horizon. My hair is greying and the grooves in my forehead is becoming ever-more visible. I need much more sleep and a lot less food than . I look at the Springbok Rugby Team and instead of thinking what big and handsome men they are, I find myself thinking: “Oh what sweet boys, their mamas must be so proud!”

When you are little, all you want to do is grow up. That is the long-term goal. But there are many short- and mid-term goals to reach first. It is the natural progression of things. You start school. Then on to high school. Then, there is a grey patch in the middle and different people take different routes. I took a “gap year” which was the fashionable thing to do back then. So I shovelled shit for a year and got knocked around by huge warmbloods of all ages. I came back and had a few carefree years as a student and even tried my hand at being a “Professional Student” by doing some postgraduate studies. Finally, I  got my shit together and started working.

I have done the easy laid-back kind of jobs, I have done the high-pressure high-profile kind of jobs and a few years ago, even landed my dream job as a Science Writer and then got retrenched. Tick that box. There has never been a career plan as such; I would stay on until I got bored and needed a new challenge. It never really featured as a priority, to be truthful. I wanted to make enough money to be able to have a horse. And the goal with the horse was to do Dressage…I had the horse. She died. But in all honesty, we weren’t really progressing anywhere anytime soon. I tried to branch out and start a career with horses, but didn’t work out as planned.

In between, I managed to meet and marry the “boy next door” (No really, I did, literally!) , acquire two dogs (one rather rashly decided-upon puppy and one carefully planned rescue), had the two babies, quit working to stay at home with the kids, ran out of money and started working again. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Right now, life is easy. I have a rather unchallenging job, the kids are settled at school and we trudge along day by day by day… And for people of my particular disposition, this is a rather dangerous place to be. We struggle to be “present” at the best of times and as we mostly live in our own heads, it takes a fair jolt to bring us back to reality sometimes.

I am reaching the age where some of my friends are getting to other stages – they are getting divorced, widowed and some have even gone further and are getting re-married! I am not saying that I have the energy for that kind of excitement, but life is a little monotonous in it’s non-eventfulness right now. And there is always that little voice in the back of your head that keeps saying: “Really, is this it? Have you peaked now? Is it all downhill from here then?” And you want to strangle that little bugger and say, “Hey, my life is good, I’m not messing with that!” Everyone is fed, clothed and reasonably clean. Let us not poke the quietly snoozing lion!

But…really? Is this it? The main aim right now is to make sure the children are moulded into vaguely self-sufficient persons who can contribute to the world in a meaningful way and although exhausting, it doesn’t take up 24 hours a day. (Besides, most of us turned out just fine despite our parents’ valiant efforts to instil discipline and respect in whatever form was the societal norm at such time.) And in the meantime, how long will it be before I have outlived my usefulness to society?

So. Here I stand atop the muck heap that is the hill over which I decree dominion – giving the term “over the hill” a very immediate and much more urgent kind of meaning – surveying my realm and deciding which direction begs further exploration.

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