Let me begin with a clarification. By bewaring the 'creep up' I am not referring to your underpants or the weird fella down the street with the dodgy van. By 'creep up' I am referring to those things in life that sneak up on us, practically unexpected (I would like to say completely unexpected but if we were to be honest with ourselves, we are given signs we are more than likely to just be in denial about them).
The life of a busy person is an interesting thing. Sometimes it is in our 'busyness' that we fail to see things creep up on us until it feels like they have smacked us on the side of the head with the full force of a pro boxer! Sometimes this 'busyness' has the by product of the above denial!
One thing I like about this time of the year (Summer holidays) is that it is the only prolonged 'time out' that gives me enough breathing space and navel gazing opportunities to rediscover who I am, WHY I am and it gives me the time to do a bit of a stock take of my life; especially my health and general wellbeing (physical and mental).
I have noticed a few things that have 'crept up' on me, which I am working to rectify (or have peace with, as the case may be). Here are my top 5.
Actually, this is just a simple case of denial really. I know how old I am, and soon, I will be half way to ninety, which, because my brain has not caught up or gotten the memo, seems a bit surreal really. We spend most of our younger years pretending we are older than we actually are, and our middle years pretending the opposite. No wonder our brains get confused! I am not sure about this middle aged thing - nor am I confident I understand the rules! So sod it, I will just have to do it my way. I read the other day that the new phrase for middle aged women is Midult (which Collins dictionary defines as the 35-55 year old, digitally literate female Gen X with a disposable income, demographic) and I LIKE it. Pretty much sums me up nicely (not so sure about the disposable income bit - that gets eaten up by Miss 13 who can consume disposable income faster than a starving puppy). So, in order to make peace (because I can not really rectify it) with 'middle age' this Midult is going to own it her way! (sounds great - unsure what it actually looks like but watch this space anyway)
Oh alright, by winter padding I mean those extra kilograms that snuck up and attached themselves to various parts of my body when I wasn't looking. Yes, you are correct dear reader, this is yet another example of denial in action. Lack of self control on the 'delicious but should not put it into my mouth so often' front, combined with a job that has lots of pressure (I am refraining from using the S word in an attempt to take some of its power off it, much like in Harry Potter where they say "he who shall not be named') and a bad habit of leaving work too late and too tired to go to the gym! (yes, that was an excuse - soz) My gym gear travels to work with me every day, but alas, that is mostly all it has done - come for a free ride! On the plus side, several layers of padding have been dealt with already and the basis of good habits are being underwritten each day. The added bonus will be that the the health effects from the 'S' word will also be minimised - so theres that to look forward to!
The Impact of Clutter
This was a legitimate creep up - promise! On the last day of term I looked at my desk/office/laptop desktop and wondered how on earth I had managed to let it get so BIG. I notice that when I am juggling many things, I have a bit of a terrible habit of putting something into what I affectionally call the 'when I am not so busy' pile. Ha. That is a bit of a joke, because the kicker is that I am always busy! This term 4 was a particularly harrowing and frantic term, and I ended up with quite a few of these piles - digital and real life. The digital piles have been cleared - I had to migrate to a new computer (which I should have done A LONG time ago but the job was too big for the schedule until now) and migrating a new laptop is a great opportunity to clean up. The physical piles have been attacked a few times - I try and leave the term 'tidy' but with all the dramas of the last few days of school never quite finished so came in prior to Christmas and attacked them then. Sadly this clutter is not confined to just my office, but had invaded parts of our home. This is still a work in progress! Every summer holidays I clear out the 'plastics' cupboard - how the heck does it even keep growing? As for those lost socks - resistance is futile - you will be found and assimilated! Sigh.
Things don't work like they used to
Your limbs don't move the way they used to, things hurt at random times and for random reasons, and your eagle like eyesight is less reliable than it was. All key features of being Midult and not something that should really come as a surprise, but when somethings refuses to work the same efficient way it used to, it really does feel like it has crept up in some nasty game of 'surprise, guess what doesn't work now'.
Being a Midult with a Teenager
Like Middle Age, your child becoming a teenager shouldn't be a surprise, but for some reason, this has felt a bit like it has crept up on me. One of my areas of expertise in Education is behaviour management (I've even written the books - true story) but all those things go out the window when you have one living in your house. It is amazing how your own child can render you from competent to incompetent in a matter of moments. Sometimes, It is a little like living with a mercurial nuclear weapons operator (in fairness this could describe either of us). One moment, you see glimpses of the beautiful adult they are blossoming into, the next, the crazy 'could push the nuclear button that will annihilate the world' mad person emerges. Goodness knows how difficult it is navigating the murky waters of being a 21st Century teenager, best we can do is be there as they make the journey and hope you don't get driven to sample the special 'lemonade' too often!
Overcoming or rectifying the 'Creep Ups':
Whilst I would love to offer you all some wonderful and sage advice, if we were to be honest wiht ourselves, overcoming the 'creep ups' is really about employing some basic time management tools and a little bit of common sense.
1. Read this post. Some of these ideas can be found in a previous post 'Confessions of a Procrastinator' which includes some handy hints that will help you avoid a 'creep moment'.
2. Be mindful - obviously if you feed yourself too much of the not so good for you foods, fail to look after your health and keep fit, then you are going to have some issues. Live in the present!
3. Remind yourself that sometimes life is messy, try not to dwell on it, learn from it and move on.
4. Be kind to yourself. You are human - see number 3.
5. Embrace the unexpected - see if you can find the sparkle in the dark and chalk it down to the beauty that is the journey of life. If you can reflect on it and find the lesson, then all the more for it!
6. Develop the growth mindset of a warrior. Get up, brush yourself off and own it!
7. Breathe! Take a break, and remember, you have got this!
8. Ask for help - from a friend, family, colleague or a professional.
These are my top 5 'creep ups' and some ways to overcome them. What things creep up on you and what solutions do you use?