A comment by my dear sister-in-law got me thinking last night. In wishing us a happy wedding anniversary she referred to that time twenty-three years ago as “simpler”.
Hmm, was life simpler then? Reflexively, I found myself thinking that if this was true perhaps I should want to go back in time. I love all simple things; I crave order.
Then I got to cleaning and in turn analyzing life then and now. (Some do their best thinking in the shower, I do my best with a broom in my hand.) Here it was only Monday night and I had already hit the ground running. My day began with carpool and moved on from there: language processing testing for our youngest, numerous phone calls driven by elderly parents’ needs, two carpools, daily OT, soccer practices and two trips downtown (in a two hour period and during rush hour both times). I was exhausted all over again just remembering it. While theoretically currently “unemployed” I certainly don’t spend my days sitting around.
Behind all that life-stuff laid the now distant memory of our anniversary celebration this weekend at a quaint bed and breakfast. Just one night away without children was all we could swing but what a luscious twenty-six hours it had been. Lunch at a side-walk cafe; gallery visits; dressing up for something besides church; eating in restaurants with china, crisp linens and food prepared for the discerning dinner; walking around hand in hand in the sunshine. Kind of like the old days. Kind of like life was in October 1988.
It was just us against the world. We had jobs, half of a duplex and lots of dreams. We were young, fit, invincible and probably pretty naïve too. Other than long hours in our professional jobs life was predictable - orderly - simple.
Years later life is anything but. God has given us three children. We have moved four times, once half a world away and back again. Along the way we have acquired the material accoutrements of a double-income-no-children life only to discard much of it in favor of the stuff of babies, children, and teenagers. Age has crept up on us; we are not as young as we used to be: our bones creak, our skin sags, and our minds (well at least mine) clouds up at the most inappropriate times.
Our days are full, full, full all the time. My spouse and I have to schedule a date night just to coordinate our family calendar and get some much needed alone time. And every day I feel like a human rubber band pulled in different directions as I physically try to be in three places at once for the different needs of our children. Day in and day out my mind is expanded to its limit and my heart is taken to new highs and yes, even, some dark lows. At its best life is chaotic; at its worst it is lunatic.
So no, life is not simple at all now. But I know without much further thought that I do not desire to return to that younger, easier, simpler time. Because even with all the chaos I experience each day, life is so much richer now with a full house, a mind filled with experience, a heart enhanced by memories.
So here’s to another twenty-three years. Let’s see how simple life is then, compared to now. Something tells me that things will have settled down by then and I might be missing the bedlam of now.