Thursday, 25 February 2010

Our new normal

I was thinking the other day how things have changed in a relatively short space of time. You don't notice at the time but slowly it dawns on you how life slips into a new routine. I remember before Clare and I were married that we'd sometimes complain about being bored, not having a hobby or annoyed that we hadn't made plans. When I look back to that time, where we had a relatively small mortgage, loads of friends on the doorstep and the ultimate freedom that comes with not having a child, I find it hard to believe how we could have been bored. Why didn't we go to the cinema, pub, shopping and any number of things that could have been done at the drop of a hat? Of course we did do those things but perhaps our expectations of entertainment were higher then.

Of course, we were also skint in those days so our ambitions had to be tempered by more modest bank accounts. Not that we're loaded now by any stretch but those more frivolous activities are much more in reach financially if not practically.

So, we can afford to do as we like yet we're not afforded the time to do it in. Again, this is an excuse, we can still do whatever we want, it just needs more planning. And because it needs more planning, we tend not to get around to it until it's too late. However, we're seldom bored. Maybe that's because now, our expectations of entertainment are more realistically lower!

People have asked me how having a child changed me and the reply is always that it hasn't really; I think moving slightly further away from friends and family a year before Jake arrived helped set our expectations. It gradually allowed us to settle into a routine of entertaining ourselves and being happier with our immediate surroundings than constantly looking for new sources of enjoyment. I forget who said it or where I heard it first but one of my favourite sayings is;

"it's not about getting what you want, but about wanting what you've got"

I still have constant gadget craving and we're always looking forward to the next holiday, but Jake has given us a load of perspective on what we can and cannot practically do on an impulse. We can still be impulsive but it needs to be planned! How's that for an oxymoron?!

The point is when I'm asked if I can play golf or bugger off to the pub at a few hours' notice, generally I can't (I'm playing golf tomorrow but it's been in the dairy for a month) but I don't resent that and I especially don't resent Jake for it, it's just the way it is. It's important to make sure it doesn't give you a reason to become lazy but I actually like our new normal, it sets the tone and pace for our lives and keeps us all in check.

It might sound boring and perhaps sometimes it is, but in the main it doesn't feel boring and that's really all that matters.

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