Tuesday 16 August 2011

Brake time

Despite my best intentions to put the brakes on our crazily busy summer, this week has been another very hectic one - full of social engagements and commitments. We managed to squeeze in a quiet Mr and Mrs dinner at Cafe Rouge and a trip to see Super 8 at the cinema (lovely film which made me feel very nostalgic for bygone eras of watching Stand by Me and the Goonies with my sister, eating Haribo sweets and wine gums!) but we've been out all weekend. Friday we went for dinner at some friends who have just bought a house and got engaged - such a special time for them - and then we had a wedding in Kingston on Saturday, before a trip to my parents on Sunday to cook them a special three-course meal to celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary - phew!

But now we're breathing a sigh of relief as this was the last hectic weekend in the diary. No weddings now until the end of March next year (when we have three in five weekends... but we'll let future Elly Beans and future Boy worry about that!) and we're both done with hens, stags, big birthdays and family gatherings. It feels very liberating and I'm really looking forward to slowing the pace down and spending some quality time with the Boy. I've missed having the opportunity to be spontaneous lately and it will be so good to have free weekends stretching ahead where we can wake up and do what we like - if we want to jump on a train to the country we can, or if we want to lie under the covers in our pyjamas all day and watching movie marathons, then we can.

After all we've been through this year, I'm amazed what a rich and important time this feels for me and the Boy. We've never been more united or so connected, and I am a bit surprised how content I feel in the here and now. We had big plans for this year - a baby and a new house. As life has worked out for us, we have neither, but perhaps - I'm almost loathe to write this as it's such a cliche - whatever I was looking for by making a change, was right under my nose the whole time.

This year has added another depth and dimension to us. It's easy to be happy in love when the sunshine is out and the roses are in bloom. When the flowers have withered, the storm clouds gather, and the hallways of the home ring only with their emptiness, all that is left is us. And I'm struck that while it would be nice to have a bigger place and a garden, and while it would be amazing for us to be parents, I'm really, really blessed with the relationship that I have, and the joy and contentment it brings me.

This year has changed me, how could it not, but perhaps it's taught me about being comfortable in my own skin and about really thinking about what I have. I've always looked ahead to the next step - when I was at school I dreamed of university, I'd idle away days at Leeds thinking about what job I could do, when I began work as a trainee on my local newspaper I dreamed of the next step, and the next, and the next. And when I met the Boy it was always a case of when - not if - we'd live together, when we'd be married... and then of course when we'd move out of our happy London flat to a family home, and fill the spare rooms with babies. I wonder now why I wished the time away. Now I'm reminded how precious this life is and I want to spend every day appreciating that. Every day lately I think about where we are and what I have, and I make sure I tell the Boy how loved he is.

So, this break time - or brake time, as it's about putting the brakes on to the ticking clock and the filled up diary - is coming and just the right time. I can be myself, and I can love, laugh - and most importantly I can live.

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