How many times did we hear the phrase “act your age” when we were growing up? What is it about life that we are supposed to be serious and well behaved, why do we always have to set a good example to others?
Being a very tall child I was always being told to act my age, the problem was that I was acting my age, I was only a kid, but a big one. Why should a child who is only six or seven be expected to behave better because he or she towers head and shoulders amongst his peers.
Once motherhood arrives we automatically act our age, we want to set a good example to our little ones. We keep our homes spotless, laundry never piles up waiting to be ironed but is done and put away immediately. Dishes are washed, counters are scrubbed and floors are swept, we mustn’t let our guard down in case somebody drops in and finds us wanting in our housekeeping.
Fast forward to waving goodbye to each of the children as they leave to build a life of their own, have their children and set their own good examples. Our four daughters were definitely slobs around the home, bedroom floors were covered with discarded clothing, dishes and cups would peek out from under beds and clean clothes were not put in drawers but left lying on dressers.
Our four girls were very close in age so they left the home within a few years of each other. However, a miracle had occurred, each one if them had transformed into the perfect housekeeper once they had homes of their own. I guess my influence had rubbed off, I had done my job and conveyed to them the way to keep house. However, once our nest was empty I found other ways to fill my time than constant housekeeping. Things didn’t get messy with no sloppy teenagers to drop things on floors, dishes were rinsed and put in dishwasher right away, laundry was just a once a week event and it was never left around to gather dust.
This was the age of freedom! I now found that I had time for friends, time for hobbies, time for me. Did I sit and weep in my empty nest? Yeah right! I had been ruled by home, children and job for many years, I had to be organised to get everything accomplished, now I was free. Dave was easy to live with, didn’t care if dinner arrived on the table at five pm or didn’t appear until seven. We could enjoy our meals on our laps in front of the tv and our viewing content didn’t have to be suitable for all ages.
We were free to pursue our hobbies could go in different directions if we needed to as family plans didn’t have to be first order of importance, we were free to be ourselves as adults, not as parents. We could afford to travel and had the time to do so, we didn’t have to arrange our schedule around family events or school holidays, we could now really act our age.
Last week we catered a party for over one hundred women, all retired, many of them over eighty. I’m sure most of them had been good mums, setting good examples to their children but now they didn’t have to “act their age” they could let loose and have a good time. Most of them were in outrageous costumes that they probably would not have worn years ago as they would not want to look foolish. However, with age comes the wisdom to know that life is short and we need to make the most of it, there are times to let loose, act silly and just get down to the business of having fun.
As I said before, Let the good times roll while we can.