Time. It’s a slippery thing. There have been seasons of my life where I’ve had too much of it, waiting for it to pass, knowing that each ticking second is a second’s worth of healing, or a countdown to freedom. In other seasons, it has vanished in the blink of an eye, too fast and too fleeting for me to even register it was ever there.

This week, Big Dreamer and I were given the gift of time passing at the pace of our heart beats. My wonderful mother-in-law minded the bairns and kept the home fires burning, while we spent six days in a holiday cottage, deep in a wooded Devon combe. And this week, I felt like my soul caught up with my body. This year marks a big birthday for us both, and though it isn’t really any more significant than any other birthday, we felt the need to take a moment, mark time. We’d both felt the sands shifting beneath our feet and needed to take stock.

And things have been shifting for a while. Wren, our smallest child started school, taking to it more like a duck than her namesake. Little Owl, no longer very little, started ‘big school’. A surprise job saw me moving on from my beloved District Nursing, and taking on a full-time, employed role – one, I’m loving. My award-winning children’s novel finally made it onto bookshop shelves, an event I’m unsure whether to chalk up as a beginning or and end. And Big Dreamer and I, have other dreams we want to pursue, dreams and hopes that slipped in under the door like the rays of sun on the dawn of the first day of Spring, unexpectedly bright, and unexpectedly right.

If I could give myself one gift for the years after this birthday, it would be the gift of everything in its proper time: to not have to rush the children into their school clothes and out of the door each morning; to not resent the minutes spent making packed lunches because I’m so desperate for bed; to savour writing my shopping list (I know that sounds ridiculous but aren’t well-stocked shop shelves a miracle to savour?); to daydream over my morning coffee, appreciating the unfolding of the seasons outside the window; to give our dreams time to grow.

But the truth is, that would turn my days into weeks, my months into years, which reflects another truth – I am doing too much. In the last couple of years, my friend has given up having a diary. She says it has made her more “zen”. She realised she was micro-managing. I’d love to do the same, but I know I can’t at the moment, because it would expose me – there are too many spinning plates, too many balls in the air. Without a list for this and a note of that, it all comes crashing down. I know, I know, what’s the worst that could happen? What exactly am I afraid of? But the alternative is not the way I want to live. I don’t want to spend my time lurching from one near-miss to the next, most of the time saved by other’s preparedness or convenience food. But, and it’s a big one, I also want to live everyday at the pace of my own heartbeat, not just special breaks.

So, we have taken stock this week and one of the difficult things I have decided is, to only write a blog post once a month. I don’t know if that will matter to anyone at all, but for me, it’s a hard thing to say because this blog has been a weekly practice that has nourished my writing, both good and bad (sorry about that!). This blog is just over ten years old, and as we explore new things, it seems the right time to step back a little. My plan is to post something around the first of each month. I hope you faithful readers will continue to stay with me. Here’s to 2022 – a year of exploring new things and starting to live at heartbeat pace.

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