A Simpler Life*

It’s been six weeks since my course ended.

I feel a bit ridiculous that it’s taken this long, but I finally feel like I can breathe easy again. After an extremely challenging winter, spring has blown in with a beautiful breath of fresh air. Now that P is finally, finally sleeping through the night like a champ (*knock on wood*) I feel more like myself than I have in ages.

H is four now, and is just on the cusp of giving up his nap. He can go all day without one, he just gets verrrrry emotional about every. little. thing by dinnertime if he hasn’t had it. I’m also not quite ready to give up my glorious sanity time in the afternoon, so I’ve found that if I lay down with him for 15 minutes or so (to prevent him from wandering around or playing with his toys), he will settle quickly and fall asleep. He turns over on his side, and I’ve been rewatching Call the Midwife on my phone as I wait for his body to still and his breathing to slow.

I loved watching this show the first time through, but I honestly think I’m loving it even more the second time through. When I first watched it it was all about the characters and their storylines; this time I’ve completely fallen in love with the community, camaraderie and time period in general. I know that it was fraught with hardships (and that the show is fictional), but as I’ve been watching I can’t help but feel that in all that we have gained in the last 50 years, something has been lost as well.

I went out to a friend’s house last week. We ate, we laughed, we talked until late into the night and it was so nice. But if I’m being completely honest, before I got there, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go. Last week felt so full. It always feels like we have something on the go between sports, work, church, social outings or school commitments. Most evenings this week were “double-headers”. On Wednesday, for example, M got home from work in time to help me throw dinner together, then H and I were off to his Introduction to Junior Kindergarten night. As it ended, I had to walk him in the door, switch bags and head straight out for my Relief Society Presidency meeting, which I ended up being late for anyway. It was 9:45 before I even felt like I had the chance to sit down and say a proper hello to M, and by then we were both done in.

The thing is, all of these activities or meetings are good things. It’s book club, and girls nights, or hockey, or learning opportunities. They are all things that I want to do, and  if it sounds like I’m complaining about them, then let me assure you that I’m not. I love it all.

But sometimes, it just feels like so much… this spinning to and fro, driving around from activity to activity.

I sometimes feel like there is this expectation these days to be able to “do it all”, particularly for women. We work, attempt vibrant social lives, “keep house”, organize the lives of our wee ones and so much more. Hopefully we all have the support and help of a willing partner as I do, but aside from that, we’re often on our own.

As I’ve been watching Call the Midwife, I feel this longing the community they had there. I have absolutely no desire to have to share squalid living conditions or an outdoor toilet, but the lives of these women were interwoven and interconnected. Family was often closeby, there were neighbours everywhere and kids  and played freely in the street. They were bonded by their community–a shared clinic, a shared parish hall, shared space. Where I’m living now, I find it so challenging to even get to know my neighbours beyond a wave or friendly hello. People now move to where the jobs are, which often makes living near family more challenging. Friends are often made at work, church or groups / classes, making it necessary to have to drive somewhere to meet up.

Again, none of these things are bad things… and I feel extremely fortunate to live where and when I do. But sometimes I just long for a simpler time and way of life. A life where I wouldn’t have to choose between doing laundry or going out with friends, because I could mix work with friendship and not have to juggle my time. I watch these (fictional) women hanging their laundry out and talking as they do it, and I can’t help but sigh and want that. They were connected by shared experiences and proximity, and I just don’t feel like that’s the same anymore. I love connecting and sharing through social media, but when it really comes down to it, it’s not the same.

I made a goal to try and get to know more people in my neighbourhood this year, and the people I have met have been so lovely… it’s just all still so new. We aren’t yet bonded history, or common experience. I hope that we can build our own little community here. I think I honestly just miss the simplicity of my life in the North, or maybe it was just the simplicity of being a kid in the 90’s. Sometimes my inner “Northern Ontario Small Townness” spills out of me and I can’t make all the pieces fit here in the south.

Maybe it’s just time to reevaluate and pare down some of the “good things” I keep trying to juggle, and just… simplify.

In the meantime, I’ll just ignore my piles of laundry and keep watching Call the Midwife. ;)

 

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