As I edge my way nervously towards 40, I have come to accept a few inalienable truths – I should really stop eating large amounts of bread, I should stay off bouncy castles and I may just be too old now to become a Goonie.
But most importantly I have realised that happiness is fleeting.
We went on a family holiday recently to Kerry, where it rained for roughly 72% of the time we were there. But knowing that we live in Ireland and that God likes a cheap laugh, I had packed for the inevitable Irish weather that didn’t let us down. We rain suited for forest walks, we wet suited for seaside swims, we scraped back hair for ice creams in the howling winds and we battened down the hatches in the evenings in front of the fire. We did A LOT of sightseeing from the car….which broke down on our second day there!
And of course the following week when we were back home, the sun was splitting the rocks….
But looking back on it now, it was a great holiday. It was mostly cold and tiring and wet, but the sum of it’s parts was greater than the whole. The fleeting, happy moments have woven together into a tapestry of beautiful memories – the girls screaming with laughter at being pulled around the house in cardboard box cars when it was too wet to go outside. The excitement of sloshing through slippery, green undergrowth looking for dinosaurs. Getting all toasty on the couch with hot chocolate, soggy clothes drying in front of the fire. Little naked feet stepping onto the cold, wet sand, little hands armed with fishing nets. One beautiful day of sunshine, sandy toes, sticky-salt hair, and pink, freckled faces.
Life goes by in a flash – children grow up, parents grow old, loved ones are born and lost.
As an old and farty, nearly-forty-year-old, I have learned to slow down a bit and not be too worried about milestones or deadlines. To those who say “Live fast, die young!” I say “Don’t!“. Savour those beautiful moments, grab them with both hands and enjoy them. Live it, don’t bloody post it.
If you’re constantly looking to the next thing to bring you happiness, you’ll miss that flicker right under your nose…