Last night I was putting away a magazine that my husband had left on the floor and happened to notice a thought-provoking essay. I'm too lazy to go check for sure, but I think the it was entitled, "It's All Downhil from Here." The jist of the essay was that your body and brain start falling apart after age twenty. At first, I thought the essay's tone was going to be funny, but it was actually depressing overall. Then today, I was driving home from work, and NPR had a story about how most people are less happy in their forties. Since I am smack dab (I think that's the first time I've ever written the words "smack dab.") in the middle of my forties, I decided to ponder that whether I think it really sucks getting older.
I think that I have felt more comfortable in my skin as I've gotten older, but my forties have been quite stressful-- not unhappy, just exhausting. I've always struggled between being a devoted parent and working, but as my children have gotten older, I've let work wear me out more than I allowed it to when I was younger. You'd think I would know better. I'm not a workaholic. I don't even like working that much, but I have spent too much time working during my forties, especially teaching night classes. Getting my Master's degree was satisfiying but also pretty much all consuming for four years. Even when I wasn't working on it, I was feeling guilty that I wasn't. I also used to run close to twenty-five miles a week all through my thirties. It's seemed like too much to me for the last couple of years though.
After saying that I think I've figured out the secret to being happy when you're in your forties. It's to slow down on things that wear you out. I have been a lot happier recently than I've been for a long time, and it's because I've definitely had more leisure time in just the last couple of months. For the last year or so I was running less because I was either sick or exhasuted. Now I'm intentionally running less, I'm finished with writing difficult papers, and I don't intend to teach another night class. I've made time to do the things I like to do. I've cooked lots of good dinners, gone on walks with my husband, and actually enjoyed going to my kids' sporting events since I wasn't fitting them between lots of other obligations, and I've had time to KNIT...
And that's all I want to say about that!
I like knitting stuff for myself, but it's fun to feel like I have the time to knit little gifts too. My husband mentioned the other day how cute he thought our neice's little son, who got to see when he was back visiting his father before he died, was. He was saying that he'd like to get him a little gift for Easter. I thought, "Well, I can knit him a little rabbit." I notice that his legs are a little too short, but I think he's pretty sweet. He's knit from a skein of angora I bought at Threads in Lincoln, Nebraska for under five dollars. I knit his sweater from some Rowan cotton that I bought from Woodland Woolworks to knit some Easter eggs from a pattern that Julie has posted on her blog.