When I was in my 20’s I remember thinking ‘Wow! my 20’s are a great age to be, I can party until dawn and still go into work’ (a bit subdued thou) and then when I was in my 30’s I thought that really was the best age to be, my world had expanded hugely, I had started to travel and explore and not just externally but myself as a person, so being thirty was the best age to be…at least until I hit my 40’s and then that was the best age to be, kids meant my life seemed to be in real 3D unlike the shallow 2D life I had in my 20’s..
But now I’m starting to think that fifty is the best age to be….probably definitely! When the kids were 7&5 then it was impossible to leave them alone, I had to take them everywhere and rightly so. I couldn’t even nip out to get a pint of milk from the corner shop without dragging them out with me. Everyone with kids under the age of 10 will recognise this, you just can’t leave kids alone by themselves (despite Home Alone) and there’s other issues, you can’t go to the movies without them and you can’t watch scary movies or movies with complicated plots because the kids won’t get it and conversations can be a bit ummm childish (but sweet).. I suspect all ages have their good points and not so good points..
However, I know at sometime in the future that the kids will fly the nest, go to University and then (hopefully) make a life for themselves and this is when everyone mentions ‘empty nest syndrome’. However, my beastie boys are now 14 and 12 and it’s okay to leave them at home and know they aren’t going to burn the place down or smash the place up and I can watch movies with complicated plots and they seem to follow it better than me. Now I can take them to concerts to see groups I actually want to see (though they haven’t learnt to freak out and scream their hearts out at live concerts yet).
I can even have interesting conversations with them, I know some parents complain about their boys going into the ‘grunt’ stage as teenagers, they go all non-communicative but not if you talk to them about things they are interested in and as they get older then those interests seem to be tallying up with mine so conversation improves rather than deteriorates. I think they are looking for male role models at this stage, I’ve mentioned before that when under ten the boys seemed to be closer to their mother but in the last few years it’s been noticeable that they chat more with me, they gravitate towards me and seem to speak more with me than they did when under ten and I’m actually quite enjoying it.. This is what it’s like to have kids this age and I call it ‘pre-empty nest syndrome’. the beastie boys were fabulous as kids but they are getting more and more interesting and engaging as they get older and I feel my life is not totally focused on their lives but I’m starting to have time for ‘me’ once again.
I know proper empty nest syndrome will occur one day in the future but for now it’s quite nice, I get to be with the beasties part time, they come to the shops/cinema/GoKarting/Paintballing with me and I can still leave them at home with their books/computers/games when I want to go visit Anne Hathaways cottage. I find I have more freedom and flexibility now, I think I get the best of both worlds, I had the boys 50% of the time over the summer and got to go be sociable the rest of the time. When I wander around the park and see couples with their very young children I think it was a great time but I’m quite content to have the kids at this age, it give me a lot more freedom and my social life has improved, I no longer hang out at other couples houses talking about their kids but can now hang out with a wider range of friends and explore further afield. At some stage I will be able to go off for the weekend and leave them at home – of course they will trash the place and have continual parties and go into a cleaning frenzy as my car arrives at the driveway but they won’t have figured out that that’s also what I’ve been doing all weekend, out having fun too. And I’m wondering, at what stage will they be standing outside the front door with a scowl on their faces asking just where have I been to this time of the night.. yes, fifty’s definitely the best age to be – so far!