When I was young, I saw no point to stretching.
After physical activity, netball games, whatever, I’d simply walk off. Now, jeez, I wish I’d stretched more often. My body aches and groans; tight calves, hip flexors and hamstrings make standing and sitting an onerous task. A few stretches in my youth might’ve made me more flexible now.
But surely I’ve stretched myself mentally? Well, yes. But only in the last ten or so years. Everything prior to that, I coasted. Did just enough to get by and had no thought into preparing for my future. As soon as T1 and T2 were born, and most certainly once Our Girl arrived, I began to realise my errors of the past. Everything is about preparing for the future. I went to uni for my undergrad, then honours degrees. Coming from a family who place no value on tertiary education, who even belittle those with higher learning, this was a massive step and one of which I am massively proud. I learned so much; mostly, the level of my own ignorance, and that no one person can ever plumb the depths of all knowledge. During my time at uni, I also commenced freelance work while raising the children (the latter with Hubster of course). Definitely a period in my life where my mental capabilities were at a stretch. Yet I reaped the benefits of that time: I am wiser, smarter and way more intelligent that I ever gave myself credit for in my younger days.
Being a mum has stretched me mentally—and physically. Now that T1 and T2 are almost 12, and Our Girl is 9, the questions are coming at me like bullets. As I try to stay one step ahead of my offspring, I can feel the stretch, taut, near snapping point. Motherhood is, without a doubt, the hardest job I have ever undertaken but also the most rewarding (cliche alert!!). My children keep my brain active. Their presence in my life ensures my mental agility is ready to jump and bend.
As an emerging writer, the constant battle with producing words on the page versus the inner critic stretches me. Some days I quiet the inner critic, other days it wins. But the pleasure that comes from a gorgeously constructed sentence and the vindication of having a (so far just one) short story published is worth it.
As for finances, I’ve always found them a stretch. ‘Nuff said.
Now, in my last year of my forties, I finally see the point to stretch. A little pain leads to better agility in our lives.