Olive’s been at forest school again today, and while I usually spend these rare child-free hours trying to cram in as much work as possible, this morning was different. I booked a long overdue haircut, saw my midwife, treated myself to a latte and browsed the second hand bookshop in town. It was strange even walking into town without the pram, a fleeting memory of what life was like pre-parenthood. When I arrived at the salon, they had me booked in under my maiden name, and joked that I would be ‘Miss Francis’ again for the next hour. It felt like a flashback into the past, when I had far fewer responsibilities and a more flexible schedule. But by the time I walked home, new hair swishing in the wind, I was already looking forward to stepping back into real life - back to my husband, babe, dogs and chickens, and all the sweet complications that are woven into adulthood.
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I’ve never been someone who yearns for the past or longs to return to a certain point in time. I like looking at photos and remembering moments, but with each year that passes I’m also happier than the one before - more confident, grounded and purposeful. Time is meant to move forward and life is supposed to progress. Even if I won the lottery tomorrow, you wouldn’t find me investing in cryogenics any time soon. With the autumnal weather that has finally started arriving, I feel the importance of forward motion even more. It’s darker every day and raining each night, but that’s what is supposed to happen. The rhythm is reassuring and reasonable. It’s the essence of living on planet earth and being a part of this mossy, damp, tangled web of life.