In less than six months our daughter starts her University journey – and for over forty weeks of the year will no longer be living at home. This will be hard on the heels of our son starting work on his degree placement year – so he won’t be home at all during the summer for the first time ever.
I have been looking forward to them embarking on these journeys, the next significant step in becoming independent adults. Indeed, after nearly two years at University our son is already something of a different person. Needless to say, we’re proud of both of them.
I confess I have also been looking forward to the end of this summer on my own account as it heralds the beginning of a new journey for us too: the opportunity of a life – for around 40 weeks of the year at least! – where we have only ourselves to worry about. I have concocted vague scenarios of me – ‘the Writer’ – free to be subsumed in my work, hour after hour crafting away in my study honing my latest masterpiece.
Yet the truth is, I discover, subtly different. On one level I’m absurdly petrified.
What do I do in the mornings or evenings without any dependant young people relying on me? What will weekends look like? Surely being gifted back time – that most precious of commodities, especially as one ages – is the opportunity we have been earning for the last twenty years. And yet it is a currency I’m not sure I know how to spend. Or have forgotten how to.
Strange how daunting a prospect that is.
At least I have six months or so to acclimatise myself to the idea, to get myself ready for when the day dawns in mid-September and we’re down to just the two of us and our time is more or less our own. It is, of course, an alluring prospect, but I suspect it will be something of a re-education too. And a lesson I will need to master quickly.
Anticipating excitement, I have 24 weeks to get on top of the fear…