Does it ever go away? I mean completely go away – as in, never to return, go away? I think not. It’s a bit like psoriasis, you can suppress it, but it will eventually come back, if only to go away again.
And, this is the angsty age anyway – by age, I mean both my age (40, sigh) and the age we live in (Kalyug, or the age of downfall, as it’s called in Hinduism). So the combination is pretty crappy. I know this is a bit of a pessimistic take on a pretty perfect life, but that’s the way I am feeling right now.
Why? Not sure. I have all the makings of a great life – three wonderful kids, a nice, big house (nightmare to maintain), a loving husband (trapped in the wheel of life, would ideally like to quit work but that’s unimaginable with three kids in junior school), supportive parents (old, frail and alone), caring siblings (sister has been menopausal pretty much for the past ten years), an affluent lifestyle (thank God, no really)..You know, all the ingredients that one needs to be happy.
And yet, I have the angst. Does this prove, then, that human beings can never be truly happy? As Shelley writes in ‘To A Skylark’ (Gosh I still remember this, bless you Miss. Mehta, my English teacher in the year of the Lord – 1988):
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Good Lord, I am quoting Shelly. I think I need help. That, or maybe I need to get out of the house and do something that does not involve sorting fights about who snatched whose pen first, or being told that life was not fair, or calling the plumber to fix a pipe, then calling him back four hours later. Maybe I need to be talking to adults during the day for a change, and adults who are not the help or, worse, my mother-in-law, whose perennial problem is trying to work her iPad. Yes, I now have the itch to get out of the house. And I can’t.
To be honest, I’ve always had that itch (take it from me, every women who gives up work does) but now it’s becoming unbearable. You know you’ve been home too long when you tell your seven year old about the sacrifices you’ve made for her and expect her to understand the magnitude of your decision. Worse, I now say this to my three and a half year old twins. Of course, to them I say it more like a threat – “mama will go to office if you don’t let her work”. Again, I expect their little minds (quite capable, might I add, of impressive analytical reasoning when convenient) to take me seriously and leave me and my computer, and my iPad, alone.
Do I succeed? Do I really need to answer that?
So, the angst grows. Husband has his own angst, so I don’t dump mine on him. Also, mine sometimes involves gripes about his mother (we live together) and that’s never a great topic, to put it mildly. To be fair to him, he does not talk to her much either, he’s got quite the male, if I shut my eyes it will go away, attitude towards his mother and my relationship. Well, it does not go away and every so often blows up in his face, leading to more angst all around.
Anyway, coming back to the current anxiety in question, I am not sure why it’s bonked me on the head without warning. No, it’s not PMS. Well, unless, unless, PMS now takes over half the month? Hmm, possible; forties have lots of surprises and I have been craving chocolate lately..
But, the reason this has caught me by surprise is that I would’ve thought that now my restlessness would wane a bit – twins are in school, I’ve started to work from home a little (though that’s hard to do with the motley group around me) and we even had that splendid, splendid holiday (just husband and I) which I actually described as honey-mooney (blush, blush). So, then? Why all this fretfulness about what if I’d taken up that job?
Not sure I want to answer that. Somewhere deep down, I may know why, but I’d rather let that lie where it is. Tugging it out will bring up other stuff and before we know it, I’ll be quoting Frost.
Well, what the hell. Here it is:
‘The Road Not taken’
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.