I might not have done very much during my 100 days but this week I seem to be caught in a flurry of seasonal activity. It’s certainly easier to accept invitations than it used to be; I’ve been out virtually every night this week. It feels good not to always be the person things have to be worked around; daytime socials or evenings planned to coincide with a rare respite night, for example. So, for a change, the annual gathering of hilarious women was held last night instead of during the day; here I am, disguised behind a funny mouth.
As well as invitations being easier to accept since Dylan moved to residential care, they are harder to decline. Now I don’t have my stock excuse of ‘I’d love to but I’m afraid I can’t leave Dylan’ I have found myself at gatherings, sometimes, I would have done well to avoid. Happily, I have only been to one such event recently; enough to feel grateful to Dylan, however, for the events over the years I’ve been spared. I’m quite aware that, in the past, I have sometimes played my automatic line with relief; I’m going to have to script some new ones for myself in future.
Not today, however, as ahead of me are genuine treats: afternoon tea and cake at my favourite café; Christmas shopping for Dylan; dinner at one of my favourite restaurants; and Showboat with one of my nicest friends. And as I type this I am reminded that I am lucky indeed: not a single thing in my list would have been possible last year. Dylan has settled so well into his new home, and the transition process has felt so natural, that it is easy to forget, some days, how different life once was.
Less than half a year ago I would rarely consider going to a café during the day; life was lived at high-speed, with me rushing between home and work in the morning, and back again in time for Dylan arriving home for tea. I remember how stressful the late afternoon would feel as I raced between appointments or prepared lectures at my desk frantically, clock-watching and dicing with leaving times, pushing the limits of my home ETA. Afternoon tea and cake at 4pm? Impossible. A meal out and trip to the theatre? Once in a very blue moon. A leisurely approach to Christmas shopping for Dilly? No chance: I would race around a single shop in a single lunch hour, hoping for serendipity. Which (it occurs to me, looking at the time) is what I’ll be doing again this year if I don’t get going 🙂