I’m back….

So you know, when I decide to do something I decide to do it. In my last post I said I was taking a break to grow down…to focus on living for a while instead of surviving. To run, to write, to breathe.

And I did all of those things……… it just took me 18 months!

18 months!  That’s some super break.

But you know what? It worked. I took time out, I grew down…. and in doing so I grew up.

Sometimes you have to stop to start.

Sometimes you have to step back to move forward.

Sometimes you have to let go to get a tighter grip.

I was too busy being busy. So I stopped being busy and got on with living… and achieved so much more. 18 months ago I listed three things I was too busy to do but really wanted to. Write. Run. Find a better work/life balance.

And I did all three.

I have finished my novel, and am about to embark on the ever-so-frightening, ever-so-exciting, ever-so-grit-your-teeth challenge of finding an agent and even a publisher.  I’ve also started my second.

I ran so much I just completed the Dublin marathon.

And I changed the focus and direction of my job and now I only do what I love doing. I write for a living. Every day.

And most importantly I still get to care for all my people without feeling every second is being borrowed from a different piece of the pie. And now there is a good-sized piece of the pie with just my name on it. A new slice that often gets lost in the steaming filling of life, but is so important to make all the other slices taste good. (there’s a line threatening to come out here about having my slice of cake and eating it but I’m letting my analogies run away with me).

So I’m leaving my old MummyMania blog behind.  In honour of my last post, I am restarting and renaming this blog The Sandwich Years.

I still feel like the filling – a squashed meat stuck between the breads of caring for young children and elderly parents. Sometimes I feel like a limp petrol station pre-wrap. It has all the right elements but is somehow lacking in taste. But sometimes I feel gourmet. Creative, filling, full of flavour and bite.  And that’s life. I’ve learned to take life’s calories and burn them up brilliantly whichever way they come.

The Sandwich Years is also fitting because it describes the phase I’m in right now with three small people at school and parents who need my love and attention. I’m in that culinary chaos of combining the bustling business of raising a family, alongside the bludgeoning business of building a career.  I’m also writing a novel, have written a novel and need to see where that takes me too. It’s mayhem, but it’s my mayhem and I want to enjoy it, not just endure it.

So I’m back. I’m physically fitter after training for a marathon, but I’m also mentally fitter. I want to write more about the marathon, because it wasn’t just one day. The training and the preparation taught me many things about life. It taught me I can endure pain, and carry on. It taught me I can make time for the things I need to do, and no-one dies (the house is a bit dirtier but who cares?). It taught me I am stronger than I ever imagined. And that life, work, writing a novel are about setting goals, and working hard to make them happen.  So more of that.

I want to write more about writing my book – and how actually what I learned was writing a book and finishing it, is pretty much the same as training for and finishing a marathon.  I couldn’t do the latter without actually going out and running every day and I couldn’t do the former without actually sitting down and writing every day.  So more of that too.

And then lots just about my life…. Depending on what filling I feel like at the time!  I hope you hear from you…

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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