I have a box at the top of my house, hidden away at the back of a room. It is a very battered old box. Pretty scruffy and ugly if truth be told. And most of the year it just sits there. Not getting disturbed much, apart from occasionally being dragged out roughly from its confines in order to enable access to some other box that sits behind it or underneath it.
But every so often, some thing will enter my house. Some small item or piece of paper or card and, as I head up to the bathroom or to the bedroom to turn on a lamp, I might drop this small item on a stair and think
“I must put that in the box later”
Perhaps the next morning this item will accompany me and I will, without ceremony, lift a corner of this box’s battered lid, and slide whatever the item might be into its confines – not looking in the box, or paying any attention to where the item lands. But this is where the item now lives. And will live, for as long as I do too.Read More »
I spent a few days at my brother’s last weekend. It was so lovely to see him and his gorgeous family. I felt the most myself I have felt for a good while – briefly stepping away from current stresses (which have been causing regular nausea and anxiety), and just being with this person – who in many ways feels like the other half of the person I am. Though we do not live near one another (sadly) our shared experiences attach us with a bond that I could feel with no other human being. I don’t have to ‘Be’ anything with my brother. I am just me and he is just he. I don’t have to pretend I’m fine if I’m not, or hide the things that are not working right now, and I am pleased to say he doesn’t do that with me either. Even though we are both struggling in our different ways at present, it felt good to be there for one another. As it has always been. As it always will be.
It was so joyful (as ever) to see my niece and nephews too. What beautiful, humour filled, captivating people they are. So full of what they are doing and what comes next in their lives. I am truly envious of them sometimes. With it all ahead of them.
All of their choices there for the taking
All possible mistakes there for the making
And their young hearts open to the inevitability of breaking
“The pupa stage is one of the coolest stages of a butterfly’s life. As soon as a caterpillar is done growing and they have reached their full length/weight, they form themselves into a pupa, also known as a chrysalis. From the outside of the pupa, it looks as if the caterpillar may just be resting, but the inside is where all of the action is. Inside of the pupa, the caterpillar is rapidly changing.
Now, as most people know, caterpillars are short, stubby and have no wings at all. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called ‘metamorphosis,’ to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge”
Turning forty was not a whole heap of fun for me. Things in the years prior hadn’t turned out quite as I had planned or imagined. My work life had turned sour, my dreams of starting a family had gone awry, and this had an inevitable impact upon my close relationships. I didn’t feel much like celebrating. In the preceding two decades I had pretty much known what the next step was, where I was supposed to be headed (note the ‘supposed to’ here. It turned out to be significant), and what actions I was going to take to move me toward those so well thought out goals. As I reached this supposedly momentous occasion however, I realised I was actually at a complete loss.
The realisation came over me that I had lost my way in life. My carefully laid out plan had burst into flames in front of my eyes and, in a confused and child-like manner, I sat on my own hands and said “Right, that is it! I don’t want to play anymore!”
I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Never have. I have always been incredibly envious of people who knew from a young age – could point themselves in the right direction and then work their socks off to make it happen.
You see, I sort of fell into my career path. And, because I always give my all to whatever work I am presented with (even towards things that I don’t much care for) I became really quite good at it and, as a result, kept getting promoted. So successful was I, that I ended up in a well paid, well respected job, with excellent prospects, offers of Masters degrees, yet more promotion, and so on, and so on, and so on.
As I begin to describe my encounters with others whilst travelling, it occurs to me that to many this may sound like just an expected and natural part of travelling alone. But I am an introvert, not always able to converse with others in a comfortable and confident fashion. I only wish that were so. These are not straightforward interactions for me. I sometimes find it hard to talk to my closest family and friends in the most familiar of surroundings, so talking to strangers in foreign lands can take a lot of effort on my part. I have to build up to it. I sometimes have to force myself. This is compounded by the fact that the overwhelming majority of strangers I have ended up travelling with (on a budget, on overnight buses, residing in hostels) are about half my age. There are a few slightly older people on the backpacker trail, but never many, and never, it would seem, as old as me.Read More »
I really didn’t give enough credit to the grief I would feel after I finally had to accept I wasn’t going to have children. I glossed over it. I think both my husband and I put it in a box marked “Done Deal” and separately agreed with ourselves we were not going to give it any further thought. There was no point.
But it doesn’t work like that. Boxes burst open. Lids catapult off at inappropriate moments. And randomly crying in public, when you suddenly feel a pang of pain that you can’t give a name to, really is not the most fun to be having.Read More »
This blog could well have been called “August And Everything After” – after an album that meant a great deal to me in my early 20s and defined a certain time in my life – a time when I edged toward finding myself – and then (as a consequence of life-stuff) got diverted.
Also, August has been a very eventful month for me in years gone by. It was the month I somersaulted my first car into a field and could have killed myself and my two best friends; it was the month I fell off the Canadian Rockies and could have been eaten by bears. My mother vowed she was never letting me out of her sight in August again.
A few years ago I jumped off a mountain in Rio de Janeiro in August, (hang-glider and muscular Brazilian attached). Needless to say I did not tell my mother of my plans until after the event.
That was during my ‘Mid-Life Crisis’ or whatever you would choose to call the panicked build up to 40 for a childless, slightly confused girl who has lost her path somewhere along the way.
Anyway, the jump was incredible. The perfect end to one tremendous adventure. And now I am engaged in a new one. My 40s. The second half of my summer, another mountain to jump off.
In this blog I hope to share some of the things I have learned in the first half of my life, some of the challenges I have faced along the way, and what I have done with that (in case it is of use to anyone else). I would also love to share some of my new adventures as a 40 something woman and how I am endeavouring to make the most of this new adventure.