Hiding in denial has done little to change the fact that I had a milestone birthday yesterday, a big one….a really, really big one. I am of two minds about it. In one way, I feel heartache that the best of my youth and vigour are apparently behind me. This feels particularly true when I look too closely in the mirror or lament the southerly movement of a few body parts. On the other hand, as my darling husband tells me, “it’s better than the alternative”….you know being dead. Yes, he is pragmatic, my husband.
I thought long and hard about how to mark this milestone. A family trip to Bali? (too politically unstable at the moment), a big bash? (anyone who knows me knows I HATE being center of attention so definitely not), a small bash? (well we’re still working on building a new social network in Perth, and I cried my way through the last one in Melbourne, so no), dinner at a fancy, expensive restaurant? (nah).
Then a couple of weeks ago, Child Wise invited me to give a talk at a fundraiser/awareness-raising event on the issue of child sexual abuse and child trafficking, hosted by a small NGO in Perth called ‘Bird on a Wire” on my actual birthday day. In the end, this seemed a more fitting way to remember this personal milestone whilst at the same time bringing attention to an issue close to my heart in this place I now call home.
After the event yesterday afternoon, I came home to a bottle of Moet & Chandon on ice. J was out for a walk with neighbours so C2 and I just sat, talked, sipped our champagne and reflected on the life we have had together. He followed this up with an amazing dinner of grilled Swordfish, Caponata, grilled Asparagus, and grilled bread, all my favorite foods. That husband of mine is one fine cook!
|J took this one and though blurry I think it captures the spirit of my birthday evening|
Today, I have found myself continuing to reflect on my life, I count myself remarkably fortunate that while there have been challenges along the way and my choices have not been without cost, I have had, to put it simply, a bloody brilliant life and I am so grateful.
|A walk on the doggie beach the day before|
|J and Murphy|
|More at the dog beach down the road from our house|
It has been a soulful, stimulating, enriching journey; a life populated by a beloved cast of characters some who have accompanied me for only a season, but all of whom in a million ways, contributed to my experience,. It has been a kaleidoscope of colour, of taste, of language, and of new and different horizons. It has been a book of many chapters, each shifting and stretching me into the person I am now.
I intentionally use the word stretch because I hope that as a result of my life experience, I possess the qualities I have learned to admire most in others.
· To have strong opinions provided they are informed ones, it is important that truths be founded in reason and careful consideration but then they should be sung.;
· To stay informed in order to contribute to the social conversation; to consider the rationale of others but to critically discern;
· To be tolerant but only when it is predicated upon personal freedoms and reason, not dogma or undue influence.
· To have passions regardless of what they are and to pursue them with abandon without fear of judgment;
· To be compassionate and to empathize with the broken, the disadvantaged, and the vulnerable;
· To engage in something, anything; but once engaged, pursue it with honour and commitment for as long as possible;
· To live life purposefully; open-eyed, open-minded, and open-hearted; to push the limits of your courage particularly when it’s easier to do the easy thing.
Oh and finally, and this one is really, really important: remember to drink more water and the occasional glass of good Champagne with a good friend.