I was so sure that I’d be blazing into my 40s on a winning trajectory. I would have aged gracefully, the sum of my life’s learning, ready to move forwards with fortitude and purpose. But the slide from 39 into 40 was long and slow — its metamorphosis barely recognisable in the dark, so many of my choices unfathomable, so many consequences unbearable.
All of it happening in the fullness of time.
There is finally light seeping through the crack in the chrysalis. I can no longer – in good conscience – care about words that carry no meaning. I have no time for grandstanding or false prophets, the clamour of egos, competing for scraps of recognition.
I am only interested in honesty, humility and humanity.
Stories and the courage it takes to tell them.
My ambitions back over the last several years have been stratospheric – sprawling and spiralling into the aether and then when I couldn’t get there fast enough, I would cut my engines mid-flight in an act of boundless self-immolation. I remember talking to older women, lamenting the dematerialisation of my 30s; my petulant enthusiasm an exhausting mix of defensive and hypercritical. ‘You’re still a baby’ they’d laugh, not unkindly, which frankly made me more driven and defensive. Determined. Manic. Depressed. Rinse, repeat.
Brene Brown calls midlife an ‘unravelling.’
How I have unravelled.
Last night I had a dream where I left a trail of destruction as I walked. If it was on my path then I kicked it until it broke. Onlookers watched as I punched through glass, kicked over rows of plants in terracotta pots, feeling the satisfying crumble of broken ceramic around my feet, contents strewn helplessly, roots exposed. When I woke up, I searched my hand for a dark wound that kept appearing – waiting for my flesh to rot, peel and disintegrate, like thin layers of smouldering paper. How apt, that my last dream at 39 was one of self-decimation.
I didn’t blaze into my 40s. I surrendered.
I am not fully-formed. I am only beginning to see the shape I am taking.
Happy birthday me. My day was filled with wonderful food, excellent people, beautiful messages (I’m still getting through them!), new experiences, sore muscles, free cake, a HD94, and some really great saké. On Saturday I get to see more excellent people and do it all over again.
Thanks to everyone who made today so wonderful. I am so incredibly grateful to have you in my life. x
Photo: Carly Webber