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Now I am Forty-Three

So, today is my 43rd birthday.  Forty-three.  Four decades-and-a-bit.  Where the hell did those years go?!  I’m sure time speeds up as you get older.  I know I am very aware of time passing and, more depressingly, time running out.

Last year, I wrote a post about being forty two, and what I knew to be true at that point.  Not much has changed since then.  I still don’t know what the heck I am doing half the time, but I guess that’s ok.  I hope so anyway.  Though there is still a tonne of stuff I don’t know, there are some things which I know to be true FOR SURE.

  1. After forty, the body basically gives up and tells you where you can stick your diets and exercise.  Things sag and bulge and lose the ability to look like they did when you  were twenty.  This is ok.  Horrible and annoying, but ok.  No one else will notice except for you, because they are all too busy worrying about their own saggy bits, so don’t focus on it too much.  If you do, you will become dull, depressing AND saggy.  And that’s just sad.
  2. Don’t worry too much about trying to figure out your face shape.  Whether it is a heart or an oval or a dodecahedron doesn’t really matter.  Just wear what you like and grow your hair in a way that causes you the least amount of stress.  No one is going to come up to you in the street and berate you for having a fringe with a round face.
  3. Now that you have given up on trying to understand boys,do not turn your attention to understanding men (who are, after all, just little boys with bigger and more expensive toys).  It’s even harder and will give you a migraine.
  4. Try new hair colours.  Blonde is inevitable, but these days so is pink, lilac and blue. Avoid doing that black-underneath-and-white-on-the-top style.  You WILL look like a back-to-front skunk.  Do not trust your friends who tell you you look “fabulous” with such a style.  “Fabulous” is code word for “We understand you are going through a phase and hope you grow out of it soon”.  Cover grey hair if you feel you must – don’t feel guilty or vain for doing so.  Similarly, don’t let people tell you you shouldn’t let yourself go grey.   Schnauzers are grey and they are awesome.  Do what you want and what you can afford . Unless it’s the skunk thing.
  5. Hang out with small children when you can.  It’s best if you ask their parents first. Don’t just pick up random children on the street – that is frowned upon.  And frowning causes wrinkles.
  6. Be kind.  Always.  To yourself and to others.  It is painless and gives you brownie points in heaven.  Maybe.  I’m not sure about that one.  At the very least, it makes you happier and will stop wars from happening.  Maybe, I’m not sure about that one either.
  7. Read all the books you can.  Do not waste time on books you “can’t get in to”.  Life is too short to be wasting it on books you don’t connect with.  They’re like people – some of them are just not your type and can be annoying and obnoxious, dull or long-winded.  Give them away and start a new book.  If one thing in life is guaranteed, it’s that you will NEVER run out of books.
  8. Don’t worry about getting married, or finding a boyfriend (or girlfriend) or being in a relationship at all.  You’re perfectly ok without that stuff.  Don’t settle for something just because everyone else is doing it.  You’re not everyone.  You’re you.  And you’re amazing.  If someone comes along who deserves a piece of that amazingness, by all means hold on to them for dear life.  But don’t wait for them.  They might be a little bit tardy, and you can waste a lot of time hanging around, hoping they show up.
  9. Don’t buy shoes you have trouble walking in.  You will look like a twit.
  10. At some point you will find yourself saying “Music today is RUBBISH!” and bemoaning the fact no one can write a decent song any more.  Face it, you have become your parents.  Don’t fight it.
  11. Try a nice bright lipstick.  And then immediately wipe it off because it looks ridiculous.  But yay you for trying new things!
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    Bright pink lipstick – not convinced.

     

  12. Accept and embrace other people’s lifestyles.  There are billions of people on the Earth and every one of them is a bit weird.  We’re all weird so, technically, nothing is weird.  As long as you’re not hurting children, kicking puppies or mugging old ladies, you’re fine.  You don’t have to join in with someone else’s lifestyle, but you should allow them to get on with it, as they see fit.  Mind your own business.
  13. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  It’s too hard and makes people think you’re a wanker.  Just be you.  Crazy, perfectly imperfect YOU.  People will like you or they won’t.  Better they decide based on the real you.
  14. Be silly.  As much as you can.  If no one wants to join you, do it by yourself.  Don’t grow up – it is tiresome and makes you forget all the wonderful things that still make up life on Earth.  Believe in fairies, delight in rainbows, and remember how big the world used to seem, and how many possibilities it contained.
  15. Do own and wear comfortable, sensible underwear.  If it itches, rides up, cuts in or just makes you angry, don’t wear it.  Do not buy into the tabloid horror that is “CELEBRITY CAUGHT WEARING GRANNY KNICKERS!!!”  You are not a celebrity and, even if you are, your undergarments are your own business.  I’m sure most road rage incidents are caused by people wearing too-tight knickers.  It just makes you cranky and unable to make rational decisions.
  16. Let it go.  Forgive.  Love.  Don’t hold grudges.  Build a bridge and get over it.  Life is too short to hold on to bitterness.  It will eat you up and make you unpleasant to be around.  You will probably not get invited to parties and people will do a lot of eye-rolling around you.   Don’t be that person.  Let it go, let it go, let it go.  If that doesn’t work, makes yourself a voodoo doll and have at it.
  17. Grow a garden.  Whether that means a tiny succulent in a teacup on your window sill, or an acre of vegetables, grow something.  Nurturing another living thing is good for your soul.  It tunes you in to the Earth and life and the nature of things.  But if the tiny succulent in a teacup on your window sill dies, for Goodness’ sake get rid of it.  A dead thing is unsettling and depressing and will make you feel like a failure.
  18. Cultivate friendships.  Make time for them.  Let your friends know you love and care for them.  Be soppy about it.  People might pretend to be embarrassed  but they secretly like it.  Just knowing someone is thinking about them can brighten a person’s day and make the world a little less lonely.  Add smiley faces to your emails, be cheeky to your boss, and bring cupcakes to work to share.  Life is hard, smiles are free – to combat one, give lots of the other.  Hug.  Listen to people’s stories and remember small details to talk about later (so they know you paid attention).  Notice when someone is sad or anxious or just struggling with the weight of the world.  Just being noticed can make a big difference.
  19. Being sensitive is a good thing.  Empathy is not weakness, it is very much a strength.  Don’t let others “toughen you up” or tell you how to feel.  The world has plenty of  tough, un-empathetic, un-feeling people in it, and look where that has gotten us.
  20. You can’t fix everybody.  This is something I have taken a long time to learn, and I am not done learning it.  Be a good listener, offer practical help where you can, and support the people you love.  But do not try and fix them.  That’s not your job and you are setting yourself (and them) up for failure.  Everyone is on their own journey and it is not your job to run ahead every few miles, filling in pot-holes and watching out for pedestrians, stray dogs and traffic jams.  You can give them directions and point out a few landmarks, but you can’t drive the car for them.

So, another year older and probably not much wiser.  But that’s ok – life is a learning process, right?  I’m glad to have reached the ripe old age of forty-three.  I wouldn’t like to be twenty-three again, although I wouldn’t mind having the extra twenty years up my sleeve to do some things over.

Hope you are happy today, whatever your age 🙂

Thank you for stopping by x

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House Sitting & House Hunting

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been house-sitting this week for a friend (SR) from work, and looking after her two gorgeous wuppets, Sam and Chloe.  They are delightful but a bit nuts (as you would expect from two young labradors!).  I had forgotten how much work dogs are – I don’t mean that in a bad way – and how guilty I feel when I am not entertaining them ha ha.  I stayed home a lot because I didn’t want them to be alone too much and the weather was awful so I wanted them inside in the warm and dry.  I mean, how can you look at this face and put him outside in the cold and wet weather???…….

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They were really good anyway and just liked to be with me, whatever I was doing.  because it was such miserable weather, I actually stayed indoors a lot and watched TV (which I NEVER do normally) – lots of cooking shows and decorating shows and things that basically made me want to eat a lot and paint stuff ha ha.  Sam and Chloe were happy to nap and hang out in the lounge room, with intermittent play times – lots of ball-throwing and mad chasey games around the backyard – before taking another nap.

There is nothing cuter than a sleeping dog 🙂

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Besides house-sitting, I’ve been madly house-HUNTING.  Which is anxiety-inducing and stressful.  I never thought I would be in the position to buy my own home and so I think I haven’t really prepared myself mentally for it.  Everyone keeps telling me how exciting it is and I’m just thinking how scary it is.  And then I feel guilty because I should be grateful I get to even consider buying a house, when some people don’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight, let alone for years to come.

But I have to think of my future security and the fact that I will probably not be able to afford rent in the decades to come.  I have to put my big girl pants on and be brave and make the commitment and BUY SOMETHING.  But it’s hard.  Borrowing all that money is hard.  Figuring out what neighbourhood to live in is hard.  Making a decision is hard.  I don’t make decisions, I avoid them.  I can’t even decide what colour socks to wear, let alone where I want to live.

Of course, where I will live is very much dependent upon what I can afford.  Which isn’t much.  I can’t afford to buy in my own neighbourhood here, which SUCKS big time because I love it here.  So I am looking at nearby suburbs and faraway suburbs and suburbs I have never even heard of before.

I nearly put an offer on a townhouse last week.  I was all ready to do it.  And then I panicked.  Majorly.  Anxiety-Attack Central.  It didn’t feel right and it all happened too quickly and the seller wanted to settle by the end of June and I have to get out of my rental lease and it will cost me a fortune to do that and AAGHAHAGHGHHHH!  Basically, I had a bit of a conniption.  So, no offer was made.  I will re-look at the property in a couple of months time.  If it’s still there, I will reconsider.  But I think it will sell as it was a pretty good price and in good condition etc.  I regret it a bit, but am also relieved I didn’t go through with it when I wasn’t feeling 100% sure.  I felt the way I did just before I got married – and we all know how THAT turned out!  Sometimes you have to go with your gut.

So, it’s back to the drawing board.  I have banned myself from looking at places for the next couple of months, until I am nearing the end of my lease here.  Then I will be ready, emotionally and financially.  Or I will just find another excuse to not bite the bullet and buy.  It’s just scary.  I’m not good with scary.  I never trust my own instincts with things so don’t know when I am making a sound judgement.  Adulting is hard!

All I know is that I want to feel safe and happy in my home, have room for a cat or two and be able to get to work without too much hassle or commuting time.  If I can win Lotto in the meantime and afford a nice neighbourhood with maybe a cafe strip and pretty streets, that would be a bonus.  Maybe near the River or Ocean, with some friendly-but-not-nosey neighbours and my own lovely garden…I don’t ask for much 🙂

Procrastination, I am Your Queen

Procrastination, I am Your Queen

I wasted today.  Which is better than saying “I AM wasted today”, I suppose.  However, it is still bad.  I am too old to be wasting time.  Frittering it away.  Getting distracted (in fact, as an example, I am now thinking about fritters).  Doing nothing when I should be doing something.  Or, doing something but it is a something that is basically nothing in the guise of something, you know?  Come Sunday evening, I am wracked with the guilt of procrastination and time wasted.

I promised myself I would ACHIEVE this weekend.  I would write lists and tick them off.  But all I succeeded in doing was ticking myself off with my inability to actually do anything.  The worst part is, I didn’t sit around much at all.  I am not a sitter.  I am always very busy.  VERY busy.  Doing nothing much at all.

I usually find I become very motivated, around about 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday, when I suddenly realise that I have to go back to work tomorrow and I have had two days off where I could have, y’know, started that best-selling novel, created a Fortune-500 company, built a house or ended third world debt.  I have high hopes for my weekends, but they often don’t pan out.  Basically, because I myself fizzle out.

Now, I must admit, I am having trouble dealing with anything at the moment.  I am weaning myself off my anti-depressants and I am finding it harder than I thought I would.  Harder than I have let anyone around me know. I thought “Oh, it’s been two and a half years, I can come off them now! Piece of cake!”  but it’s been a little trickier than that.  And there was no cake.  But, there’s been crying.  Lots of crying.  I’ve done that super ugly, blubbering kind of crying.  I’ve yelled at people.  I’ve had nightmares.  I’ve been hyper and chatty one minute and then morose and downright jump-off-a-cliff depressed the next.  But I persevere because I have to do it and I don’t want to be on this medication forever.  And before you ask, yes this is being medically supervised and I am being sensible.  It’s just that I am 41 years old and I need to be able to manage things and not hide behind a little happy pill.  Plus, I need to cry every now and then.  It’s a natural state for me and NOT doing it is weird.  I just needed them to get me over the marriage-breaking-down hump and now I have to come back into the real world again.

Which has left me a little bit blue.  Because the real world is a bit shit, to be honest.  Pardon my language.  People are mean and stuff is hard.  So I get bogged down in the mean and the hard.  I find it difficult to get up in the mornings, not just because I don’t want to go to work, but because I am actually sad.  Mostly because I don’t want to go to work but also because I am floundering a little bit.  I’m going through one of those “Who am I and what am I for?” stages.  Which I probably should have gone through at age 18 or something but I was too busy being terrified of the world to even contemplate that I had some sort of place in it.  In some ways, it is worse going through it now because I have less time to figure things out.

Which brings me back to wasting time.  Some people are happy to waste time and don’t see it as actually WASTING TIME.  People think the weekends are for chilling out and lazing about, watching TV and sitting around.  I don’t.  I always feel like I should be doing something constructive or at least making plans that would lead in that direction.  More lists.  Lists that will have ticks against them.  So that when people ask (on Monday morning) “Hey, what did you get up to on the weekend?”, I can say, smugly, “Oh, I rendered the house, put in reticulation, baked 400 muffins for the local homeless shelter, adopted a litter of kittens, ran a marathon, painted my fence and knitted a tea cosy……” instead of answering “Um…not much.  I did some ironing.”  And let’s face it, even ironing is probably not happening in my house most weeks.  Or months, to be fair.  Do I even HAVE an iron?….

I wanted to create things this weekend.  I wanted to have lots of blog posts ready and waiting to be written.  I wanted to have projects on the go.  I wanted to actually have some crafts on here, which would be nice, considering this is supposed to be a crafty kind of blog.

So, what did I achieve this weekend?  Well, I caught up with my best friend, whom I haven’t seen since JULY (holy crap, that is three months ago!) and we set the world to rights and talked up a storm.  I visited my Aunt.  I visited my cousin and nieces.  I went shopping for new bras (to go with the new boobs).  I bought a pineapple/green apple/broccoli/mint drink which was SO DELICIOUS I bought another one today.  I saw a movie with a friend and felt confused by it.  I felt horribly guilty for saying no to said friend when she asked me to dog-sit for her over Christmas.  I went to see my Mum.  I pruned my garden and all the courtyards around my house, weeded and swept up leaves and junk in my yard.  I dyed my hair so I no longer look like rapidly-ageing hag woman.  I went to a little charity fete in my street and bought some more books.  I tried eye-liner for the first time and decided I quite liked it.

So I did SOME things.  I guess.  And seeing friends and family is certainly not NOTHING.  It’s actually very important. And nice. And soul-reparing.  But now it is evening and I have to make dinner and get stuff ready for work tomorrow. But I wanted to make cards.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to do some drawing.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to tidy my craft room.  That certainly didn’t happen and, frankly, I was kidding myself that it would.  I wanted to write in my journal and finish off a collage I have been working on (well, “working on” is an overstatement…). None of those things occurred.

So, I guess I have to try again next weekend.  I will write proper lists and endeavour to stick them (and not lose them).  I will not be distracted by whatever it is that normally distracts me (usually involves tea or facebook or cheese) and I will achieve THINGS.  Or, at least try to.  Because time is running out.  And I do not want to leave just a carbon footprint behind.  I want to have been here for some sort of reason and purpose.  Even if that purpose amounts to nothing more than writing a blog post on schedule, with actual useful stuff in it.

What do you hope to achieve on your weekends?  Are you a procrastinator?  Do you get distracted by things and wander off target, like me?  Do you even have a target?  How do you stay on target (if you do)?  How do you gauge your achievements or do you simply think it’s enough to have gotten dressed every day?

Hope your weekend was exactly as you wanted it to be – busy, lazy, crazy, chilled or fulfilling, whatever makes you feel happy and content and not guilty 🙂

Life is one big journal entry…

Life is one big journal entry…

I have spent the last few days helping my Mum move into her new house.  So exhausting!  It’s not just the physical side of things – shifting boxes, driving back and forth between houses to pick up yet more boxes, unpacking, cleaning the old house ready for the new people to move in – it’s the emotional stress too that is tiring.  My Mum has lived in that house for 33 years.  I myself lived in it for about 29 years.  There are so many memories there – good memories and bad, happy ones and sad ones.  But leaving it was not the emotional wrench I expected.  We were too busy to get caught up in any soppy goodbyes or sentimental last-minute looks at the garden or neighbourhood.  And anyway, the house is just a house – without my Mum in it, it’s no longer a home to us.  She, and the cats have a brand new house – much smaller and with far less garden to look after – and it already feels like it is theirs.  We may well be unpacking boxes for the next three weeks or more though (now I know where my hoarding tendencies come from!)…

I found a couple of things I forgot I had.  This embroidery my Mum made for my room:

This bunny box I painted years ago (and one of the few things I was quite pleased with, considering I made up the design myself – I was into penny rugs at the time and although I never got round to sewing one, I decided to copy the idea and paint a stylised version of one on this little wooden trinket box):

I also found this lovely mosaic an old work colleague of mine made for me:

In packing and moving, we have had to clear out a lot of stuff, much of it mine (hey, it’s traditional to leave half of your belongings at a parent’s house, isn’t it?).  I was a good girl and threw out or donated loads of stuff.  Some of it was very hard to get rid of but I knew I had to do it.  Mum no longer has the room for it all and I should be a grown up and cull a few things.  I don’t need four hundred magazines.  I don’t need to keep every card I have ever been given (seriously) and I probably don’t need to hang on to my old diaries that go way back to when I was 8 years old.  Or, hang on, maybe I do…they are, after all, a record of my life (dull as it may have been) and reading them brings back memories, some happy and some quite tear-inducing but memories worth keeping nevertheless.

Some choice entries include:

“October 27, 1983 – Dear Diary, Everyone fights.  It’s stupid because they have boyfriends.  We’re not old enough for boyfriends…” (Aged 8, before hormones kicked in)

“January 29, 1986 – Dear Diary, I think I will move down the back with the geese.  Everyone fights. I wish I was a good witch so I could magic anything!” (Aged 12 and obviously still believing in the power of a little magic and it’s ability to put an end to conflict.)

“August 27, 1985 – I have a big crush on John B*.  I wish I was prettier, not so fat and not so boyish so he would like me.  I hope he doesn’t have aids etc (Aged 11.  Already developing awesome self-esteem and not quite grasping the whole AIDS thing and how one contracts it).

“August 13, 1984 – Today was ok.  At school, Matt C* did a bog.” (Aged 10.  A bog, I should point out is a charming way of saying someone passed wind.  Obviously a highly interesting occurrence to a ten-year-old!)

“October 16th, 1986 – Yesterday the circles wore bras, even Christy*! Hah hah! Mum said I don’t need one yet which is dead good!” (Aged 12.  “Circles” were the opposite of squares.  I, luckily, did not fit into either category so was accepted by both sides.  Poor Christy* was terminally flat-chested.  She got a boob job a couple of years ago and leads a full, happy life, unaware of my earlier poo-poohing of her unnecessary underwear choices..)

I’d like to say that my journal entries got better as I got older but, sadly, they did not.  I was still prattling on about boys well into my thirties and bemoaning the fact I was ugly/dumb/fat/etc.  These days I struggle to write anything at all, which is probably a good thing, but I really should try and jot down a few important facts and dates so I can remember them in my dotage.

I would die a thousand deaths if anyone read my diaries but I can’t bring myself to throw them away.  But if anyone does find them, hidden carefully under my bed or in my drawer or on top of a cupboard, I will deny all knowledge of them and refuse to admit they are mine.  Or at least say I was under the influence of some mind-altering drug when I wrote them.  And if John B* is still out there, I didn’t really like you, I was just pretending.  It’s what all the cool circles were doing at the time…

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent!