Here’s a very important tip when making a curry. If you are using a hand held blender to make the sauce make sure that the blender is turned off before you try to take one blade off to replace it with the one you need. Otherwise, like me last night, you’ll end up with an interesting cut on your finger which will really, really, really hurt and make you wonder if you are going to spend the night in the emergency department!
Fortunately my finger stopped bleeding quickly and I didn’t need stitches.
And a positive I can take out of the incident was that Kirby had to finish making dinner!
I think it’s fair to blame my lack of attention to on turning 40 in the past week. I’m officially over the hill now…so it’s only to be expected…
Of course I’m joking. At times I am just clumsy – I was clumsy in my teens, my twenties, and my thirties.
Turning 40, for me, is a milestone – it is not the end of anything, but is the beginning of something new. I told people before my birthday that it was just a number, but I don’t feel like that anymore. It is more than that – it is a time for changing the basis of my life.
My life was very different to now when I turned thirty. I was living in my lovely one bedroom apartment with my darling girl, Minerva. I was single and wondering whether staying single was a path I should actively pursue. I was in the fifth year of a job as a student advocate – which was a job I adored and I still miss (much of this is to do with the people I worked with). I had my friends and family and I was enjoying life.
But, even though I could see myself staying single I still had that deep desire to meet my life partner and have children of my own. Many of my friends were committing to their partners or getting married and/or having children. The reminder of what I really wanted was all around me.
I had no idea of the mountainous adventure that lay before me in the coming decade. What a ride!
Here’s a quick summary. Ready?
I met Kirby and moved in with him and then we bought an old bungalow together which we planned to renovate. I sold my lovely little apartment. I gained a whole new set of family and friends that came with Kirby. Kirby and I were married. We were blessed with new nieces and nephews (through both family and friends). I lost touch with friends I thought would be life-long and made new friends who I believe will really be life-long. My beloved Nan died. We brought home our gorgeous little Ari (not so little now!) and adopted our funny little Odi. We gave a home to one of my colleague’s cats (Felix). We looked after my sister-in-law’s cat, Frankie, for what was to be a few months, but seven years later she is still living with us. I was made redundant from my advocacy job due to the organization I was working at being closed down. My Dad was seriously ill and nearly died. I tried to run a dog training franchise without much success. I’ve had two or three bouts of serious depression which lasted a couple of months each. I’ve had three or four other jobs all in administrative roles. Kirby and I realized we were having trouble conceiving a child. We lost two babies to very early miscarriage. We tried IVF but the two embryos that were transferred into me died which devastated us. I started working for myself as an editor. We went on a dream holiday to New York. I completed a Masters in Creative Writing. Through some kind of unconscious unfolding we realized we wouldn’t be trying IVF again. I’ve lost touch with family members who I was close to and miss terribly. We moved house to be closer to our nephew, and because we realized our old house and the constant need to repair it wasn’t for us. Our Minerva died after a short illness. I went on a holiday all by myself to Thailand to Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary.
Throughout all of this I have been constantly trying to define my identity and my spiritually. I’ve tried to pick one type of spirituality (or religion) from Buddhism, Hinduism, Yoga, various forms of Paganism, and Christianity. I’ve read numerous books on being happy and on positive thinking. I’ve sat down with pen and paper and tried to draw a path to a life where I would be content and where I would have a constant link to something higher than myself. I tried to get to a place where I would finally have everything about my life sorted out. I thought about myself a lot. I was completely immersed in the self-help movement.
I think much of this trying to define everything has partially been because of being unable to have children. Something so huge that I was sure would be part of Kirby and my lives just didn’t happen and in response I tried to grab hold of the other aspects of my life so they wouldn’t slip away and so that I could find some kind of identity when I realized I wouldn’t be a mother. I needed a new meaning for my life.
Something has changed recently. I think it started before I went to Thailand but it became clearer while I was in that amazing country. I’ve been spending so much time on myself that I am missing the real life that is all around me. I am missing the people, the experiences, the just being, the emotions, the failures, the success, the chance encounters…it’s true I have seen all of these things but I haven’t been fully immersed in them because I have been afraid that I will be wrong.
It’s utter rubbish really. The whole thing is just crazy. I spent most of my time trying so hard to fit into a mold of what I thought I should be and what I thought my life should be that I ended up twisted and tormented.
When I was in Thailand, especially when I was at the elephant sanctuary, I saw people who had very little but they were happy. Sure they strived to have the necessities of life and they had goals, but they were happy while they were waiting to see what their lives would bring. They didn’t need some book telling them how to work themselves out. They didn’t need some self-help guru harping on about how positive thinking and intent would ensure everything they wanted would come to them. They just got on with it. They worked, they smiled, they wept, they helped each other out, they shared with each other and with me what little they had, and they spent time with their families and friends just being in the open spaces under their home-made homes.
It’s opened my eyes to just how self-centered I was being. I was constantly thinking about what would be in it for me if I did something or shared something. I kept my stuff to myself and worried about whether the curtains we had were okay and whether the house was clean enough to meet other people’s standards (which were imagined standards by me). It just doesn’t make sense to me, anymore, to live like this.
While I’m not going to let our house become a dirty mess, and from time to time I will reflect on what is going on in my life, I won’t be letting these things get in the way of living.
It’s okay to reflect and to read books on improving life, and it is definitely okay to have a connection to that something greater than me, but at some point I have to get on with living. I have to take risks in reaching out to people, I have to let things go, I have to love the people in my life, I have to let people go when they need to, I have to weep and laugh, be angry and be at peace, and let my emotions have a healthy reign on me sometimes. All I have to do is be and love people and animals and life – just the way it all is. I have to let go of controlling everything in my life and taking responsibility for things that are just not in my control, while having passion for those things I choose that I can perhaps do something about.
I have tried hard, in my thirties, to sort myself out. But, I realize now that nothing in life is ever irrevocably sorted out. And I mean absolutely nothing. At the beginning of my thirties, and especially when I met Kirby, I thought I knew where my life was going.
At the beginning of my forties I have no idea what life has in store for me. So it’s time to let it go and just see what happens and not be so serious about myself. It really is liberating.