Turning 40

Jan. 20th, 2011 02:13 pm
mordwen: (Default)
[personal profile] mordwen
I turn 40 in two days. Needless to say, I've been pondering my life so far. I can't say that I have no regrets (on the contrary, I have many) and I'm certainly not where I thought I would be at this point in many ways (I have no long-term job, I live in a small apartment with no outside space at all instead of on a commune somewhere, my relationship is not exactly smooth right now).

All that said, I wanted to stop and celebrate some of my achievements so far and open the space for some dreams.
  • At 17, I helped organise a rally of 100,000 students and we stopped a bad law being implemented in our state.
  • At 24, I was editing my own magazine and I had a number of years of absolutely awesome work in that industry, swanning around and enjoying being on radio and TV.
  • My 20s were a whirlwind of two major long-term relationships with Phil and David, and I really loved the years the three of us were all together sharing a house and beginning that dream of communal living.
  • I explored mind-expansion through interesting chemicals and spent many nights dancing.
  • I saw live music that thrilled me.
  • I went to Woodford Festival every year and recharged myself.
  • At 28, I was head-hunted by The Age, which meant I moved to Melbourne and I spent some awesome years here and loved being in the same city as my best friend Christina for so many of them and I met and loved many people here, including Jonathan and Matt and Thea and Bonnie and Georgia. I met my close friend Jack here and took my spiritual practice to a new level thanks to him.
  • I spent four months travelling alone in Europe in 2003, which was wonderful and beautiful and I miss it.
  • I learned to ride a scooter and really enjoyed the freedom and the feeling that gave me.
  • I found my own style and discovered cafes and good red wine and had many, many hours of wonderful conversations.
  • I (self-)published a book of my poems and read my poems at venues and people liked my poems and bought my book.
  • I discovered teaching and opened up a new profession for myself.
  • I was an activist and lived my life according to my principles.
  • The apartment may be small, but I own it. Well, the mortgage at least. And it has an enormous bath. Mmm, bath.
  • Just as I was ready to give up on my long-term dream of having a partner or a child, I met Doug, had an incredible time at Burning Man, had the best sex in my life (sorry everyone else...) and got pregnant. And, whatever the issues right now, Doug is an amazing human being and we love each other.
  • At 38, I finally had my beautiful daughter, and even if the birth wasn't what I'd hoped and still causes me some issues, she is turning out to be one of the most incredible people and she makes me smile every day.
With all that in mind, where next? I chose the word "joy" for 2011 and that's something I really need to find again. I can't spend all my time being bitter about the things I've lost or the moments that didn't work out. I need to celebrate the good things and become the person I want to be again. I've been really comfortable with myself before. Admittedly, it relates strongly to my work...

Some of my dreams, I've achieved — I have a daughter, a partner, a book of published poems, a life of activism and intellect, red wine and song. Some I haven't: the commune, living in Spain or France, constant travelling with my equally debonair partner where we live off the proceeds of my travel writing and their travel photography, being the editor of the Good Weekend or working for Oxfam or Amnesty International.

What's still achievable?

Doug and I discussed this the other day. We worked on the plan to move to northern New South Wales within the next seven years. We discussed my options of teaching at Southern Cross University. I'm applying for jobs with Oxfam and Amnesty International at the moment — I just had an interview with Oxfam on Monday. We discussed spending a year in Spain and when we could travel to Europe again on a short trip. A lot depends on how we make money in the next few years and that's a big challenge right now. So that's the next step, really. Working out who I am at 40 and where I want to work, then manifesting a business or job that fulfils me and brings me joy. I'm networking with people on that.

And the other thing I need to work on is cementing friendships and building new ones. I've been so depressed for the last six months, I've not been a lot of fun to be around. That has to change. It is changing.

Life begins at 40, right?
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