Friday, December 11, 2015


My ten year old self would be so very disappointed if she woke up in this nearly 43 year old body today. She had big plans for us: study medicine, become a world class doctor, writer, singer and cartoonist. Be famous! Travel the world, see America and have lots of pen-pals.

I am not famous or a world class doctor. Nor a world class anything, really. If anyone asked me to sum up my life in one sentence, it would be this:

Nothing has gone according to plan.

Of course, nothing ever does. When I was ten, or sixteen or even twenty, I still clung to a belief that yes, things can go according to plan. I can have it all. I can be a super rockstar opera singer bestselling author cartoonist. (The idea of medical school fell away for me shortly after discovering how badly I sucked at maths.)

Me, aged 23. And I thought I was fat and ugly. 
I had what I now laughingly refer to as my "Quarter Life Crisis" around 25. I was a housewife living in Holland, traipsing along with my husband as he worked around the world. (I also laugh now when I hear Millennials refer to their Quarter Life Crisis. No, little ones, it hasn't even begun yet.)

At the time, I was concerned that my career as a journalist had stalled as a result of my traipsing. I worried what people thought of me. I weighed 44kgs less than what I do today and I was ashamed that I was 'fat'. I cried bitter tears that my dreams of being an opera singer had been scuppered and I was an angry, bitter bundle of nerves that lacked self-esteem and confidence. (This lack of self-esteem and confidence ended up inspiring some spectacularly bad life decisions.) And just for shits and giggles, I battled with ongoing depression, a genetic legacy that I inherited from my mother's side of the family.

Life, I believed right up into my early thirties, was something that happened to me, that I had no control over. Given the track record I had with life, she was a colossal Bitch who wore a 14 inch strap on and who took great pleasure in fucking me really hard in the butt on a regular basis.

It took a long time, but eventually I learned that I was what was happening to my life. This revelation was both liberating and frightening. I was responsible for my life. I was responsible for my decisions and their consequences. Once that particular curtain had been lifted, it was not possible to let it drop back down. It was like taking the red pill in The Matrix.

The only thing that has changed in my life is that I have changed. (Also, I have been able to spot the spectacularly bad decisions before I make them these days. And I am fatter.) I am something of a writer, a bit of a cartoonist, a touch of an artist, a some-time sing-for-fun singer, and as far as the healing arts go, I found a home in the 'alternative medicine' scene. If nothing else, I have discovered that I have a hippy's soul.

I am still navigating my mid-life transition. I am stronger than I was in my twenties. I have more confidence and self-esteem and I have a big tool box filled with stuff I can pull out to help me move forward. It's true that life really does begin at 40.

And it's okay that none of it goes to plan.

1 comment:

  1. I think my 10 or even 25 year old self would be disappointed in how has turned out. I know I am. I never wanted or imagined myself being along raising children, much less being alone at almost 50. I always believed things would work out, and they have. I am blessed, I have amazing kids and grandkids,that I love beyond all reason, things could always be worse. :) I wouldn't go back to what and who I was before. I like the woman I am now. I have gone through hell so many times, and while it has brought me to my knees, it has never broken me, at least not till Alix got cancer and died. Whether on your knees or broken, you get up, put the pieces back together and know you are stronger than you were before.
    I love what you wrote. I love how in touch you are with yourself and that you aren't afraid to dig deep into thoughts and feelings most people run from.
    We share many similarities in our thoughts and our past.
    You keep writing and and I will keep reading.
    Love you!!