I remember when my mum turned forty. Shit it seemed soooo old. I was 14, and with my head up my butt (metaphorically not actually physically, I gave up ballet years before) meant old to me was anyone over the age of 25. Taylor Swift hadn’t even been born yet. But now it’s me knocking on 40’s door (November 10, if you’re asking)…it doesn’t seem half as bad. Could we say young, even? I can happily tell you I’ve so far managed to abstain from injecting botulism into my forehead or the cheeks of a dead pig into my face which means you’ll know when I’m pissed off with you because my eyebrows can still sit up in an upside down V at the top of my forehead and the tiny lines that sit at the creases of my eyes are there to remind me of the road maps of my life so far. Every one of them I’ve earned.
Even though my metabolism might have decided to all but give up on me, as have my ovaries and there might be far more cellulite making its way onto my thighs than I’d like…there is something quite enlightening to turning over another decade into demureness. My fondness for D’Auphinois cheese and a smooth Merlot, for one. My level of give-a-shit has depleted to almost nothing and gone are all those stupid years spent so indecisive in my twenties. Hanging on by a teeny thread are my thirties where I’ve discovered my faults don’t matter anymore. If I could tell myself anything it might be with each decade, the best is yet to come. I’d maybe warn myself of the shit that lies ahead but to treasure the wonderful moments that are gone in a tiny blink, too.
If Marty McFly really could travel back in time in his Delorian…I’d hitch a ride and this is what I’d tell myself…
Dear 10-year-old me: Yes life might seem shitballs because you’re growing up in a solo-parent home. Your brother leaves to live with your dad soon and it’ll feel like you’re an only kid. Sometimes that sucks balls big time. There’s gonna be heaps of stuff you want but can’t have – it’s character building. Your mum says so. You don’t know it yet but you’ve already made your friends for life and those three besties will be there for every one of your happy times and tragedies over the next thirty years. Just over halfway through this decade, you’re going to meet the boy who will change your life forever. Guess what…you’ll marry him one day, I know totally crazy huh? You end up leaving school and home much sooner than you should but it sure as shit won’t stop you fighting for your dreams.
Listen up, 20-year-old self: Your plans to travel the world will be put off for a while. Actually a whole decade but so much other stuff will happen it won’t even matter. You’ll land a top editing job on a couple of glossies and will love the shit out of it. That guy I told you last decade was the one, really and truly is and you’ll marry him soon. A couple of years later you’ll be in the hospital holding the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen…your baby boy. It’s going to be your greatest role yet, motherbood…so don’t wish away a single second of it. Not long after, your husband’s going to decide he wants to cross the Tasman. You’ll swear no for two years and one day, finally give in. Then you’ll never want to come back home…funny how fate changes you like that.
Dear 30-year-old me: I’m not sure how to tell you but this will be both the worst and best years of your life. One October day only just before your first year in your thirties, a call will come and take the wind from your lungs. It will completely kick your legs out from under you. They will tell you your husband’s been in an accident. You’ll fight with every bit of you but it won’t do any good. You will lose him. Yes, life will stop but trust me when I tell you you’re going to make it through. You have to. Over the next few years you will live in a blur never quite believing what’s happened. That pain you feel, it’ll never go away. But you know what? You might not believe this but a few years later, a man will come along who’s going to give you back the light you lost. He’ll ask you and your little boy to marry him and for the second time in your life, even though you’ll be scared to say it out loud, life will be perfect again. Don’t get too comfy. Soon you guys will learn the baby you so desperately want will come within a whisper many times but just as quickly fade away. It will take every bit of your fight to keep going back, again and again. What will be a complete mindfuck is that what was once so easy, now isn’t. You never even knew jackshit about IVF before but after three years, you’ll know more than you ever wanted to. Keep it up. You have to. One day it might happen.
Your biggest lesson in these three decades is to be grateful for all the good in your life. So yes, 40, you are so close I can smell you but you don’t scare me shitless…in fact I’m getting quite used to having you around – who knows, we might even become besties one day…give it time. Lov n’hugs Lady MamaG xox