I wrote this last week...
I was taking my morning constitutional this morning in the park, enjoying the sunshine and looking at the crocuses; even though I like autumn and winter better than the warmer/lighter months, there's something so smile-inducing about the first signs of spring life. New beginnings are forever a thing of magic and possibility, are they not?
Talking of new beginnings, change, etc, I was also thinking about an email I'd had from my friend Peregrine (not his real name) this morning. We'd spoken recently about a mutual friend, who I will call Lucinda. Neither of us had heard much from her for some while. However, Peregrine told me he'd 'messaged' with her the night before. I asked how she was; Peregrine said that she seemed down in the dumps, a bit 'blahhh' and 'like everything was over, her life was just going to carry on the same as it is now, forever' about which she was fairly pissed off.
Lucinda is 40. I am a 'wee' bit older than that. This week Lucinda will be 41, which Peregrine says was depressing her further, particularly as she works in a very image conscious/youth worshipping orientated business (she's gorgeous, by the way!). I was a bit "oo-er" when I reached my 40s, too, so I've written this to everyone who feels similarly about it:
Dear Lucinda and other People-Who-Think-Life-Ends-At-40:
It so doesn't! A whole bunch of stuff happens after the jowls start sagging and the grey hairs and crows feet appear, and you appreciate it all more when you're older, too. Since my 40th birthday, I have:
- Moved counties twice. I would never have predicted either move as I drank into the early hours at my 40th birthday party. Amazing what life can throw up at you, eh?
- Published ten books. I wouldn't have predicted that, either, as Kindles weren't around! I was writing at the time but the only chance of my ever being read by anyone aside from family and close friends was to find an agent and be traditionally published (likelihood: miniscule).
- Discovered life 'online' - no, it's not real life, but it kind of is, too. It's weird.
- Had about five different jobs.
- Made stacks and stacks of new friends (both in 'real' life and this strange online one) through jobs, house moves, my writing life, a social networking site or two and the 'real' social life I used to have (!!), some of whom I know will be friends for a long time.
- Discovered and developed new interests.
- Seen my niece, Freya, born (well, not actually being born - you know what I mean)
Freya with my dad, about 2012
- Ended a less than satisfactory marriage and got married again, and had another long (five year) relationship and three short ones.
- Visited places in the UK I'd never been to before, and been in an aeroplane for the first time (look, I know it's pathetic, I just haven't travelled much!)
- Heard new music, read new books, seen new films...it's endless.
In a nutshell, more good things have happened since I turned forty than in all the years before it. Hands up who thinks I ought to send this to Lucinda (bearing in mind that she and I only met in 2008, too!)......