Nearly 43 years of it. It’s my birthday in a few days and so I’m reflecting on what’s happened since the last birthday and also, further back.
On my 42nd birthday I ran a half marathon. 21.1kms of pushing through mentally and physically. You can read my account here if you like. To say it was harrowing is an understatement. To say that I am utterly proud of myself for doing it is also an understatement. When I’m low, or faced with fears or tasks that seem insurmountable, I remember what I did that day, when I was 42.
That day I was surrounded by family, a wife, my kid, my friends, parents. We had a BBQ on our property which we call The Farm.
This birthday, all of that is gone. The Farm is nearly sold. The 15 year relationship is gone. No more time for me in that space. My child is older and sometimes sadder because her parents aren’t together anymore. My parents are older, surviving the cancer has come at a cost for them and carrying me through these last few months has also been a strain for them.
This year I tried hard to be with my wife but when the mask came away, I realised it was all gone.
This year I tried so hard to be a good person and I don’t know if I’ve succeeded or not.
This year I feel like I have opened up and almost been reborn. The rebirth is not quite complete. There is still a little way to go but I’m getting there.
This year I feel I have survived the terrible and the divine.
I feel as if I have been exposed to so much more than I ever could have been previously, when I was 41.
But things have been changing since I turned 40, so maybe this is all a process that started not last year but then. This year is just the culmination of the choices of the previous 40 years.
I don’t know.
What I do know is that despite the tears and the rollercoaster and the pain, I’m happy. Generally and often in a moment, I am happy now. And it did take a few months to get to that point. However, I am there now.
What will happen by the time I’m 44? I have no idea. I’ve met so many wonderful people this year. Around the world, in my office. No one could have told me how many wonderful, beautiful and kind new people I would meet in the last year.
When I as having my 42nd birthday lunch on the farm, after running my half marathon, you could not have told me that I would become who I am right now. You would not have told me I would not be with my wife when I was 43. That I would have a long distance relationship before I turned 43. That I would live in a room in my brother’s house. That the people at work would support me and I would be challenged to learn more than ever. That I would love my old friends even more for supporting me, that I would lose friends but that I would also gain many more in the process of opening up.
You would not have been able to convince me that despite all the hard emotional times, the crying and the pain and the sleeplessness, that I would be happy. And almost content.
I’m looking forward.
I’m looking forward to this next half of my life, whatever it brings. No doubt there will be more pain and tears but also, joy, love and laughter.
So much new music in my life that means so much. New tattoos and new experiences.
It’s been hard and scary and terrible and sad. I’ve felt guilt and shame and sadness beyond what I’d ever felt before.
But I have survived. And so have all the people in my life. Not all the relationships, but there was always going to be losses. I’m sorry and goodbye to you. Fare well in your lives.
And thank you, dear reader, for coming on this journey with me. Let’s see what new things we can explore together into the future.
Wishing you all the happiness the Universe can bring