I made a vow to myself a long time ago, when I was in my teens and didn’t really understand what life was going to be like (even though I thought I knew, in that way all teenagers do). I swore to myself at that time that I would never, ever lie about my age.
I vowed I would never pretend to be either younger or older than I actually was at any particular time. I promised myself that I would age ‘gracefully’ and accept myself however I should turn out to be.
Amazingly, I kept that vow. That promise stuck in a way few of the promises and vows I’ve made in my life have done.
The years have passed and I have watched them go, often too caught up in my daily life to realise the significance of the time passing. I’ve sat in amazement as I’ve seen my nephew and nieces mature into adulthood. I’ve felt the sadness of losing my father due to an extended illness and then unexpectedly losing my stepfather a mere seven months later.
I’ve watched the trials and tribulations of family and friends, and felt the impotence created by being on a different continent, unable to help and not knowing what I’d do if I were home.
I’ve rediscovered my old passions, found my inspiration and begun a phase of my life with a renewed self-confidence where I can proudly state “I am a writer” without feeling the need to look at the ground or shuffle my feet nervously when I say it. I’m bolder now than I’ve ever been, less inclined to hold my tongue when something is wrong, or when I witness injustice.
In a sort of fairytale twist I never saw coming, I met the love of my life. I married him and we work every day to be happy and to find our way together in the life we now share.
For the first time, I am content with how things are and how I think they’re going to go. Sure, I’d like for some things to be different, it’s only natural to have goals and plans. But I’m no longer looking around me and feeling a deep dissatisfaction with, well, everything, as I once did in my twenties and earliest thirties.
It’s only now, at this moment in time, I find I am at peace with myself and where I am in my life. It’s only fairly recently I’ve managed to find the ‘real me’ – someone who, much to the chagrin of my hairdresser, doesn’t dye the grey out of her hair, or wear perfume or makeup. She simply is who she is, and who she’s always been.
Sometimes, I marvel at the fact I’ve made it to the age of 42 in better shape physically and emotionally than I was at 22. Or 32, for that matter.
For my birthday, I plan on having a quiet party with my family and friends, and I will celebrate the fact that I am now – chronologically speaking – the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.