Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 40th birthday to me!

Can you believe it? I am 40! Well what can I say? It is just great! I can now tell you that life definitely gets better with age. Not only have I started colouring my hair and have gotten over the small trauma of that, but I've also thrown out that metaphorical laundry that crowded the dirty basket of my life. Yes, with age, your tolerance for rubbish diminishes and the results are that you only make room for what's good. Let's face it, who wants to put up with rubbish? The younger me did, but no more and I am free.

I have also freed myself from that horrible invention called the scales. You know, that horrible thing on your bathroom floor? Well no more! I've taken the power back and will never step on one again.  The scale stopped telling me how much I weighed, but how I should feel about myself. No thanks! I know how my clothes feel and they can be my indicator - besides, I love clothes, so it really is win-win.

The common theme here is that, which I reiterated throughout the year - no drama . Whether it be with people or with your inner voice that beats you up for every ingested calorie. It also suggest that with the 'no drama' policy, the way we face problems changes too. We don't create problems, we solve them. What a revelation that was! Eventually, unintentionally, you impart that wisdom to your children and, as they get older, they spot trouble before you do, and for that I will always be grateful. Go with your instincts, they are a true gift.

This year has also taught me the ridiculousness of 'never'. It doesn't exist. I truly believe that. On two occasions I was adamant about my convictions and I was proven absolutely wrong within days. Learn it and apply it. It's a great tool to have.

We live in a world full of different types of people. They will show you who they are, and when they do, don't for a second think they will change. They won't. In fact, they will become more of themselves as they get older. What I do know is that, for the most part, people are good, they will show you this when you need them the most. It took my youngest to have her tonsils removed for me to really see that and it was a heart warming lesson. Just remember, if you hear that someone is kicking you down when you are most in need, it's ok to walk away. You can always forgive, but don't forget.

The most incredible thing I discovered, is that you have to seize every opportunity in front of you and things will definitely fall into place and what you never imagined could happen, will happen. Again, never say never.

Although a lot has happened this year, the one thing I do know is that by sharing my journey to 40 with you, it has made me take the time to sit here at my computer, make sense of what was going on in my life at any given time, write it for you and reap the benefits. What a lovely gift from all of you! 

Happy 40th birthday to me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

So what's new?

It might be a bit late to wish you a Happy New Year, but not too late to wonder if it has been happy? This year, so far has been a very happy one for me. Instead of the self loathing that comes with having over stuffed yourself over the holidays or the temporary damage you might have done to your liver though the cover consuption of gorgeous wines, my New Year was about getting down to business.

The infamous dress is hanging in my wardrobe and fits very nicely. Thank God! It looks even better on now, than it did the day I bought it. I started my detox on the 3rd of January and have made great progress. The fat jeans I bought all those months ago are loose, I'm down a notch on my belt and I haven't had an ounce of alcohol in three weeks,which means I'm sleeping well and my skin is benefiting. 

The venue is booked, the invitations are written and are ready to be sent out, which means there will be a party and I can't wait. It seems as though the dreaded 40 has turned into 'it can't come soon enough'. I guess I have a lot to look forward to, as all those who surround me are making sure that I enjoy every minute of it and it feels great!

A lot of  you have asked what I will do when my blog has run it's course. Well watch this space! I have been approached to Blog / Agony Aunt on a upcoming website for women. I know that you will all love the site and I hope that you will follow me over to it. Before that though, I will see you all back here on Valentine's Day 2012 the day of my 40th birthday!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


This Christmas thing is complicated. The gifts, the cards, the stocking fillers, the social gatherings - that's all child's play. Individual perception is a totally different thing. Not to mention the changes in perception throughout the different stages of your life.

When I was small, as in under 10 years of age, Christmas was all about the magic of Santa Claus, his reindeer, writing letters to him and the excitement and anticipation of his arrival. Par for the course for the average Western World child.

When I was 10, tragedy struck our family. We lost my sister 4 weeks before Christmas. From then on Christmas became an emotional scam. The Christmas movies, advertisements and expectations made it seem as if my family wasn't living up to the standard of Christmas and that we were failing miserably at achieving the Christmas dream. Two years later, my parents separated and my new found hate for Christmas was alive and well. From then on it was about who had me for Christmas and who had me for New Years. And once that was sorted out, Christmas was shared with strangers who would eventually become somehow part of my family. Step this, step that, half this, half that....the future dreaded question from all new acquaintances from then on was:
- 'Do you have any brothers or sisters?'
- 'Uh, how long have you got?'

As I got older I openly stated my utter hatred for Christmas and I became quite ok with that. I would explain it away about my 'emotional scam' belief and my friends were always understanding. My expectations were so low when it came to Christmas that I was well protected from any possibility of hurt. Emotional shields up! Success!

Then I had kids. Everything changed. Christmas became magical again. I even began to love it again. Who would have ever thought? We created our traditions, and my need for making everything perfect went beyond any necessity for it to be so. Presents were bought and wrapped by November 30th, the perfect shaped tree was always found, the perfect recipe found for preparing Brussels sprouts was applied and the pressure was full-on, by no one else but me.

Over the last few years, the expectation of Christmas was so high that we were always a little let down by not watching the movie we said we would, or by coming down with strep throat or a chest infection. The only way was down instead of up. I couldn't outdo myself, no matter how hard I tried.

As I approach my 40th birthday with less than two months to go and I have celebrated my last Christmas in my thirties, I am happy to say that there was no huge expectation this year. The tree is not perfect, the lights are a little on the wild side, my youngest has an upper respiratory infection, and half the movies we said we'd watch still haven't been watched and maybe won't be at all and, it doesn't matter.

The expectation of Christmas is what your mind sets it up to be, nothing more and nothing less. Took me 39 Christmases to figure that out so take it from me and choose your expectations wisely and, if you do, you will have a great one!

Now for those New Year's resolutions....but that's a whole other blog post. Watch this space!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mid-life crisis over!

A lot of my readers have been wondering where I've been. The truth is, I've been avoiding writing as a result of some ill intent people reading my blog and it's creeping me out! Initially I found it amusing, now I just find it annoying! Do they not realise that I can see who reads my blog? Anyway, a few well placed words from my true friends and here I am again not buying into my online stalkers' drama. So off with you-lot already!

So, where was I? Oh yes, well I'm busy, busy, busy....and what does that have to do with anything? Well let me tell you - as my life gets longer (39 years, 8 months and 27 days to be exact), my 24 hours a day feels more like 4 hours! Although not the most exciting of jobs, this stay at home Mum is constantly on the go and sometimes feels like a dog, running around in circles, chasing it's tail! Ugh!

The last few months have had me intensely disliking my role - being bored with it, toying with the idea of getting back into the work place and almost feeling unhappy. The other day while talking about where my life was going, a friend of mine said to me: 'pity you didn't do a degree'. Did I mention I LIVED with this friend for two years while in college? She of course corrected herself immediately and I laughed. But it does prove a point. This is how I am now perceived: the stay-at-home-mum with no qualifications. So, let me just set the record straight, for what its worth, I have BA (Hons) Business Information Management degree.

Anyway, as you can imagine, that kind of threw me over the edge into a mini mid-life crisis. Turning 40, with what seemed like a pathetic perception out there and not pursuing my passion just seemed wrong; but how can you pursue your passion when you are not entirely sure what that passion is?

I started to look into the prospect of getting back out into the workplace. The more I dug, the more I realised how complicated life would be for me and the rest of my family. I would end up worrying about my kids, that my home life would suffer as a result of my absence and that my husband wouldn't be able to entirely focus on his career as he too would have to pick up the slack resulting from my 'career' move. Then it dawned on me. I cared more about the consequences to family than I did about some job I went to, to break the monotony. I also realised that my 14 year old would still be in her old school, had I been working 3 months ago. The time and energy it took to put her in another school wouldn't have been available to me. I also realised that taking time off would have been difficult when my 7 year old had got tonsils out. And that we would never have gotten our little canine bundle of joy, as it just wouldn't have been fair to get a dog and leave him alone all day long. I wouldn't have been able to dedicate my full time energy to any of it. Then I started wondering what the future would hold for my family if they needed me and I was in work? I soon realised that my passion is in fact my family and that I am already pursuing my passion. What a result!

When I was a teenager, all I wanted was to have a stable home life, most likely due to the fact that I lacked one growing up. That is what I wished for, and that is what I got. How lucky am I? My daughters are well mannered, confident, intelligent, trustworthy, secure and healthy girls. My husband is loving, generous, considerate and a fantastic provider for our little family. As for me, I am happy to say that I am the backbone of our home life and very proud of it.

The point? Milestone's, such as turning 40 allow us to take stock and consider changes in our lives. It's an opportunity to evaluate where we are, who we surround ourselves with and how much we've achieved thus far. I'm glad of the opportunity and I'm happy to say that my life is as it should be, and that I am living my passion with passion. 

Mini mid-life crisis over!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Live as you mean to go on.....

I know, I know, it's been ages! I kind of lost my way, or I've kind of been pulled away! Life just gets busier and busier and it's been an adjustment having the girls back in school and, more specifically, having my eldest in a new school. With her change, came a brand new routine and that can be wearing; especially when you are in the final throws of your thirties!

I am well on my way and there's no turning back. In four months, my thirties will be a thing of the past. I'm sure all you under forties are saying 'oh no, that's awful', but I'm also pretty sure that those of you that are on the other side of forty are saying 'good riddance'! Why am I so sure? Simply because I'm beginning to believe it too! Bye bye trying to make everything perfect, because nothing is. Bye bye saying YES to everyone, because NO feels so much better. Bye bye worrying about what people think, because they are no better than me, or worse - for the most part anyway. And of course bye bye to drama - never liked you anyway. Big sigh - and it feels great!

With only four months to go to the inevitable forty, I decided to buy my dress for my birthday party, or at least look for one. I walked into a very expensive and exclusive shop, tried on two dresses and bought the second one I tried on! This is not like me. I am normally a bargain hunter, a high street shopper and I almost never buy anything full price, but today I did, and it felt great! Not only did I get the dress but I also got the shoes too....and may I say, they are simply fabulous! So, time to lose that stone I've put on and make sure I look nothing like my age on the day of my fortieth birthday! 

Live as you mean to go on. I finally am!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

False Start? Who cares? Onwards and upwards we go....

Wow, I'm wiped out! Be careful of what you anticipate and dread because it could be worse than you thought! Two weeks ago, I was not looking forward to the start of the rat race but boy I had no idea what laid ahead! 

Last week my eldest went back to school, and as a result of a horrible group of girls and the poor management of her school, we decided to take her out and put her in what we hoped would be a better school. In 24 hours, she was withdrawn from one school, registered in another - new uniform, new books and a new start. Scary stuff! Would it be worth it? Would she adjust? How would we make her see it's for the best when deep down we were only 85% sure that it was for the best? Three school days on, and I can say it was worth it.  She is adjusting and it is definitely for the best. Looking back, it was meant to be. The new school only had one available place, with all her subject choices and, coincidentally, she is in the very same school her grandmother went to. Definitely worth the hassle, the money and the tears we all shed! 

Today, as I have the time to sit down and write this, I feel like a warrior Mum and that I am the mother I've always wanted to be.  The lesson I've learned and have taught my daughter is that there are horrible people and horrible situations that will walk in to your life, but you can always choose to walk away and put yourself in a better situation. It's about taking control of your life and choosing change despite human nature's urge to resist it.

It has been a dramatic week....imagine! Drama, and all this time I've been saying no to it! But do not get me wrong, that short burst of drama was the price paid to say NO to future drama. I have explained to my lovely 14 year old daughter that there will be horrible people in school, in work and every other area of her life. The point is, that negative people are rampant and, unfortunately for her, this is a lesson that she has to learn.

So my advice to her now that she can start again? First and foremost, be yourself when making new friends! When someone talks to you behind another person's back, you can be sure they will be talking behind your back too. When someone is befriending someone who you know they have viciously bitched about in the past...walk away as fast as you can and be sure that history will repeat itself. 

As for the people you leave behind? They may have had no interest when you're around but I guarantee they are itching to know everything about you now. They'll want to know how you're getting on, they will stalk you on-line (Oh, by the way, hi to all my online stalkers...I know you're out there!) and they will use any common social link they have to find out every detail of your new life and continue to be malicious when speaking of you. Sad sad little people....

This I know for sure, believe me! God bless those 39 years I have under my belt! Onwards and upwards my dear daughter and never ever look back at the rubbish you left behind!

Monday, August 22, 2011

On my marks, get set, GO!

And so the end is near.... No I'm not going to burst into Frank Sinatra's song, I'm just simply stating a fact. Less than a week to go and the kids are back to school! Was the summer good? You bet! Am I looking forward to next week.... hmm, not so sure!

We have my eldest who is in the final year of a three year secondary school program so she will be sitting very important exams in June and that's a great recipe for motherly stress! We also have my youngest's First Holy Communion and we live in Ireland so yeah, an Irish Communion!  This is no Canadian 'simplicity is the way forward' Communion where you wear the alter boy robes, make your communion, and go home. Nope!  Here we turn 7 and 8 year old girls into mini brides! By Christmas, all the mothers standing outside the school will be going on and on about their daughter's dress, whether their angel will be wearing a veil or not and how they have everything bought and can't wait for the day. 'Blah, blah, blah!'. Once January hits, everyone will be talking about the what the weather is predicted to be in May. Yes, I said MAY! And believe me, everyone is an expert! For those who haven't bought the dress by then, it will be then end of the world! Everyone will be going on about how there are NO dresses left in the country. Drama! And what do I say to drama? All together now: 'NO!'

So, am I looking forward to going back? You tell me... I mean, by next week, once we're back to school, people will be talking about their Christmas shopping (seriously, I know someone who already has two Christmas presents bought), and of course we are more than halfway to that 40th birthday mark. Yikes! Ok, I need to lie down....

There's a lot ahead and it seems like next week is the start line of a real life rat race. I better get my runners out. If you see me on my travels, cheer me on!  

Ok, on my marks, get set, GO!