Life begins at 40. That’s an interesting idea because at 40 my life seemed to just be ending, or does that mean it was just starting? Who knows, both at the same time I guess.
Through a series of bad choices, tough decisions, a little luck, a bit of magic and some uncomfortable truths, not necessarily in that order, 40 seemed to be the start of the end of a very comfortable, secure life and the beginning of a not so comfortable, very unsettled, very different type of life. One as a single parent (not the easiest thing), with an ex-husband (almost), a teenage boy (I am told he will grow out of that), a tween-age girl (I am told she will also grow out of that), a very lovely but very alcoholic boyfriend (hope to god he grows out of that – the alcoholic bit not the loveliness), a rabbit with a penchant for eating the walls (hope to god he also grows out of that) and a new life in the UK.
After 20 years as an expat the move back ‘home’, all the changes to the life I had have challenged everything (almost) I thought I knew about myself, about my identity, my parenting, my boundaries, my values, my politics, my ability to cope with stress and my determination to be ok in the end.
We have been back in the UK for 6 months now and it’s been really challenging on so many fronts. When you find yourself in a place far away from the amazing friends you have collected over the years, the people that you have shared incredible chapters of your life with, people who you have celebrated with and who have picked you up and dusted you off when things have gone wrong, it is really lonely. Yes there is Skype, Facetime, Facebook but it’s not the same as a g&t and a pour your heart out session. There’s also a part about the struggles of the last few months that are difficult to share with anyone, however good a friend, so I have found myself looking to Google to find other people who are suffering the same. I have spent a lot of time reading blogs on repatriation, parenting teenagers, loving an alcoholic and what on earth to do when you have a rabbit that is eating your house! I have found solace in those places and the awareness that I am not the only one struggling with these challenges (particularly the rabbit problem!).
Reading other people’s stories is one thing but I am a talker, as my beautiful friends would testify, I can talk for England…I am also a sharer, I share my thoughts and feelings, it is my therapy. So now I find myself without the people around me to share with and the keeping it all in driving me slightly insane. I wonder if the Internet can provide the ‘you are not alone feeling’, can it also be my therapy, my place to share?
So, does life begin at 40? It took 3 years for the ending that begun at 40 to manifest itself as an ending and then another 3 years for the beginning that is now to begin. So at 46 (almost) my new beginning has begun. I guess endings always mark the start of beginnings; some of them just take a while to get established. Let’s see how this new beginning pans out and let’s see how this sharing by the Internet goes…