The shot was clean and true and hit me on 17th July, but it didn't hurt half as much as I expected it to.
Perhaps that was because I was too busy grabbing last chances and packing up the family home for a move overseas.
Perhaps it was because I had been mulling over my mid-life crisis for at least nine months beforehand.
Perhaps it was because I was drunk at the time.
Whatever the reason, it turned out that 40 was a pretty big year for me.
Right now, the person stood here looking backwards in a rare moment of snatched peace is a very different one to that frazzled, nervous creature who was packing up boxes and calming little peoples nerves whilst her own unravelled wildly in silence.
Long prior to that time my daily life had become a dumping ground. Huge piles of rubbish, broken dreams, guilt, children, washing and work had built up and buried me underneath them. A huge sign emblazoned with the words 'Just get on with it' was stuck out of the top of the dump and whenever I managed to peak out from underneath those words were all I could see above me.
Perhaps the literal packing of boxes helped clear some of the deluge that had poured down on top of me.
Or perhaps it was just time.
But in one year a seismic shift has taken place.
In place of that shadow there is now lightness and laughter, wisdom and acceptance, strength and understanding.
Part of the shift has undoubtedly been down to finally stretching that unspoken and invisible umbilical chord far enough away from playgrounds, school runs and bedtimes to remember what fun actually felt like.
At first this gentle stretching had to be emboldened by alcohol, but little by little every new extending of the chord, every night out, every child free hangover, every moment re-bonding with friends and family finally brought me to a place where I can walk out that front door with a click of my heels and not feel that heart wrenching pull of the chord backwards until it's time to see them again.
This year has seen me sit outside pubs on balmy evenings hearing strangers life stories. I've headed off on midnight adventures with new found friends. I've danced wildly and badly in pubs and clubs. I've had shouted conversations across tables filled with good food, old friends and buckets of red wine. I've twirled around Barcelona dowsed in glitter and happiness, and I've bonded with 50,000 people in a field as we belted back lyrics of songs long lived to bands long loved.
And each time I've come home afterwards, picked up my 'Mum' hat, and gladly slotted back into my most important role.
The same but different.
You see it's not that I love my children any less than before, it's just that I love life more now.
Bullet no. 41?
|Bonding time with my sister and 50,000 strangers|