This year is the year I turn 40. Good friends have bravely walked this path already in the last few months and in a couple of months it will be my turn.
On one level I’m totally fine with this surprising turn of events. 40 is the new 30 after all. I’ll put aside the nagging thought that I could remember my Dad’s 40th as a major event in our house. (Er Mum how did we celebrate yours?). I’m embracing this new weird sense of feeling at home with who I am and what I want from life in the next decade. The path ahead is unknown but with a few fairly known quantities. As far as I know I’ll be living in the same place with the same man, watching the same people grow and change. It’s a weirdly different place to be since my last milestone birthday when I literally had no idea what the next 10 years would hold on almost every level of life. Obviously everything could change tomorrow but with the info I have it looks like my 40s will look like a rooted kind of place.
The last couple of days I’ve been gardening, hacking down bushes, clearing out borders and planting a few seeds. Tending to the place I live, putting hands into the dirt we live upon has reminded me once more of my word of the year. Which as it happens was rooted. This was the year we were going to do slow and steady and live deep into our small bowl of green round the back of Brighton. The winter was too long though and my bones longed for outdoors and adventure and escape from the normal. Life was a whirlwind and then a crash and now a realisation that we need to be slow. Slow and steady. We do not have the energy or money for camping trips, many weekends away from home or escapades in a camper van (apart from two weeks in the summer, oh boy I need to get a grip on what I expect out of life…)
Although I long to fill my vision with sunsets from around the country and the world my gaze is being pulled back to the narrowing light outside my bedroom window.
My gaze is being pulled down to green bugs on leaves in son1’s hands, to afternoons lazing in the play tent in our back garden, to putting roots literally in the soil itself to see what might spring up.
My gaze is being pulled down to running around our streets in awe of how green this world looks, to pottering around the woods up the road after dinner with the boys, to forts on top of hills and miles and miles of rolling down land in front of me.
My gaze is being pulled to evening meals outside on our picnic bench, playing catch with the eldest, watering plants with the youngest. Tending this plot of space we inhabit together.
My gaze is being pulled to quiet weekends where we live within our means financially, emotionally and physically. Where my need of outdoors is met by the beauty in front of my eyes.
We are here. In our year of slow. I’m so slow it’s taken me until now to accept the slow. There is time enough for adventure. Right now is the time for healing space, for finding our limits and living within our means. To embrace the wonder in front of our eyes.
Once more we’ll be embarking on The Wildlife Trust’s 30 days of Wild in June. I think it will be pretty small scale, a seeking of the wild in the ordinary everyday walk of life. I shall try not to be envious of others pretty wild experiences and embrace the wild in my back garden. (Which is probably the point of the whole thing anyway)
This need to embrace the slow also affects my thoughts on turning 40. I would love us to have the means for 40 amazing experiences in my 40th year. We just don’t. I think I’m more than ok with that.
I love a good list as much as the next good list making person but this year I think I’m going to lay the list down. We shall have an afternoon tea party of music and poetry and I shall have a day off with my favourite and best on the day itself. Obviously if anyone wants to do anything fun with me aside from that I’m not going to turn them down but I think I’m going to put the list down. There is time enough for lists, life is full of adventure enough without them. I’d rather save any money we did spend on experiences to getting a camper van one day. There is time. And there is a beautiful life now to be lived in these days we bumble through.
Your correspondent. Imagining that although this might be the first post to mention and process turning 40, it surely won’t be the last…