Monday, 19 January 2015

Fabulous Forty : A Year in Review

I'm in the final weeks of my 40th year, so I've had 340 days + to consider this.  Forty.  40.  Two score.  Naughty 40.  The big 4 - 0hhhhh.  Blind 40.  

The thirties nostalgically placed on the shelf.  A time to reflect and look forward.
I had a 40th birthday party in February which was great craic.  Unfortunately, I didn't appoint a photographer with a decent camera on the evening, so all pics are a little hazy.  Maybe just as well, because I forgot to put a belt on the dress that I bought for the occasion.  The draught beer and stone baked pizzas supplied by Ray were a big hit.  'The best pizzas EVER apparently.  Although intended to be a 'grown up party', quite a few children come along.  I was stressing out that they were going to be bored, but the weather was super - A crisp, dry night.  The little people charged around outside in the moon light playing dares - Sorted !  I was really touched that so many of my nearest and dearest made it along, even though I had flip all time to talk to any of them.  I was reluctant to invite the guests to my house the following day as 1. I was so hyper, I hadn't slept the previous night and 2. The heating oil ran out and the house was freezing. Typical !!
I had a 'no presents' rule for the party, asking for poems instead.  I got plenty of lovely poems that are stashed away and I'm very grateful for them.  But some of the guests broke the rule.  I'm glad that they did, as I'm still living off the goodies - fab stuff that I wouldn't buy for myself.  Like expensive lipstick.  The adverts are true - it REALLY does last longer - Would ya believe it ? After years of living on cheap lippy, I ain't never going back.  
I'm one of those lucky gals who doesn't have grey hair (Thanks Dad and the Russell genes).  A few sneaky stray greys appeared earlier this year and I wasn't too impressed.  I took the plunge and did a rather fetching plum coloured home-dye for my brothers wedding in May.  After that, I decided to go blonde and stocked up on peroxide in the chemist.  Here's the science thing though -  You can't just put one hair dye on top of the other.  The blonde took to roots of my hair and nowhere else.  It was a flipping disaster.  I looked like a wet badger.  My little girl asked me to 'bend over so I can look at your hair' and she would run away hooting with laughter 'Oh Mammy … !'.  
There was nothing for it except to go to the hairdressers for a proper 'do.  One that takes at least four hours to do (or in this case, undo).  One that required me to sit on a chair and read glossy magazines on a Saturday, instead of spending time with my kids.  A 'do that I probably couldn't afford.  One that requires attention every eight weeks or so.  But you know what ?  
I'm worth it.  

I deserve two-tone hair.  

And to sit and read about B-List celebrities love lives/divorces/weight gain/loss for four hours, while someone beautifies me and brings me tea.  It has only taken me 40 years to come to that conclusion and to allow myself this indulgence.
In January last year, my journalist buddy Siobhan asked me if I would write an article for the Irish Examiner, about my diagnosis with MS a few years ago.  My article was published on 28th January 2014.  I didn't have much time to think about writing it, but didn't hesitate.  It was only when it was republished in The Kildare Nationalist, that I thought, 'flip, now lots of people know this THING about me'.  Wouldn't you think that I would have considered this before hand ?  In hindsight, I'm delighted that I did write it.  
As a result of this article, the MS Society asked me to join their blogging team 'MS and Me'.  It's a lovely feeling to be part of something 'bigger' than me and to think in some small way, I can make a difference.  The 'MS and Me' blog was nominated for 'Best Group Blog' in the Irish Blog Awards last autumn.  We didn't win, but the nomination was a real pat on the back for our work.  The award ceremony was great fun.  In a room full of bloggers and tweeters, I felt surprisingly comfortable.  
While I'm happy to share my experiences about MS through writing, I really don't want to be defined by it and I certainly don't want to think about it all the time.  My medical condition bores the pants off me. 
The fact that a real life journo had faith in me to write something was a big boost to me.  It's probably what led me to start writing my blog last April.  This blog is my 50th piece of writing so far.  Fifty ! Imagine !  I wouldn't have dreamed of writing like this a few years ago.  I get a real kick out of it though, gathering ideas in my head, taking notes on my phone or in notebooks as I go.

After a life time of being a 'walker', I did a 5km run in Athy during the summer, only because our visiting Spanish student wanted to participate,  as detailed in an earlier blog 'Run Lola Run'.  My morning stroll became a jog and then a run.  I always felt good after a walk, but felt exhilarated after a run, so good, that I often felt like going back out for another run.  Sadly, my new found running regime was short lived.  I had a nasty fall one Sunday morning lat August and made bits of one of my knees.  Xrays showed up no damage, but for months afterwards, putting my foot on the clutch in the car caused me great pain.  Raging I was.  I'm itching to get running again. 

My lovely twins turned seven last October.  What a great age.  Maybe the best age.  All of that spoon feeding/nappy changing malarky behind me.  They can both read and write, so there is N-O more spelling out W-O-R-D-S that you don't want them to hear.  This can be a pain in the A-S-S.  They can read Teletext, so they know when Father Ted, Grand Designs, Top Gear, Mrs Brown's Boys is on.  Most of their favorite programmes aren't exactly age appropriate, but at least we can enjoy them together.  I'm enjoying their independence, watching them grow, even if it is slowly growing away from me.  Not looking out the window of the school bus to wave goodbye to me (sob !).  Thankfully, there is still times for cuddles, even if it is when no one is looking.  I'm cherishing their innocence.  Their sense of discovery and wonder.  The 'twinnieisms' that I enjoy sharing with you, dear reader.

Through my work, I had the opportunity to produce a film 'All About Eva' last year.  It was a terrifying, but energizing experience, which has generated a lot of attention and that has and will open doors for people.  I'm looking forward to building on this with three new film projects lined up for this year.  All of these projects were developed to promote film making in the county, but personally, I'm getting a fierce buzz from it all.  It's feeding my ENFP personality type, that thrives on new ideas (in other words, I get bored easily). 

I remember when I started my current job.  I was 26 and my boss was 40.  I respected her, admired her, valued her friendship, but definitely considered her 'older'.  My role model.  I look at 26 year olds that I know and wonder what they make of me.  Most probably think 'older', if not wiser.  I think of the bright young thing I met at Electric Picnic last year, who drunkingly marvelled at me looking 'so glamorous' for my age.  Let's face it, 'glamorous' is a word that you use for old dolls, like Helen Mirren or Sophia Loren .  But thankfully, 40 year old me isn't as self conscious as I once was, so it doesn't matter so much.   I always admired Helen's poise and Sophia's cleavage anyway.  
I was very uncomfortable in my 20's puppy fat skin.  I was finding my feet throughout my 30's.  Now I feel that I've arrived.  41, let's be having ya !

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