A birthday update
Last week I turned a young 52. I say young, because I don’t feel old, and people (generally) don’t consider me old. Sure, I have senior moments when I walk into a room and can’t remember why I went in there in the first place. My hair is more gray than brown now; my skin is a little bit confused because it is still prone to breakouts in amongst the crow’s feet. My body, though, is strong from running and weights, and I’m only carrying a smallish spare tyre around my waist, caused (no doubt) by my penchant for chocolate. While I hardly drink alcohol these days (because of my running), I can’t quite seem to kick my chocolate habit.
I celebrated my birthday without the fanfare of the last couple of years. When I turned 50 in 2013, I celebrated with an eight week trip to Europe, of course. I mean, why wouldn’t I? And I spent the actual day of my 50th in a resort on the Turkish Riviera (Antalya). I was with a tour that had a large contingent of Australians and New Zealanders. We’d spent a week together already, so when my birthday came around, I felt like I was celebrating with close friends. At dinner on the night of my birthday, I even had a cake with candles that was organised for me by Izzet, our tour guide. I blew out the candles and accepted all the happy birthday wishes (and even a kiss from a very attractive New Zealander called Barry) that came my way. I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent this particular milestone birthday.
When I turned 50 in 2013, I celebrated with an eight week trip to Europe, of course. I mean, why wouldn’t I? And I spent the actual day of my 50th in a resort on the Turkish Riviera. I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent this particular milestone birthday.
Last year for my 51st, I organised drinks with friends. Most of these friends were work colleagues who had become friends over the couple of years I had been at that particular workplace, and were happy to come out for a drink or three. We ended up in my happy place—La Sing Karaoke Bar—and I got a tad sozzled. This didn’t bode well for the running event I had committed to run on my actual birthday! It was a 12 km flat course that I struggled with (and I haven’t run again). Oddly enough, I ran my first half marathon a month earlier and that was less difficult than the run on my birthday! I put it down to alcohol and since then, I have really cut back and hardly drink at all these days. I tell people that I’m a finely tuned machine.
On my 50th birthday, I did reflect on my achievements and wrote a post about the things I have done and the things I haven’t. Given that a couple of years has passed (and in the interests of ticking things off my list), I thought it would be worthwhile to go back and see if I can add any more things to the Have Done list.
My original post is here (in case you’d like some context), but to recap, my Have Done list included these things:
- Been a mother
- Educated myself
- Bought a house
- Embraced creativity
- Found contentment.
My Have Not Done Yet list included these things:
- Been published
- Become bilingual
- Mastered my weight
- Climbed the corporate ladder
- Run a half marathon
- Met Tom Hardy.
So at 52, where am I at?
Still Have Not Done
Well, I haven’t married. In fact, I’ve probably given up entirely on the idea of EVER finding a partner. I just don’t think that that’s my destiny. And I’m ok with that. Two years ago I wasn’t, because I was still optimistic, but a few horrid dating experiences (or near-dating horrid experiences) has left me with a nasty taste in my mouth. Where are all the good men? More specifically, where are all the good men who think I’m EXACTLY their cup of tea? Crickets. Tumbleweeds. More crickets. As I keep saying: there are worse things than being single (being in an unhappy relationship, for one) so I’m embracing my single life and the freedoms it affords me with gusto and verve. And if a good man who thinks I’m EXACTLY his cup of tea comes along, well, that’s fine too.
My efforts to become bilingual have been rather slow and less than steady. I have found that I periodically hop onto Duolingo and brush up on my basics, but that’s about as far as it goes, despite joining a Spanish Meetup group and registering myself on a stack of Learn Spanish websites and downloading all sorts of books and MP3s to speed things along. I think I need a long-term, immersive experience in Spain in order to become fully proficient!
Climbed the corporate ladder
Urgh. The corporate ladder and I are not friends and probably never will be. If I ever reach the pinnacle of success in the corporate world, it will be purely by luck or accident. That’s not to say that I am unambitious: I do want to succeed, but I’d much rather be successful on my own creative projects.
Met Tom Hardy
The closest I have gotten to meeting Tom Hardy is touching Benedict Cumberbatch at OzComicCon last year. Benedict was in a movie with Tom (Stuart: A Life Backwards) and they touched many times in the movie (I know, because I’ve seen it), so I assume that some of Tom’s DNA has been transferred to me via Benedict. So I will have to be content with that for the time being.
Have Now Done
I’m pleased to report that I have been published (self published!), and I recently published book number 10! I have a long way to go in terms of being a successful author. The reviews of my books have been exceedingly positive, but I have yet to see that translate into sales, which is disappointing. I’m still not in a position to quit my day job just yet.
Mastered my weight
My weight has been stable for the last 18 months, and I feel slim and fit and awesome. I’m (mostly) following Nate Miyaki’s nutrition program which is sensible and based in research and works for me. He says (quite rightly) that calories count, but what goes into those calories matters just as much. I currently eat about 1400 calories a day, and of that 1400 calories, around 120g of that is protein. I rarely eat bread or pasta, and my carbs come mainly from small portions of potatoes, sweet potatoes and white rice. Yes, white rice (and Nate explains why). I eat a lot of veggies, and my protein comes from chicken, tuna and salmon, bacon, legumes like chick peas and lentils, cheese, yoghurt and protein powder, quinoa and chia seeds. I have my main meal at night and I intermittent fast three or four days a week (no breakfast). I’ll often run on an empty stomach. Read Nate’s stuff. He’s awesome because he makes sense AND his advice is do-able.
Run a half marathon
I haven’t run one half marathon… I’ve run three! Plus a few unofficial ones. This year, I knocked three minutes of last year’s time (which is like seconds in a 100 metre race) and that made me immensely proud. I’m so proud of my achievements, that I’m seriously considering running an ultra marathon—Yurrebilla—in 2016.
The thing about all this is that there is no need to wind down when you hit your fifties. It is true when they say that 50 is the new 30. I feel young and vibrant and full of life, ready to give anything a red hot go. I’d like to do another birthday update in two years—I’ll be 54—and see what Not Yet Dones can be added to my Have Now Done list.
Who knows? Tom Hardy might have crossed over into Done territory!
Feel free to buy me a cup of tea (or two!) for writing this essay ♥