The luck in getting older

The luck in getting older
Tomorrow I turn 43. Ordinarily I’m not one to broadcast my birthday like this but on the eve of tearing the wrapping off the chic new polka dot blouse that will epitomise my 44th year, I felt some words on getting older were in order.

Forty two has been quite the year. It’s fair to say I’ve loved almost every minute of it.

It was the year I committed to being a writer and truly honouring it in my life for the first time. It was the year I finally started this blog that I’ve annoyed myself talking about for the past six years. It was the year I began to see beyond the toddler fog (forget the babies, the T-Fog – it’s an actual thing) to new possibilities.

Without question, I have loved being 42. Not only because of the wonderful things that have happened; I have loved being 42 because I love getting older.

Fact.

I love that I’m still here, which in itself is remarkable.

I love that I am reasonably fit and healthy, that I can run and play with my kids, that I can get excited about beach camping this summer and teaching my kids how to surf, that I can use my brain and be creative and make stuff, and most of all that I am loved so fiercely and accepted so completely by a bunch of really awesome people, including some I even made myself.

There is so much bullshit out there about getting older, so much time and energy wasted on the futility of pushing back against it, the abject horror and pearl clutching at the merest suggestion of a wrinkle or a line. Especially for women.

I refuse to buy into that shit.

I love my face now more than ever. It tells a story of its own. The scar above my right eye where I somersaulted my motorbike in Thailand the day before my 34th birthday – the day my sunglasses and my forehead became one and I was gifted an impromptu birthday present of nine stitches in my face.

My crooked nose from when I tripped over my own pyjama pants (flares were a bad choice) and slammed face first into the floorboards trying to do a Fireman Sam and ‘save the family’ in the pitch dark after our smoke alarm malfunctioned at three am and went completely off its tits.

The gap in my front teeth that always reminds me of my late Grandma, who insisted it foretold I would marry a rich man/have eternal good luck/be a fast runner (confusing, Grandma, just pick one).

My inexplicable Slavic look, which cannot be accounted for in my family’s Welsh genealogy and yet has completely fooled countless Polish nationals both in Europe and Australia (someone, somewhere, knows the truth).

My body, it must be said, has been an absolute champion. Not only has it brought me thus far relatively intact (minus a few minor organs), it has survived falling into the deep end of a holiday swimming pool at the age of three, a second storey plunge off the top of a ladder at the age of eight, being thrown countless times from various horses, including being dragged by one and trampled by another, resulting in temporary paralysis down one side.

My body has survived recreational drugs and too much alcohol and almost a week without sleep. It has survived excessive dancing, body piercings and flaming Sambuca shots, and overcome a chronic autoimmune disease.

My body has brought three beautiful babies into the world in an impressive variety of ways, from the sirens-blaring emergency caesarian, to the zen-like hypno water birth and the lovely intimate hanging-off-the-end-of-a-bed-and-whinnying-like-a-horse-in-a-room-full-of-people birth  (those childhood years devoted to playing ‘Horses’ really paid off that day in spades).

She’s not the body I had in my twenties, a body I barely gave a thought to as long it kept up with the cracking pace I set, that could consume an entire Chinta Ria curry laksa in one sitting without a second thought.

There’s some extra padding and a few more scars now but she still does the job like a trooper, she still gets up through the night to crying children, she can still run  five kms at a shove and scale cemetery walls in a dress and heels (the only thing I don’t do these days is the trampoline – see number of children above). She’s going all right.

So in light of the aching loss and pain reverberating around the world right now, and in honour of all those who no longer have the choice, I choose to celebrate the luck and privilege of getting older, of chalking up another magnificent year. I choose not to take this life of mine for granted. I choose to love and embrace every line, every scar, every crooked bit. For the alternative is unthinkable.

So here’s to another big, beautiful year older. How lucky am I.

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Emma x

 

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply Jennifer Fletcher November 17, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Wonderful Em. Absolutely wonderful!
    Life.
    NOT to be taken for granted.
    Happy Birthday you beautiful (Slavic) Viking Princess!
    Fletch and Fletch xxx

    • Reply Emma November 19, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks Mama Fletch, here’s to squeezing every last gorgeous drop!

  • Reply Niamh November 18, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Emma, I am soooooo with you on this!!! Woot woot! I love getting older too. I just turned 40 recently and am pulling together a post for my blog to say something similar about the joys of aging. I am so tired of the bullsh*t forced onto women about getting older. I relish all that I have learned so far and how life and relationships just get richer every year – because of the scars I carry, not in spite of them x

    • Reply Emma November 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you Niamh – and Happy Birthday to you too! How wonderful it is to hear women celebrate their age in the face of so much pressure to ‘stay young’. Everything does get richer with each year, that’s so true. The better it gets, the better it gets x

  • Reply Julie November 18, 2015 at 5:09 am

    What a beautiful post, as always! I love all the stories of strength you fit into it. Enjoy your birthday.

    • Reply Emma November 19, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      And thank you as always, lovely Julie! x

  • Reply NOLA Gluth November 18, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Happy 43rd birthday Emma, I can still see you just born cradled in your mothers arms.
    Love your blog, always brings tears of laughter and joy. Keep writing and living in the present, because it is a present, we need your expression of life.
    Love,
    NOLA xxxxx

    • Reply Emma November 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Thank you so much Nola, such a beautiful comment. I will definitely keep going, I promise x

  • Reply Ian Fletcher November 18, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Talent, talent,talent, bucket load of talent. It is wonderful to see my very special daughter write so beautifully, so eloquently, upwards and onwards my girl. Happy birthday Emma darling, I love you very much dad xxxxx

    • Reply Emma November 19, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks Dad, I’m blushing pink here! Onwards and upwards indeed, it’s the Fletcher way. Thanks for reading, love you too xx

  • Reply Sandra November 20, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Em, how wonderful is it to be in our 40s? I thought I was the only person on the planet to not care about ageing. I am surrounded by youth desirers everywhere and I just don’t get it. May your gratitude for your years past bring much abundance (though not of the scar variety) for the years ahead. And I want car candles on my next ice cream birthday cake. They are fabulous! I want them. A LOT. Mwah x

    • Reply Emma November 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Absolutely San! I love being in my forties, I really feel like I am hitting my straps in the best possible way at the best possible time. Here’s to many more years to come for both of us. Xx

  • Reply Sam - Journo and the Joker November 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    What a fabulous post. And what an awesome message. You are so right. Our bodies tell the story of our lives and we are privileged that we have them, in whatever shape they’re in. I love how some cultures revere their older generations and respect them and don’t seem to see the wrinkles and lines and padding as anything to worry about. We have become far too obsessed with how we look rather than getting out and just enjoying life.

    • Reply Emma November 21, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you Sam! Yes I wish our culture had the same respect and reverence for age and wisdom, instead of this obsession with appearance. It’s so irrelevant. Life just gets better with age.

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