Today is my 40th birthday.
It feels strange to be writing those words. I remember quite clearly my dad’s 40th birthday and how old he seemed!
I included a photo of me from primary school with todays reflection. The reason I did that is that for the first half of my life I have been on a journey to accept myself.
I remember very clearly the moment when I realised how much I didn’t like myself. I was in Hobart about three months after finishing Fusion’s Certificate IV course and I came across an old photo of myself, just a little bit older than this one.
As I looked at the photo I remember feeling intense embarrassment and kind of a sick feeling in my stomach. I was embarrassed about the snowy haired energetic child that stared back at me.
I had been reading Henri Nouwen’s “reaching out”, and discovering just how much I didn’t like my own company.
I remember looking at the photo after realising all the feelings that were going on, and telling my younger self, “I love you”. I broke down in tears. I feel a bit embarrassed as I report this, but it was an important moment and I want this blog to be an honest wrestle.
Something broke at that moment, and I think I’ve been on a journey to accept myself ever since.
As I now stand at my 40th birthday looking back, I am grateful for the journey.
One of my friends was telling me about a new book by Richard Rohr that kind of says life is divided in two halves and there are two seperate journeys we all need to take in each half.
Over the years I have learned to love the rhythyms of the day, the week and the year.
Each day I get my cuppa and go out to my shed with my journal and bible. That time grounds me and has sustained me in moments when it feels like everything has been falling apart.
Each week I look forward to the weekend, to a moment to step out of the normal pattern and do something different. I like cooking fried eggs for breakfast and going on adventures with my family. I usually enjoy worship on Sunday mornings (although there are times when find it hard to engage.)
Each year I look forward to buying a new journal and starting it on new years day. I love taking the week between Christmas and New Year to reflect on the year that has been, and the first week of the year to set goals for the year coming up.
I have a sense that this end of year is more significant than most I have had.
I am actually at a point of transition at a lot of different levels.
My role with Fusion has finished, I am very close to finishing a book I have been writing for a long time and I am at the midway point of my life.
It doesn’t feel like a midlife crisis.. I don’t have an urge to find a new car or get an 18 year old girlfriend (I never can quite understand people who put so much work into a relationship and then want to start another one..).
It does feel though like an important junction. There are a lot of different directions my life can go at this point, and Leeanne and I really want to make sure we are heading on the right path.
We are officially on leave as of this week, on the understanding that we will only emerge from the leave when we know what the right next steps are.
It is both a scary and exciting place to be, full of possibilities.
It feels a bit like I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I now feel proud of who I am an the complex journey I have been on. It doesn’t feel like the next chapter is so much about identity as about getting on with the business of making a difference in the world… at least I hope thats true!
I guess we will see…
I’m looking forward to sharing the new book with you in the next couple of months..
thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts on this blog.. I think it is an important part of my journey at the moment as I work through the journey of faith.