Hooray!! I’ve just turned 50!
I’m most definitely not one of those people who like to let the big numbers pass by (or any numbers for that matter!) with a silent prayer. I’m a ‘celebrate like there’s no tomorrow’ kinda gal.
I know too many people who never made it this far to be complaining, or worrying too much about my over-sun-scorched chest skin looking old (that’s not to say I’m not buying into the anti-ageing marketing bullshit anyway, and investing in exorbitant skin creams!).
In fact I’m so glad to be 50, I’m throwing a party, full of people from all aspects of my life – people who have known all the ages and phases of me. It got me thinking though.
Imagine if you could walk into a party where the only guests where the Ghosts of Your Past, and seeing all the you’s that had lived and loved, laughed and cried, make good decisions, did stupid things?
I’d know the ones I’d hug the most and be kindest to; the one I’d try and convince that purple eyeshadow was definitely not making me look cool and mysterious. I’d see the one about to embark on a marriage and I’d whisper in her ear – trust your voice. I’d know the one I’d high five for being so bold at that party in 2001. I’d know the one I’d forgive for being a know-it-all-brat, but who eventually realised she had a lot to learn. I’d know every single Alana, from the children, to the teenagers, and all the ones in their 20’s. 30’s and 40’s.
I’d chat and laugh with some, hug and cry with others. Some would say to me, “I always knew you’d never do that” and others would scream “I cannot believe you did that!” I would also know which ones I had let down, and which ones controlled me still.
I also know that more than anything, I’d like to thank the Alana’s who made the difference to my 50 year old self. The one’s who made really good decisions, sometimes randomly, that ended up changing my life for the better.
The Alana who decided at 17 to go travelling. The Alana who faced the showdown with her parents to give up law at uni and study international politics instead. The Alana who broke up with a boy who broke her heart, even though she loved him. The Alana’s who made brave choices, wise choices, really important choices about friends, family, career, love, children. The Alana’s who picked herself up from the rubble, the Alana who stood on a mountain side one day and decided to change the direction of her energy from the past to the future, the Alana who decided she could do things she’d told herself she couldn’t, the Alana who wrote night after night never knowing if her words would be read, the Alana who decided to go back to college at 48, and many, many more. I’d thank every one of those Alana’s who gave me the life I have today.
But then suddenly all the Ghosts of Alana Past start waving to something behind me. I turn around. Coming through the door are my future selves, the Ghosts of Alana’s Future. But they are still ghostly, not yet fully formed.
And then I realise why.
I still have a choice over who they all are. I don’t know who will walk through that door yet – all I can imagine is who I want to walk through that door.
I wanted to see future Alana’s who are fit and healthy, until I see a wizened old 98 year old hobbling in on a stick, maybe not doing pilates anymore, but coming over to thank the 50 and 50+ me’s for keeping it up for so many years because it made all the difference to the 80 year old self who still wants to dance in the kitchen. I want to see lots of Future Me’s who loved herself enough to make good decisions around food and exercise, love and life.
I want to see future me’s who have pushed herself, have celebrated herself, have given and felt love, have parented in calm not chaos; I want to see Alana’s who aren’t afraid, who are dreaming, delivering, dancing. I want to see a woman turned on and tuned in to herself.
I know that every one of those future Alana’s start today, with decisions I make about my life, today. I want every one of those future selves to walk in that room and thank me. (OK a couple will definitely give off to me, but hey, Gin and chocolate are good).
Hopefully I’m only half-way through a life that has already given me so so much to be thankful for. I never want to stumble into any old party; I want my party to be filled with love, and laugher and friends and family, hoping I made the right decisions when it counted.