People can change

A woman was strumming a guitar and crooning “I can’t help falling in love with you” as I walked through my local mall yesterday.

Some schoolboys wandered past and started singing along.

My local mall isn’t beautiful, but it was at that moment. And I started singing too.

I was heading to Lowe’s to return a school shirt. The woman behind the counter wanted to know why. I told her my daughter said the collar wasn’t stiff enough. The youngest is a funny little creature.

I felt so content as I wandered back to the office. It got me wondering whether I’m “cooked”.

A week after husband left, I wrote a ra-ra-you-can-do-this blog post called “It’s time to regenerate.”

It noted that the world was my oyster and there was no reason why I shouldn’t slurp it down.

The regeneration reference comes from Doctor Who – every few years, the character evolves, retaining their core values, but becoming a new person. I decided it was time for me to reinvent myself and rediscover my mojo.

A month later, I wrote another blog post wondering “So, who am I going to be for the second half of my life … Like Doctor Who once said: ” I don’t know yet. Still cooking.”

Another two years later, I pondered whether I was “done” yet. I decided the new “me” was turning out to be a pretty good dish.

“I’m older and a little saggy around the edges, but my confidence is slowly creeping back,” I wrote. “I surprise myself each day with the person I’ve become. I love that I’m more open to new experiences. I’m constantly surprised by the things I enjoy doing – stuff I didn’t like AT ALL before thrills me.”

I finished off by saying “I don’t think we’re ever ‘done’ … but then, I’ve always been a medium rare kinda gal”.

Two years have passed since then and, while I still think we’re never ‘done’, the new me has made themselves at home in the old body.

I had a revelation about how much I’ve changed when I looked at my email inbox yesterday and felt zero interest in the tantalising dining offers it contained.

I used to anxiously awaited the publication of the Good Food Guide each year, eager for new foodie experiences.

These days, while I quite enjoy a nice dinner, I don’t hanker for them. I’m just as happy with DD cooking me a roast or going out for a burger together.

Pre-kids, my ex and I spent our spare time going to restaurants, antique shopping and visiting wine regions. Makes us sound a bit wanky in retrospect. But it was fun at the time – I loved trying new foods and collecting art deco bits and bobs and sipping at cellar doors.

My idea of a perfect holiday – other than winery hopping – was a big city with lots of shopping and foodie experiences. Natural beauty left me cold.

Fast forward to Tuesday night and I almost cried as I crested the Gladeville Bridge and saw the Sydney CBD bathed in the pink glow of sunset, crowned with a full moon. The beauty filled my heart.

Mind you, that’s the only thing I find beautiful about the CBD these days, visiting its grimy, ciggie smoke-filled streets for Priscilla last weekend really put me off. I’d much rather head north to the beaches.

When I had a big-paying job, I was totally obsessed with shopping. So many clothes, so many shoes. The kids hardly got the chance to wear all their stuff before they grew out of it. Such a waste. Nowadays I rarely shop for anything other than groceries.

So, who is this new me?

She likes walking with friends, listening to music, sipping wine with a nice view, watching the sun rise with a coffee and DD, swimming in the ocean, spending time with her kids, dreaming about getaways to naturally beautiful places …

The things that really matter are love, friends and family.

Previously, I was obsessed with what I needed to do or be. At 50, I’m content with what I’ve achieved. I don’t need to prove anything. Every now and then my internal nasty voice tells me I’m a failure, but the conscious me knows that I’m doing fine.

The mojo has returned. Sure, I could get myself into a state about being overweight and wrinkled, but I choose to see a sparkly, green-eyed maven in the mirror.

I still worry too much, but hopefully that will ease with time and healing.

It still drives me nuts when people are late … I’m not sure that will ever leave me.

Perhaps some of the most dramatic changes have been physical ones. I battled so many of health issues in the last years of my marriage: endless infections, gut issues, psorasis, heart palpitations. I look back and wonder if they were physical manifestations of my unhappiness and discontent.

They’ve all disappeared … knock on wood … and now I just deal with garden variety middle-aged issues as my body creaks past 50.

My life continues to throw me curve balls, but I’m getting better at catching them.

This is me. And it’s good.

Song of the day: Elvis Presley “I can’t help falling in love with you”

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