This huge new territory

I’m feeling soooooooo sentimental this week, which makes a nice change from feeling sooooooo cranky last week.

I presume it’s part of the mercurial ageing process that author Martin Amis talked about.

Remember me quoting him a few weeks ago, musing on his 50s: “Suddenly you’ve got this huge new territory inside you, which is the past, which wasn’t there before. A new source of strength.”

I’ve been bombarding the kids with memories from my past and theirs. They tell me they could do without all the baby poo stories, especially over dinner.

But I’m a boundary-less conversationalist, so I plunge on.

On a less scatalogical note, I’ve been recalling the lovely school holidays I spent at my grandmother’s fibro house at Hawks Nest, getting up at 6am to swim in the king tides, playing dress-ups with my grandmother’s old clothes in her garage, catching crabs on the river bank, making my sister drink two litres of water on Christmas eve so her bladder would wake us up nice and early to open our presents on Christmas morning …

I’ve been reliving the past in real life too, catching up with old friends. I saw a few of the Cosmopolitan magazine gang for dinner last night. We meet about once or twice a year, it’s tricky to find a date we’re all free. At one stage it looked like we couldn’t agree on a date between now and Christmas, but we finally found a Monday night that suited.

We always head to the same cheap and cheerful Thai place on Oxford Street. But I barged into the joint my usual 10 minutes late – bloody Harbour Tunnel – only to find a construction zone. It was closed for renovations, noooooo! So we ate at the Greek place a few doors down, they did a lovely grilled octopus.

Two hours of frenetic gabbing ensued, ranging from the good old days to the not so good old days to the latest dramas and joys. I feel so relaxed and accepted in that little circle. Such kind people. The bulkest fun.

Ken and I went on some amazing adventures together before motherhood got in the way.

We’d regularly head to Los Angeles to do photo shoots with celebrities. He was the stylist, I was the journalist. We spent many surreal days with everyone from Christina Applegate to Salma Hayek, Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Portia Di Rossi. That’s us with Vanessa Marcel in the main pic, I think she was on Beverley Hills 90210.

(That’s Liv Tyler’s sister Mia in the first pic, the second one is self-explanatory.)

I’ve told the stories before, but some highlights from our hijinks together included having dinner with Kylie Minogue at an LA hotspot called Little Door and sharing gaucamole and chips with Portia Di Rossi at Santa Moncia as John Cleese strolled past our table.

Ken and I even went on a celebrity-free holiday to Hawaii together once. He’s more your designer type, but my budget didn’t stretch that far, so he agreed to stay in a dodgy hotel with me and we had the most fabulous time eating and drinking and shopping. He even upgraded me to business class with him so we could sip champers together on the flight back.

Ken was my unofficial wedding planner too and talked Colette Dinnigan into making my dress … well, talked her seamstress into making it …

These days, Ken is still styling for classy publications and spends half his life jetsetting around the globe to fashion shoots. He’s off to Los Angeles next week to supervise a shoot on Sunset Boulevard. But he’s still the lovely, kind, thoughtful man he’s always been and looks forward to casual dinners with his former media mates.

In a way, the old life feels like it was someone else’s, not mine. But I WAS there, it did happen and it was often wonderful.

We mused on the wonderful stuff last night, like Cass holding my hand while I panicked about being in waist deep water while snorkelling at Hayman Island when Cosmo’s circulation soared past 400,000 and Hearst took us away for the weekend to celebrate?

It’s just one of the many reminders that I’ve had more good luck than bad in my life. At least that’s how it feels, which is the measure that matters.

When you’re negotiating your tricky 20s you have no idea how fraught the middle aged years will be. You imagine the worst part will be getting all those wrinkles. But the big stuff is more than skin deep.

Middle age is quite the gig. It’s way more intense than I ever expected it to be.

Not that I would go back to my 20s. I love 75% of my 50-year-old life too much to even consider spiriting away. The other 25% is pretty freaking challenging, but it’s also three quarters freaking awesome.

That’s mostly to do with the love that surrounds me – friends, family, DD. I feel lucky to have all the love. And most of the time I believe I deserve it, despite the little voice in my head that whispers “But WHY do they love you?”

That little voice is such a bitch.

Song of the day: Queen “You’re my best friend”

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