Today I celebrate my 42nd birthday and through all the wonderful birthday wishes from family and friends worldwide, I take the moment to reflect on stuff. So here is what I've come up with.
Very recently I learned that no matter how emotionally balanced I think I am, inconsiderate people still have a way of getting under my skin and getting me riled. Thankfully, I process by myself and direct my communication diplomatically as opposed to blowing like a volcano which is what I used to do in a previous life. So I'm half way there in this learning process.
The truth absolutely hurts because it means one party will be disappointed. Here is how it goes. You don't want to hurt/disappoint the other party so you work around the truth so you are not actually telling a lie but it is also not confronting nor demoralising and doesn't necessarily damage the relationship. The other party isn't aware, they just take the excuse at face value, they aren't taking it personally and life just goes on. Diplomatic skills in this regard are essential but never easy. Many say "but you should just tell me truth", yet they are never really prepared for the brutality of it, because at the end of the day you are still saying something that the other person isn't going to like. Like it or not the world spins easier when diplomacy is practiced and relationships usually stay intact.
I have travelled regularly since my 30s but have upped the ante in the last 12 months and whilst I have always known I love travelling, I can confirm that I am officially addicted to it. I barely get off the plane at home and am already planning the next trip. Which is probably why I am boarding a plane on Monday night and going to Venice after just returning from Austria eight weeks ago and have the next four trips already figured out.
The greatest achievement in my life is my daughter. Every day is a challenge and a marvel. I notice each time she catapults developmentally and I love being here to experience it. She taught me how to love butterflies, princesses, wild animals and basically anything that is a wonder to her becomes a wonder to me.
My siblings are a gift. We drive each other crazy but the foundational love and bond is strong and impenetrable. My mother died when I was a baby and my father, well let's just say we have an estranged position. I can live with that but I can't live without my siblings. They keep me grounded when needed, they are excited for my adventures and when we are together it's just a blessing.
My closest friends are far and wide getting on with their lives but I know the moment I show up on their doorstep I am just as important to them then as I was the day I left. No country, no ocean can separate the purity of our friendship. Months may go by without a word but we each know that at a drop of a hat we are there for one another.
Throughout it all my husband is the rock. He knows when I go off the rails and has this innate ability to soothe me and make me feel better. I can curl up in his lap for 5 minutes and he heals all my wounds with a cuddle and no words.
I despise all domestic household chores and in a country where domestic helpers are the norm it is a constant psychological battle whether I should have one or not. I am currently on the fence.
Through online community groups, I have met several new people who are like-minded, particularly in the world of craft and cooking. Here I can share my crafty (and that includes cooking - that's an artform too) successes but also tribulations with difficult projects. Friendships have developed that would have never occured if the good ole' world wide web didn't exist. So thanks to the internet for the expanded world it has provided.
I have spent 15 years in part-time studies to build and progress my career but reached a point when I realised that it just wasn't what I wanted anymore. Maybe it was mid-life crisis, I turned 40 then, or maybe just being around for my daughter turned out to be a bigger and more important deal. I don't regret my studies, I use it for my personal life anyway (studies was in the world of finance if you are wondering) and it widened my mental horizons. My mother-in-law always told me that "education and travelling is never a waste of money". Right on. I believe it and live it.
A year ago I was found by a cousin back in Romania. Her attempts at befriending me on Facebook failed a couple of times as I didn't recognise her name and simply just ignored it. Eventually I had the common sense to ask my brother if he knew anything about it. After some searching it was confirmed and we hooked up on Skype to talk. It was further confirmed when she held up childhood photos of us that were in her possession. It turned out that a couple of years ago she promised her dying mother that she will look for the three cousins (that being me and my 2 siblings) that she never met. What can I say... thanks Facebook for making this miracle happen.
Do I have any regrets. Yep, too many cakes at Laurent Cafe. Played havoc with my hips and waistline. My brother tells me to get my act together in the way of fitness. I am listening because he's right.
When my sister said "You're not coming back to Australia, are you?" it stopped me in my tracks and I concluded that I was a global citizen. I will go wherever the work is. John and I are no longer limited by the city we grew up in. We are only limited by our imagination. Since the world is our oyster, we look forward to experiencing all that it has to offer. Where next, I don't know, but as the gypsy in me and a preference for a nomadic lifestyle, I just think "Bring it on...". Just a small caveat here though... it can't be in any war ravaged or politically unstable environment. I still have a child to consider first.
Thank you to all who know me and for making my life such a wonderfully rich experience.