Ditching The Obnoxious Twat

I spent the entirity of the year I turned 36 telling people I was 37. It was an accident. I’d miscalculated on the day and no-one ever questioned it. We were living in Canada at the time and it was one of the only years that we didn’t make a trip home, a result of too many small children, a very tight budget, and feeling constantly jet lagged without the air travel. No-one in my expat life questioned my age, they weren’t to know. We hadn’t been to school together, shared a graduating year, or had mutual old friends to point out the mistake.

Today I’m 47. For sure. I’ve done the math with my fingers and double checked online with one of those birthday calculators.

Yesterday I was chatting to my boss about our New Year plans and how they’d be a family birthday lunch when he said “so you’re 48!” You can understand with my history why I took a second to answer, what doesn’t make sense is why when I did I chose this:

“Am I?”

Sharp as a tack. She’s on the ball that girl. That’s why I hired her. Astute.

This year is obviously very different for my family. Our lives have been changed, I have no doubt it/they will return to normal, but for right now we’re a little frayed around the edges. My children have stood by my side while I’ve given cancer updates to friends, neighbours and customer service staff who are overly intersted in my head scarfe. We’ve discussed my disappearing eyebrows, the fact that chemo limits my beach time in the sun, and three of the children will head back to Doha without me while I start radiation here in Australia.

For the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy my birthday at the beach. While we’re residents of Qatar and love our home in Doha I speak for all of us when I say our heart is here in Port Willunga. My twelve year old son with his American accent told me yesterday he couldn’t wait for the “tourists” to leave “our” beach. My nine year old told me this morning that Australia feels free and that he’d never get sick of looking out the window and seeing the greenery. “I love it here Mum, I love how it makes me feel.”

For me, it’s been a big year for thinking about how things make me feel. What I like, what I don’t. It’s true cancer will have you re-evaluating, it will also make you realize who and what you don’t want to waste time on. No more dinners with the obnoxious twat your friend happened to marry, just meet her for coffee one on one instead. You will never be a runner, that’s okay. Just eat the damn cake. Stop apologising for offering an alternative view. Be grateful for the gift of getting older. These are all things that become clear.

It seemed apt to wake up this morning to this quote from Carrie Fisher.

“Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”

While I may have needed to re-calculate my age (it’s so not important) I know how I feel. This last round of chemo has me hobbling around with sore feet and tingly finger tips, my face still has the remnants of steroids with its hampster like appearance, and I am as bald as Brittney Spears on a bender. To be frank, it’s not pretty.

But here’s the thing, it doesn’t seem to matter.

My husband looks at me in exactly the same way, dare I say it, the look has changed into something even more beautiful – it’s an I can’t beleive I almost lost you kind of look. We are having the same beach holiday surrounded by good friends and family. I’m heading out to my favourite restaurant for lunch today with my favourite people. I have friends coming to stay this evening and tonight they’ll be a glass of Verve with my name on it to celebrate the new year. Life feels simpler, slower. My hair will grow back. My face will resume shape albeit with the first signs of jowls, crowsfeet, and a crease that is now turning into a wrinkle on my eyelid. The scar on my left boob will fade and serve as a reminder to what I’ve learnt this year.

How does it make you feel? Good? Do more of it. Not so good? Let it go. Ditch the obnoxious twat and pick up the phone to arrange something that makes you feel great.

Happy New Year everyone. Thanks for sticking around.

 

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