This Queen’s Birthday long weekend I was lucky enough to escape the dead of Sydney winter and hightail it to Far North Queensland, (where they enjoy the far more respectable temperatures of around 27 degrees).
Speaking of FNQ, did you know that the wet tropics Heritage Area covers just 0.1% of Australia’s land surface, yet the Daintree Rainforest contains 62% of our 385 butterfly species?
God, I love this sunburnt country and my own sunburnt skin.
But this blog post isn’t about rubbing in my holiday (that’s merely an added bonus!) No, this post is to acknowledge some important people that I have neglected since beginning this blog on 1 July 2012…
Starting this blog was my friend Juliette’s idea (Hi J!) and it’s amazing how much I’ve learned about myself since I started it.
I should probably point out that my weekend away was an early birthday celebration for me and someone else who shall remain nameless, so it definitely brought with it a tiny little pang of panic that I am still 5 challenges away from my ultimate goal. To add insult to injury, we spent part of Sunday night watching the finish line of the Cairns Iron Man, where I witnessed people stroll over the finish line 12 hours in with less huff and puff than my 2 hour+ half marathon effort only a couple of weeks ago.
Seriously though, I’ve often said that getting older is only depressing when you feel like you’re not where you thought you would be. This feeling is usually brought about by a combination of unrealistic expectations and an inability and/or unwillingness to go and grab each and every one of your goals. Some things are somewhat out of our control (love, children, health) and yet so many are completely within our control (career, lifestyle, wealth). I, for one, deadset thought I’d be married with children by now. By all accounts I should be depressed about turning 30. Sure, I’m well on my way to my original “plan”, but if I’d had my way I’d be pregnant with my third, barefoot and stepping on Lego.
Life, of course, doesn’t always go to plan, and these days I’m pretty relieved that my life had a mind of its own. I am now nothing but excited about looking “30” in its crow-footed face and shouting “Happy EOFYS!” (You need to shout, she’s a little hard of hearing).
I’m still keen on that original plan though. It’s a good plan, and when the time comes I will relish every moment of it. For now, though, I’m just happy that I’ve had a big chance to grow up before trying to raise a mini me (or mini Andy). That’s not to say that you can’t be a fantastic parent at a younger age, it’s just to say that I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t even know it.
I have changed so much in the past year – I don’t know if other people around me see it – but I can feel it. I am happier, more energised, more in control of myself and more at peace with the rest of the World. Perhaps traveling to the spiritual home of India had its part to play in that. Perhaps jumping out of a plane was the catalyst. I don’t know, maybe it was even the books I’ve been reading lately, like ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’ which seem to speak to me in a language I’ve only now just come to understand. All I know is that I’m happy. Really happy. And I’m excited about turning 30.
But, to return to my original point, you can probably imagine how this Top 30 Countdown provides a great deal of conversational material. I am often surprised by the people who have taken an interest in what I’ve been up to, perhaps fancying that they too might like to take part in some of the (less onerous) challenges.
I’m also often surprised by the people who’ve been stalking me!
I use the term “stalker” in the most loving of ways. I’m blogging – I’m putting myself out there – and by doing so I’m genuinely welcoming you to read about me.
I’ve got my loyal readership of friends and family, but I know that there is a wider net of readers out there keeping up with my every move. You might be judging me for any number of embarrassing stories (and photos and videos!) or, you might be following along, quietly wishing it was you who was plowing their way through their bucket list. I just want you all to know, whoever you are, that you’re welcome here.
You’re probably looking over your shoulder right now imagining that I’ve sprung you reading this. But I couldn’t be more genuine when I say that, first of all – I’m not hiding in your garden and, second of all – I’m happy if you hide in my virtual blog garden.
After all, this list isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone who set me a challenge, it’s about the people who’ve let it spur them to embrace challenges of their own, and it’s about anyone who takes the time to read about it all. I do take notice of my blog stats and when I see a spike it tells me that I’ve hit a nerve with other people out there who’d like to get more out of life.
Now’s your chance. It’s been a while since I set you readers a challenge, but here it is:
Today I challenge you to think of one thing that you’ve always wanted to do. Just one thing. It doesn’t have to be an important thing. It doesn’t have to be a popular thing or a useful thing. It doesn’t have to be a thing that serves people or achieves a goal. It just has to be a thing that speaks to you. It doesn’t have to be a difficult thing, but maybe it is? Perhaps it’s been sitting there in the back of your mind as you read this blog. Perhaps it’s been sitting in the back of your mind for years, or perhaps it’s something that just popped into your head this week because you saw it on TV.
Whatever that thing is, my challenge is this: Imagine how you would feel if you did this thing.
Then… if the feeling is a good one – do it!
Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action – Benjamin Disraeli
‘The Alchemist’ taught me that everyone has their own ‘Personal Legend‘ and happiness comes from the realisation of that Legend. This past year has taught me that those words are true. I haven’t quite worked out what my own ‘Personal Legend’ is yet, but if it’s not becoming the next J.K. Rowling, then it’s definitely giving birth to the next Casey Stoner/Cadel Evans.
If you’ve never commented on the blog, I welcome you to join the conversation and say hello in the comments below! To the usual suspects, tell me – What do you plan to do this year that will make you happy to rack up another candle on the old birthday cake? Or, if you’re feeling really brave, what is your ‘Personal Legend’?