In less than a week I’ll be forty. It feels completely surreal, because in so many ways I’ve spent most of my adult life wondering when it’s all going to click and I’m going to feel like an actual grownup.
The last few months have been a time of introspection for me. I’m watching Immy grow, proud of the human being she is, anxious because I can’t shield her from hurtful friends or making mistakes or all the other things she’ll need to go through in order to navigate her small life. On Thursday nights she sleeps with me in my bed – I carry her from her room to mine, her arms wrapped sleepily around my neck, and she is so tall that her feet hang only a short way from the ground. I lie awake staring at her, smiling with an aching heart at the way her mouth sometimes moves in her sleep, just like it did when she was a tiny baby and I was her world.
Standing at the very edge of my thirties, I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to celebrate what feels like a really significant milestone in my life. What it boils down to is this: I want time. Time to do new things, and more of the things I love. Time to travel, do yoga, run, hike, adventure with Immy, volunteer for school excursions, learn to bake beautiful birthday cakes, read, and write.
I’ll be taking the first half of 2019 off – pausing my life for a while, making a conscious choice to fill my days differently. No working, no schedules or deadlines or early morning commutes. Small luxuries like letting Immy sleep later on school days, and having coffee after school drop off in the morning. And big luxuries like spending a week on Heron Island, snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef and watching brand new turtle hatchlings scuttle towards the water. A trip to Italy to do the Walk of the Gods, which was always the fortieth birthday gift I’d promised myself. Long weekends away and playing hooky with Immy. I’ve made some firm plans, and left blank weeks open for spontaneous adventures. I hope to fill this space with pictures and memories of what I hope will be a pretty life-changing time for me, and for Immy.
I know it’s been absolute ages since my last post, and probably since our last adventure. But we DID have an adventure a couple of months ago, during the heart of winter. We took a road trip to the Grampians, on a spur of the moment long weekend. I booked us into a cheap motel, my only conditions being effective heating and wifi. Turns out the wifi came in handy since we spent an entire day in bed, reading and playing games on the iPad because it was too cold and wet to venture outdoors.
The day we planned to leave to head back to Melbourne dawned dry, if not exactly bright and sunny. We packed the car and headed for the Pinnacles walk, which was the real purpose of our visit. Luckily the weather held out, and my small (and best) adventurer and I spent the next four hours walking and talking until we reached the summit.
As we climbed higher and higher, things got a bit trickier. We scaled staircases above rushing, foaming creeks, and crept through crevices, rock walls closing us into long narrow passages.
And then, the summit. I didn’t love the people perched on the edge of the rock ledges, chatting and taking photos. I kept wanting to politely ask them if they wouldn’t feel more comfortable moving about oh, ten feet away from the ledges. I resisted the urge and made sure that Immy and I were on solid rock the whole time.
The views were pretty spectacular, and Immy took advantage of the opportunity to make a journal entry perched at the top of the world.
Heading down, Immy encouraged all the people puffing and panting on their way up past us. Almost there, she’d nod and smile encouragingly (although that became less true the further away we got).
My favourite part of the walk was this conversation that took place heading down the mountain.
Immy: Mama, when I’m grownup I’ll still want to go on adventures with you all the time.
Me: Well, that may change. When you’re grownup and you have a boyfriend you probably won’t want to be with me so much anymore.
Immy: (surprised) Well – mama! I already have a boyfriend and I’m still doing adventures with you!
I’ll take what I can get as long as I can get it.