According to Google I'm seven years away from official middle age. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I'm surprised to see a face looking back at me, laugh lines extending from the corners of my eyes, my hairline peppered with more and more grey.
I read this post from two years ago. I remember writing it, on the banks of a river that rolled lazily, quietly, by. I remember warm evenings, dinner under a perfect full moon, drinking wine with my friend and feeling like at last like my pieces were gently falling into place.
Two short years later, and here I am. Melbourne - a new life, in a new place, at the start of a new year. I like the symmetry of it.
It's raining outside. I'm still in bed in my pjs, drinking coffee. I fell asleep at 3am this morning, writing and reading and watching Mad Men on Netflix. Later, I will pick Immy up from school. If we're hungry we might stop for sushi, or grab a hot chocolate and a tiny New York cheesecake from the bakery around the corner. When we get home, we'll play Snakes and Ladders, or Snap, and watch a show about mermaids, curled up under the blanket.
Tonight I'm having cocktails and dinner with a friend. A quiet celebration of so many things: another year well lived, the thrill of new beginnings, the love that I can feel crossing oceans today from my family and friends.
And so my life stretches, fluidly expanding and contracting to accommodate the happiness, sadness, contentment and sometimes loneliness that are etched into my days. It's been a strange, suspended time, the anxiety to put down roots woven into the freedom of quiet unstructured days. Normally this is such a busy time of year for me, and for the last eight weeks I've felt totally the opposite - immersed, floating through time, watching from the sidelines as Immy settles into this new life.
I love watching her eyes scanning the group of moms waiting at the bottom of the the stairs at the end of the school day - the way her face lights up when she catches sight of me. It's my favourite moment of the day. I will miss our slow afternoons, and easy conversations while we wait at pedestrian crossings and stroll along the high street. On Monday I start my new job, and the next shift into new routines will start. The loss of this will be replaced by other gains - security, and a place to call home. We can unpack our things, plan play dates and adventures, enjoy warm summer days (if they ever arrive) in the park.
The year ahead is already pencil-sketched in with travel dreams, books to read, new things to discover.
In the words of Meister Eckhart -
And suddenly you just know...
It's time to start something new
and trust the magic of beginnings.