Another year older
On Saturday I celebrated my 35th birthday. Unlike many others my age I absolutely love birthdays. What an absolute blessing it is to be another year older.
Some people dread their birthday because they fear what will come with old age, fear of losing their looks or maybe because they think their life hasn’t quite turned out the way they hoped it would and another year has flown by. Believe me, mine hasn’t quite turned out how I imagined either. When I was younger I thought by the time I was 35 I would be married, in a steady job and settling down to a normal life.
It’s safe to say that going through a traumatic experience changes all that. Whether you suffer from cancer, have broken up from a relationship or are just so fed up with how your life is going that you need to change it so you can just remember what its like to feel alive again.
My thirties started off as a bit of nightmare but the past 18 months have been the happiest and most rewarding time of my entire life. I have seen and achieved more in this short time than I have in my entire life.
When I think of the things I have done this year I still have to pinch myself. Two of my most favourite moments in life have occurred in the past year. The first one being when I took part in Angelride and rode a bicycle 140 miles across the state of Connecticut to raise money for a camp for seriously ill children. Having never ridden a bike more than a few miles before I did this with a weeks training. My brother rode next to me and my mum was there to meet me at the end. Surrounded by wonderful people this was the most magical moment of my entire life. After years of believing that my body was weak, ugly and had constantly let me down, this ride continued to prove to me that it has actually always been the rock that has kept me on my feet and has never let me down.
Another one of my favourite moments happened a couple of weeks ago when I sang on stage at the Sydney opera house on live TV. This was huge because a few years ago I didn’t even want to leave the house. I had lost my confidence and was riddled with anxiety. Even now I get nervous talking to people. People say how confident I am but it is a total illusion. Before I enter a new hostel I take a deep breath and prepare myself to meet new people. Anxiety is still very much a part of my life but before singing I just told myself that surly this can’t be worse than being told you have cancer….and you know what..it didn’t even come close. I hope my performance in front of an audience of 500,000 people at the Opera house showed others who suffer from anxiety just what is possible.
But I think the best thing about 2014 has been the people I’ve met along the way, the people my experiences have helped and the people who have who have supported me through this blog.
For my birthday I came back to Sydney and people I had only just met a few weeks ago organised a surprise birthday lunch for me. What beautiful generous people. When I arrived in Connecticut for Angelride I was taken in by strangers, given a bike and equipment to use and treated like family. I made friends for life and for a short time I felt like I was home.
I thought this trip would be about completing my list but in actual fact my favourite thing has been the experiences and people I have met along the way.
I leave for New Zealand next week and instead of contemplating what I will tick off from my list I find myself wondering what wonderful people I will meet when I get there.
When I was in hospital this time round I found myself with regrets that I hadn’t lived my life the way I had wanted to and maybe I had missed my chance. If cancer dares rear it’s ugly head again I can safely say I now have no regrets. I am content for the first time in my life. Every new thing I do form here on in is just a bonus and I now want for nothing… except for Thing #101 but I’ll hopefully work on that when I stop running around the world!
Thing #1 on my list which is to help others through cancer will never be ticked off. I will continue to do this forever more and I hope more so once I stop travelling.
As I write this I’m sitting in a coffee shop looking at the Christmas lights. An old woman has just walked by and given me the biggest smile. I’m not sure why, maybe I was smiling at her without knowing it or maybe she’s just nice. Either way it has made my day.
I’ve had a few health mishaps since that photo of the ill little Greig was taken and I don’t know what will happen in the future but what I do know is that right now I feel like most grateful person in the world. What a lovely feeling to have.
Thank you so much to my lovely Sydney friends for making my birthday so special. You have no idea how much it has meant to me. A huge thank you to the AMAZING Vicki Connerty for making it all happen and for making the best birthday cupcakes ever. You rock VC!:)