I learned that I don’t care if other people like me or not. If you spend your life worrying about what people think of you, you’ll never be who you are deep down in your gut, in your soul, in your heart. So, I spend my time with those I like and love, and I pretty much ignore everyone else. My time is precious and I want to spend it with people that interest me.
I learned that age is nothing more than a number. It doesn’t define you. I’m 53. I don’t care. I am weird and quirky. I probably have the mental age of a 15 year old. I love dance music and pop music. I love Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook and writing fanfiction and fangirling over my favourite actor and my favourite TV show. I get along well with people of any age. I have Peter Pan syndrome. I don’t see why I have to grow up. Show me that rule written in blood and I’ll think about it, but probably not obey it.
I learned that I cannot cook rice. Not in a saucepan, not in the microwave. Not even in the bloody rice cooker that I bought. I C A N N O T C O O K R I C E.
I learned that I am a lot stronger than I ever realised. Getting sick taught me that. Mentally I am strong. So I’m flipping the bird at life on that. You didn’t beat me. I beat you.
I learned that having my sons will always be the absolute BEST thing I will ever do. They are my legacy. They are my Oscar, my Premiership Cup, my Gold Medal. They are good, strong, honest, hardworking, kind, loving and caring young men. I’m proud of them. I love them. Now if they would just get their arses into gear and give me some grandchildren, they’d be perfect!
I learned that I’m not high maintenance. I’ve never been one that has to have the latest gadgets. The brand names. The labels. The newest thing. Sure I look at stuff and think, gee, I’d like that. But that’s usually as far as it goes. It’s not that I couldn’t afford some of the things that I see. Sure I could I guess. I just don’t need it. I’m not into stuff. It won’t make you happy for long.
I learned that I like men. I’m not talking in a sexual way. I like men, their humour, their loudness, their casual ways, their dirty jokes. I love being in a room full of blokes. I love how they think they are so funny, even when they aren’t. If I was given the choice of going to high tea with a bunch of women in some posh restaurant or hanging out with the guys in the sports bar at our local pub, betting on the horses. I’d choose the guys. That’s just who I am. I can’t talk about my hair colour, or my nail acrylics (I don’t like long nails) or my shoes. Shit it took me 52 years to start getting my legs waxed!
I learned that I HATE clothes shopping. It’s a nightmare. I get hot and sweaty (which is different to “Summertime”). I get anxious. I used to be average I guess you’d say. I was probably a size 12-14 when I got married. (Australian sizes – I don’t know why I felt the need to clarify that?) Anyway. Then I had son #1. I gained a little, but not much. Then along came son #2. I was pregnant with twins and lost one. My body apparently didn’t realise this and went into overdrive. I ate nothing but dry biscuits for 9 months, vomited every day endlessly and gained 24kg. I managed to shift most of it and along came son #3. So I settled in at a size 16. I could live with it. I’m fairly tall, 5’7″ (don’t ask me what that is in cm, I still work in feet and inches) so I guess I carried that OK. Then I got sick. I gained 18kg in 18 months. So here I am, hovering just over 100kg and I HATE clothes shopping.
I learned that everything happens eventually.
I learned that I am not a nurse. Taking care of someone ill or old. I can’t do it. I discovered it when my father was ill, and dying in hospital. My husband would sit and spoon mush into his mouth and I would sit back watching, horrified. There is something in me that just cannot handle it. My mother is in big strife if she ever gets sick cos I am not doing it. She already knows, because she was the one that pointed it out to me. My brother is going to have to step up if anything ever happens. Cos I’ll be useless.
Most importantly, I’ve learned I like me. A lot.
Now, most people will snort or snigger, but for someone like me, I spent a lot of my life being something for everybody else, and nothing for me. When my father died, some stuff happened to me (I’ll probably cover that in another story) and I went through a depression of sorts. I emerged as this awesome thing called me. And I really like her. She’s funny and rude and irreverent. She dresses however she likes. She loves jeans and tops that show her boobs (not that they are that spectacular but they’re still perky, so flaunt em while you still got em) She laughs really loudly in public (you know, that deep from your belly laugh) and means it. She loves dirty jokes. She loves a drink or three (and only ever from the top shelf. I may have promised to love, honour and obey, but I never promised to be a cheap date).
And I’ve probably got a lot more to learn, and I’m ready.