This is 50
The most wonderful thing about getting older is I give so much less of a shit about the things that did not and do not matter...
Today is my 50th birthday and as tempting as it is to cover myself in gold body paint and take a Gwyneth-style selfie 🤣 I’ve come to this page to share a few thoughts instead.
The most wonderful thing about getting older, for me, is I give so much less of a shit about the things that did not and do not matter. In my 20s I was tangled up in what I thought I should do and be, so concerned with how everyone else perceived me, dressing to look nice, wearing make up to look nice, caught in the headlights of the patriarchal gaze, going through the motions of trying to fit in… But I never really did. I really really tried to. I got the boyfriend and the degree and the media job and the groovy life in London. I hustled really hard to be the cool girl but it was never really me. Then I turned 30 and blew my life up, leaving my relationship of a decade and getting together with someone I shouldn’t have been seeing but fell so hard for. Two years later he died and that was the year my life really began.
I’d just turned 32.
In a way today is also the 18th anniversary of me birthing myself, finding my true north and using it to steer my ship, so in that sense I’m turning 18 and becoming an adult again on my 50th birthday.
Over the last few years I’ve built an incredible relationship with my inner child. Susie and I are absolute besties and as I turn the page into this new decade I feel called to befriend my other selves, the ones I’ve been giving the side eye for far too long. That 20-something girl who didn’t know how damaged she was. The 30 year-old who knew there had to be more but didn’t trust herself to find it on her own. Even my 40-year old self could do with a bit of extra love as she traversed the disappointments of dating and not becoming a mum. I’m looking forward to bringing all my selves home and embracing a different type of wholeness.
Inevitably I’ve been musing on turning 50 for a while. At the beginning of the pandemic I was telling friends I wanted us to go to go stationery shopping in Tokyo in 2023. In deepest darkest lockdown that dream gave us something to look forward to. Three years later and I’m so glad it didn’t happen — turns out all I wanted for my 50th birthday was my cat purring in my lap contentedly. Friends, I got my wish ❤️
50 feels like a weighty number and I’ve been telling everyone (I fully expect to get a card from my postman) because I’m so proud to have made it this far. I don’t resonate with the whole “women of a certain age” bullshit or coyly pretending I’m younger. Maybe it’s because I can feel perimenopause drawing to a close and I feel so much calmer — I will write more about this soon. I feel quieter, steadier, more sure of myself, while also ready to turn up the volume in my work.
So I want to mark the occasion of turning 50 with something new, an experiment I’d like to try in real time with all of you. There’s a word that keeps tugging at my sleeve and that word is BOOK. It’s time to give it some proper attention.
I want to talk — and eventually write — about the things I don’t feel comfortable broadcasting widely in public (yet). I want a safer, smaller, more private space. Public, but in a way that feels most comfortable to me. Sharing in community but with gentle boundaries that help me be bolder in my sharing.
Why I’m no longer dating
My thoughts about friendship at midlife
How I really feel about not being a mother
And so much more
So today I’m turning on paid Substack subscriptions and launching a private podcast. 🎉
Voice Notes from a Friend will be SUPER conversational. I want to chat away to you like I do in voice notes to my mates. The episodes will be edited (by me) so they’re not three hours of rambly nonsense, but they will be real and honest and true. And I have a feeling a lot of what I share will spark seeds that’ll take root in the book that wants to be written.
There are 3 subscription levels:
— Free subscribers will still be able to read all my public blog posts
— Paying subscribers (£5 a month or £50 for a year) will get access to Voice Notes from a Friend, my monthly private podcast, plus occasional private blog posts. You’ll be able to send in questions and topics you’d like me to muse on, and there’ll also be occasional private threads for deeper conversation.
— Founding members (£125 for a year) will get all of the above plus a handwritten thank you note from me in the (snail!) mail 👍🏻
And here’s the dream: the more paying subscribers this blog gathers the more time I’ll be able to invest in this book project. And just like my first book, This I Know, I’m writing this book for you :-) The courses won’t be going anywhere — teaching is my life! — but the book idea will not leave me alone so it’s time to breathe life into it, and with the support of my beloved community I can make that happen!
The first episode of Voice Notes from a Friend will drop (and that’s only time I will ever say “drop”) mid February.
Okay… three... two… one… Let’s do this! ❤️