OMG I’m 40!

Yep, that’s right, two weeks ago I have turned the dreaded 40. Well, dreaded is what I originally thought and it wasn’t so much because I saw it as ‘old’,  but more that it represents half your lifespan.

In an article by the ABC, Dr Caroline West states that ‘according to some psychological research, we face two events that will change our lives forever. The first crisis is adolescence and the second is, you guessed it, turning 40’. Dr West continues by explaining with so many of us turning this age, we all have our own interpretation of what it means and outcomes of where we go from this point.

Leading up to the milestone in which I share with my twin brother, I became quite depressed and needed to do some hard-core soul-searching. I reflected back to when I turned 30 and to be honest, not much has changed…well so I thought. I am still a single mother, I do not own property, I have one beautiful child (had hoped for more), we are still living on a low-income, I’m not married or even close, and I’m still in a similar position career wise…for now.

Yet after a few loving conversations with my dearest friends and family who helped me see the light with the things I have achieved, quite a lot is different from a decade ago:

  • I have finished a degree (HUGE milestone)
  • My son made it through primary school and is now at the end of his first year in high school and remains a beautiful, thoughtful, and genuine soul (I’m truly blessed)
  • I have achieved considering my low-income many things financially and my son has never really gone without
  • I am stronger, assertive, I hold my own and have become a woman with integrity
  • I have actually built on my career creating new opportunities and networks
  • I have travelled
  • I have further developed my skills in all aspects of life
  • Finally I have maintained and created beautiful and treasured relationships that I do and will hold close to my heart forever

It may not be perfect nor is it anywhere near where I envisioned life would be at this stage, yet now I can say I’m proud of my achievements.

In fact, I am continually inspired from the amazing women in my life who are of my age or older.  One woman in particular is my beautiful Mum who changed her career at 40 and has never looked back.  As time goes on,  I realise how many similarities I have with my Mum and how much of an impact she has had on my life.

There are many women within my professional network who are moving and shaking the world like there is no tomorrow. I am in awe of their awesomeness and the footprints they are leaving.

Now when I think of the ‘40’s’ club, and look deeper into the personas based on whom I know and what I have seen, there is an element of contentment and acceptance. Why is this?

Is it because we reach a place in our lives that we start to not worry so much on others opinions and judgements? Is it because we have had 40+ years of experience and know a thing of two? Is it because we’ve worked bloody hard to get to this point and should feel darn proud? Or it just how it is and I should not try to over analyse it.

images-2Sooooo after all my evaluating, debriefing and soul-searching, I decided to take on this new phase of my life holding my head high and making sure I leave my 30’s with a big bang.  My twin and I hosted an awesome party with a rock theme and created a night we’ll never forget.

Throughout our teenage years, my brother and I were in a band, he on the bass and I was the lead singer.  For months leading up to our party along with friends making up the band, we jammed and rehearsed in a studio preparing for the night to play a 40 minute set. We were the entertainment and I was nervous as hell.

Feeling sick in the stomach with nerves, I embraced this moment with my brother, family and friends and we rocked the house.  Ok, perhaps I was shaky for the first couple of songs but then along with this new focus towards my future I went with it. I had a ball, I felt good, I was happy, I was smothered with love, and I was content!

Here’s to turning 40 and the next phase of my life and I say…BRING IT ON!

What is in a name?

image by fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com

What is in a name? How much importance does our name carry and what does it mean to a child?

On my son’s birth certificate, his surname is his fathers.  At the time, obviously you don’t think about the possibilities of not staying together so the name for me was not a major point of discussion.  Once we had separated, I started to feel uncomfortable whenever I had to use both our surnames, for example making a doctor’s appointment and so on.  I could sense people looking at me in a particular way, questioning my relationship with ‘MY’ child and acting curious of the background behind the two different names when read out loud. I had to deal with this and I did without anyone really knowing how it was cutting me up inside.  Then, one day my son started to question the difference in our names.  He was also suffering and it was causing him confusion and despair and he let me know he wanted the same as Mummy. I tried to explain the legal side although I did this poorly and quite possibly caused more confusion for the poor soul, however I did my best. I also explained what I thought was morally the right answer as I did not know better

As time passed, my son kept bringing up the subject of his name and asking if he could have the same one as me.  I felt awful as I wasn’t sure of the right answer to give him.  After some thorough researching and checking on my court orders, we (my son and I) came to the decision we would change it and we did.  My son’s name is now hyphenated with my surname first and his father’s second.  I had an appointment with the school principal who agreed graciously with the new name and from the following year, my son took on a new identity almost and he had never been happier.  I sensed he felt more connected with me now we shared a name and over time, my part of the name is more used than the other.

As I have sole responsibility (which in the older term was known as sole custody), I actually have the right to apply to get a new birth certificate with the desired name.  This is certainly on our ‘to do list’ and once we can afford this, we will be changing the name officially.  My son’s father was not happy about this decision at all and at times has caused stress and grief, and an overreaction causing embarrassment, yet at the end of the day it was in the best interest of the child. In my case, it was my son’s choice and after much discussion and counselling of the idea, I supported him and his decision and it could not have worked out any better.

I ask you if you, have been in a similar situation – if so, what did or would you do?

Do you feel it was right that I changed the name of my son although different to what is on his birth certificate?

Do you feel this decision takes anything away from the father, particularly if they do not play a major role in the child’s lives?

I would love to hear your comments and discuss this subject as I feel for many it is a sensitive issue for all involved.

Love and Light

xo

I have found some sites for those of you who are curious about name change and children’s rights.

Ferguson Cannon Lawyers:  http://www.fclawyers.com.au/fact_finders/view/120/category:3

Births, deaths and marriages registries:  http://australia.gov.au/topics/law-and-justice/births-deaths-and-marriages-registries

Australian Human Rights Commission – Children’s Rights:    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/children/index.html