There are lots of positive things to be said about getting older. The gaining of wisdom, experience and confidence is something I embrace and continue to look forward to. However, there can be some drawbacks. I've been at the doctors a bit lately. It seems the older you get, the less able you are to outrun the genetic crap-shoot of your own DNA. Yes - after years of gloating that I was the only one in the family NOT on numerous pills, I have had to take a look at myself in recent weeks.
Once you turn 40 doctors love to send you for tests. It's like your body odometer has clicked over the magic number, and now it's time for a full service. After blood and urine tests, a kidney scan and an ECG reading, my doctor uttered the words 'most things are ok, but your heart is working a little harder than it should be'. I have to say, it sounded like quite a poetic way to say I had high blood pressure. It was not a surprise either. It has been up for a few years, and I found out I had a heart murmur when I was 19. Those simple words have been running around my head though. My heart is working a little bit harder than it should be.
Given all that has gone on in the last couple of years, it shouldn't be a surprise. Stress was pretty high on the agenda in ending a long-term relationship and the subsequent hellish 18 months of legal battles. But unfortunately, after that ended, I have found other things to fill the stress void. My workplace used to be amazing. I have made lifelong friends who have become dear to me, and have helped me grow and shaped who I am. I've always enjoyed what I do, as I like helping people. But recently there has been tumultuous changes, and the way in which this was done has knocked the wind out of mine and my colleagues sails. And worst of all, recently there were forced redundancies and some good people will be without jobs in a few days time. It made me cry. Cry for my colleagues, and cry that my workplace has become a heartless machine. It is not the place I once knew. Peter calls me a grief sponge. But I feel I can't help it, being surrounded by so much unhappiness.
I have now reached the point where I am going beyond looking for another job within the organisation. I am looking outside. It feels like the blinkers are off and I can see the rest of the world. I have spent more than half my life working in the library, at the same campus. It made me terrified to think of leaving. But the events of the last week mean I cannot look our managers in the eye. I don't respect them as managers or as people. It is a very sad stage to get to, but perhaps I'm one of those people who need to hit rock bottom before contemplating change. So I put in my first job application at another organisation on the weekend. And I feel ok about it.
I have been watching Judith Lucy's Spiritual Journey and it's given me food for thought. More than just turning 40 and trying to find where you fit in, and find the answer to what life's all about. I loved the cynics take on spirituality and finding centeredness. I don't really dig on religion, or some of the oddball new-aged practices. What I found compelling was Judith talking about elements of Buddhism and Yoga. Clearing the mind of the hurried rush of life, and finding a connection to nature and to people. She talked about the mad swirl inside her head, and how meditation helped her find peace and quiet. This new perspective helped see what was really important. For some inspirational viewing check out her chat with Brett Kirk (around the 8.07 mark).
Perhaps I'm beginning to see that 2011 is a transformational year. Time to be nicer to myself, and look after both my heart and my mind. Let go of things that aren't working for me, and take steps towards the type of life I want and to being the happy and healthier person I'd like to be. Sounds easy, right. But how often do you make time for yourself? Do you eat properly? Exercise enough? Feel fulfilled mentally, emotionally or spiritually? HA! I can see you shaking your head. We're all guilty. But hopefully by being aware, and having a little wake up call in the form of high blood pressure, I will take the steps I need to take. I have applied for a month off work, as I'm exhausted and Peter and I have our first wedding anniversary coming up. Now I'm counting the days. In the meantime, if you know of anyone who wants a slightly shop-soiled librarian free to a good home....give them my number.