I’m 41 years old today and I’m typing this with a sports towel wedged under my bum to catch the running sweat trickling down the backs of my knees and can hear several choppers overhead keen to catch some aerial views of the crowds attending the Melbourne Cup race.
As I sat in the kitchen earlier this morning opening cards and pressies with Love Chunks, Sapphire and Milly the dog, I mused aloud, “Have I learned anything this year?”
“I seriously doubt it,” shot LC by the coffee machine, making us all laugh.
But I have really. Twelve months ago we lived in a largish double-brick house on a piece of land in South Australia measuring 900 square metres – here in Victoria it’s 220 squares. We haven’t noticed the smaller space but have instead appreciated not being weekend garden slaves or hearing chunks of plaster fall from the ceiling and go SMACK onto the floorboards at 3am.
The gym – okay tool shed – we have is much smaller than our double garage, but it fits in the treadmill since it finally made its way through our delivery-unfriendly front gate. It also houses LC’s new bike and he's looking fitter, thinner and stronger. “Yeah, you’ve downsized yourself by running more this year Mum,” said Sapphire. Thanks sweetie.
Yet my chocolate stash has upsized thanks to GoneChocco and two stints on telly’s ‘A Current Affair’ (thankfully as a fluffy good news piece and not being chased down the street by a reporter as I jam my hand in front of the camera and avoid answering questions on what it feels like to make pensioners poor and homeless). My chocolate contacts have also upsized as I’ve met some really enthusiastic, genuinely friendly and talented chocolatiers, importers, creators and retailers who know more about the brilliant brown beauties than I ever will.
My income is far less than it used to be during my managerial stress-head days or the decline of civilised behaviour with The Bulldog, but it’s more than it was last year which was roughly the royalties from Work/Life Balance for Dummies (ie air and ego) and a tax refund from the previous financial year.
This year I’m actually earning money and still continue to feel utterly thrilled to see my stuff in the newspaper and to work with an editor who ‘gets’ me. I also get the jollies receiving little book parcels in the mail from Jabberwocky in order to review them. Good or bad is fine with me: the fun is in the discovery and in now knowing the delivery man by name.
The city is bigger (over 4 million compared to one million) but the local area is smaller. Joining the Flemington Association has given me friendship with people I might never have met otherwise and stirred a passion that I didn’t know I possessed for history, planning, character and culture .... and good cafes.
“What other changes in size have happened this year,” I again foolishly asked myself out loud in front of my family.
“Your cholesterol has upsized.”
Er yes, thanks darling husband.
“And you’ve downsized your life because you’re 41 now and have less life to go.”
Wonderful, Sapphire, that’s just wonderful.
Love Chunks handed me a freshly-made coffee. “Are you sure you’re not 42? I could have sworn you were 42 today.”
No. Our tiny kitchen just fits in Love Chunk’s coffee machine and the dining table is wedged in so that you need to suck your gut and squeeze in your butt-cheeks in order to sit on the furthest side and dog hairs collect in tumble weeds under the chairs and when Sapphire’s got SingStar going in the lounge room just two metres away it’s impossible to have a conversation but I feel like it’s huge.
It fits in Love Chunks, Sapphire, Milly and myself – everyone I love.