I turned 33 today, a quiet affair reflecting exactly where I am in life: The desire for simple, introverted joys, and the need not for fanfare but for calm; the kind of peace I find at home with my family. My friend said yesterday, “But don’t you want to do something fun for your birthday?”, and I replied, “But pottering at home in a quiet house is fun for me.” At 33, I no longer accept the misconception that our life choices must be based on Shoulds: We should do this, it’s normal to do that. We define our own requirements for joy, and we worry not how that looks to the world. We are who we are and this is to be welcomed wholeheartedly.
At 33, I no longer accept the idea that it’s a tragedy for a woman to age. Growing older is a glorious thing. Ageing brings such a deep, rich sense of self, and one which is largely unfazed by public opinion. The words “This is me” cover us like a warm blanket — we become the dearest of friends with ourselves, there is a peace and an ease with which we form and express our identities, and they are based on our inner callings, our deeper hearts and our own agendas instead of the agendas the world tells us we should have. In other words, ageing gifts us freedom.
And folks, there’s not a whole lot better in life than freedom. Freedom is a powerful friend to find yourself alongside.
This is me.
I am an INFJ and a true enneagram 4. I have 9 unchecked voicemails on my phone because I don’t know about you guys, but my phone ringing is a confrontational attack on me as a person. It’s a direct invasion to my life and I’m shocked about it every time it goes off. While I love humanity and crave connection, crowds and groups of friendships overwhelm me. I am a one on one kind of girl, and even then, am most recharged when I am not socialising, finding renewal instead in creative pursuits, music, books, and other introspective activities. While Joel’s motto would be “life is what happens when you leave the house”, my motto would be “life is what happens through our day to day rhythms at home”. As such, I find a simple but incredibly deep joy in home life. I beautify spaces and feel bolts of contentment when bed sheets are tucked in tightly and oils are burning and fridges are stocked and rhythms are flowing and pots of herbs rest on windowsills. My first memory of life is of being violated by a family member and for most of my life, I allowed it to define my identity: Either by the experience itself and the consequent story I told myself about it, or by the recovery process — “I am an abuse survivor”. Both narratives, while chasms apart in how healthy they were for my mental state, were equal in their positioning within my identity: at the centre. Now I reject both and view that particular hardship as something which once happened to me – an external, periphery experience not without pain, but if mined thoroughly, bearing enormous gifts, like all hardships eventually do. I look for and set myself up to find beauty as a natural instinct, and as such there is a maker inside me who loves the creative pursuit of writing and photography to notice beauty, share beauty, and turn the experience of life and human existence itself into an art form this beauty has a outlet to concentrate within. Since delving into many aspects of corporate industry, I tend to reject most beliefs from mainstream systems, from the pharmaceutical industry to education to health to the food industry, and very importantly, mainstream media. There are no government policies as there institutions which control these policies; the real powers at play are the World Bank and global financial institutions, big arms and oil companies, intelligence agencies, and other lobbies and corporate agendas which control political decision-making, filtering down through mainstream media to vastly affect public opinion and thinking. Nearly every war and global conflict we see is not for the reasons we are told but rather for the agendas of those mentioned. It’s an incredible system and it leaves me overwhelmed often. One of the best things Joel and I did was to never bring home a television – not to live in denial, but to reject the propaganda it comes with. We use our screens for movies and favourite shows and for looking up our own alternative media sources and it works for us. Right now, we are looking for small but effective ways to become as off the grid as possible, and I am very excited to be planning our dream permaculture backyard to inch our way closer to sustainable living, making the exit as much as possible from being dependant consumers. I have a hard time keeping succulents alive (!) so the thought of growing my own food and relying so much less on industry has always been daunting, but it’s a skill to learn and my thoughts are that everyone can do it if they only try. Not knowing how is no longer an excuse for me. So far we have an aquaponics system set up and it’s so fuss-free as the fish regulate the plants and the plants regulate the fish, and I’m inspired to branch more into the wonderful world of self-sufficiency and show our children, learning alongside them in the process. Being a mother is my deepest and most pure source of happiness and initially this was a shock to me as I never thought I would be good at it. Ella was unplanned in the most concentrated form of the word: Joel and I were not even living together at the time, and though I became a mother in an instant, it has been a process to grow into the kind of mother I am, finding my groove and finding absolute joy in the lives of my children I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to raise and live alongside. I love nurturing my own pursuits and believe this is crucial in any life, but my children will always be true north to me.
Aaaaand we’ll stop there. This is me. Age 33. I love that I am settling into more and more of who I am and I so enjoy the creative outlet of sharing some of these bits here with you.
And just because I’m so excited about it, here is our first draft backyard plan with some very basic permaculture tips for those interested!
I am only learning but for you gardeners out there, please send me your recommendations and tips!
The basic permaculture philosophy is that you want to design a garden and eventually an entire home situation with things inside it that mutually benefit each other. You want to mimic what happens in nature so that you rely on resources less. For example, for your permaculture garden, including a pond invites frogs which help control slugs. Having a beehive helps to pollinate the plants and flowers in your garden and the plants and flowers create a living system to our dwindling bee population. (Don’t get me started on Monsanto or Round Up!). Having chickens gives you eggs and manure, and chickens also control pests like snails. Using companion planting such marigolds and tomatoes together works to repel pests and attract beneficial insects. It’s really exciting once you start getting into it all, marvelling at the design of nature and being still enough to observe it all and be part of it. Am I on the right track with my understanding, gardeners? Do share!
And a big special mention to my husband who – at all my new-found information and interests – said, “Babe, welcome to yourself. I’ve been waiting for you to get here.” He drives me absolutely mental, that man, but gosh is he good for me, always one step ahead, propelling me forward.