Beware – this post is a biggie! I just couldn’t tell the stories without sharing the pictures 🙂 Lots of pictures. But hey, it’s my birthday. Surely I can call birthday girl privilege on this one?
So, it’s done.
I am 40. *hush now insecurities, the 30s are finished. Doesn’t matter now what we didn’t get done*
Dean had wonderfully organised for us to head on out to Oakview to spend an extra long weekend for my birthday.
Just us, Dad, Suzie, Rob and Presley hanging out together in the fresh country air.
In my mind, I had been calling it the “Festival of Forty” for ages! And considering I bought myself 4 bottles of wine to enjoy over the long long weekend, and drank just 2, it was perhaps less “festival” and more “a few days off with family”. But in the very best way!
We all went out to Brooloo, past Kenilworth, to the most delightful old girl of a Queenslander farmhouse, on 200 acres of amazing that just call you to get outside!
Dad, Dean, the kids and I arrived first. When we first stood on the verandah of that beautiful old country home, I felt us all emotionally exhale. I heard Dad mutter to himself “I could live here. I could really live here”.
It was just so delicious with those acres and acres of land around us.
I need to spend some more time figuring out just exactly what it is about Oakview that hits the spot for us. Is it the space? Is it the connection with nature, the seasons, the living energy of the earth? Whatever it is, we have GOT to do what it takes to create some more of that in our lives.
The weekend was full of walking, cooking & eating, exploring, swimming in the icecold crystal clear creek, reading, chatting, and getting up close and personal with the adorable cows.
It was the sort of weekend where the kids would just head on out the door, and be gone sometimes for a very short time, and sometimes for a long LONG time.
Dad was up early every day, walking out in the crisp dark morning, clearing his head.
We went on walks to collect wildflowers
and adults climbed trees
and tried to take selfies with cows. I swear it wasn’t just me. Rob was in on this challenge as well 🙂
I love this! Not only did I miss my face, but I didn’t get the cow either!!
Winner winner! Double cow selfie 🙂
The girls were so keen to get into their craft activities! Thanks Suze for thinking ahead:-)
There was plenty of time for doing, well, not much at all.
Love their pose for ‘serious thinking’?
Saturday night was just the absolute best.
We had an impromptu dance performance on the verandah from Tyben and Coby
before we headed out to draw on the well known mantra “the family that fire twirls together stays together” … What? You haven’t heard of that??
After a quick blood cleanup and repair after someone got hit in the head with the firestick (yes I KNOW !!) we decided that perhaps we should move inside to a more sedate activity.
We put the younger children to bed, and Bayley, Dad, Rob, Suzie and I stayed up late LATE playing Pictionary.
I genuinely laughed until I cried that night. On more than one occasion. We ended the night staring at the crisp sparkly stars that were EVERYWHERE!
The next morning there were more tears, but of a very different kind. Mine were the hot tears of anger and frustration. Dear Dad cried too, and without a word, I knew he was heartbroken that Mum wasn’t with us. She would have LOVED this weekend.
I don’t quite know why, but I want you to there were bumps in the road. That an amazing weekend away, also included a flashpoint. And it’s all OK. We wiped the tears, hugged it out, walked off the anger and frustration, and got on with the weekend.
Somewhere along the way, I think I had my 40 epiphany. I had been spending time in the lead up to the 40 ever so sharply aware of what I hadn’t done in my 30s. The failed goals, the missed self-set deadlines, the things where I had fallen below the bar.
But suddenly, in the seemingly never ending space and somehow slower time on the farm, as I walked by myself through the long grass, not thinking, just being, it hit me.
I will always be a work in progress!
It felt like relief. To know that even on my deathbed, whenever that time comes, there will still be things that are underway, jobs not completed, things I had hoped to do or see. I simply need to keep living and following the call of my heart, plain and simple.
THAT is the lesson of 40.
During the weekend, whenever I could, I would escape to the daybed on the verandah with The Help, a book that Mum had given me back a couple of years ago. I loved losing myself in those stories.
Maybe we all need someone to remind us “You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important“. After all, we really are, aren’t we?
I just couldn’t tell this story properly without some more pictures.
There were lots of attempts at smarty pants artsy pictures.
Gorgeous old things.
But the real art from the weekend was a series of shots taken by Tyben.
Remind me to buy that boy a camera for his next birthday. Or maybe before then.
So, if the idea of a weekend in the country appeals to you too, PLEASE check out Oakview. It was the absolute best, and Anne and Brad have been ever so thoughtful with just everything.
We’ve faced off, and it almost defeated me, scaring me with it’s expectations and spotlight on all the numbers.
Now it’s time to find the music of my 40s, and get on with dancing through the next decade, with my elephant feet ready to go in whatever direction that my heart calls me go.
Ps – I am SUPER looking forward to a birthday re-run next weekend with Bronwyn & Phillip 🙂 Maybe those 2 bottles of wine won’t go to waste after all!