Letter to my 39 year old self

I’m teaching an online blogging course at the moment over at We Teach Social and one of the things I tell my blogging students is that reading other blogs can inspire your own posts. I have been thinking about writing a post to a younger self for a while and two blog posts I read recently have made me put fingers to keyboard here.  I’m conscious that I’ve always been fairly independent, matter-of-fact, relatively fiery at times, always wanted to write a book but the inspiration or the timing never seemed right. However, I am convinced that those who say ‘Life beings at 40’ are very accurate.

Elaine at NewFarmerette was bemoaning hitting 36 last week (and yes, I have to admit that I was thinking to myself that she is still a young ‘un with nothing to worry about but I can also remember what it feels like) and Tric at My Thoughts on a Page just wrote about her previous reluctance to put her writing out there.

Hitting 40 was a bit of a sore point. I had always imagined we’d have 4 kids by the time I was 40 or I’d be pregnant with our fourth. Having had first and second at just 33 and 35, I had it all planned to have third and fourth at 38 and 40. But life doesn’t work to plan and yes, I struggled with that and with some depression for a wee while.

Garrendenny Farm 2013

Now that I am 44, I couldn’t be happier or more content and I’ve learnt quite a bit about myself too. That I really don’t give a s**t what anyone thinks – not really.  Yes, I’d be delighted if everyone loves my book but realistically that is not going to happen. I was nervous sending it out to a few friends who are helping with the proofreading as I really do care about their opinion and yes, it would be great to read glowing blog reviews and hear that people think it is really funny but if it doesn’t happen – I will still have written a book. I’ve been meaning to write a book for the last 6 years and have 40,000 words of a novel somewhere. Yes, I may take it out again at some point – at the moment, I’ve caught the farming book bug and have another planned for next year.  The crowdfunding made me realise that sometimes you just have to put your shoulders back, push the fear aside and go for it.

Letter to my 39 year old selfI love feeling contented. I went through a period where I was a fog, where I hated getting up in the mornings. I wasn’t badly depressed either, not compared to some. I love that while it is hard to get up when I’m tired and it’s cold, I’m happy bouncing out of bed. I’m happy walking the kids to the bus, happy that my 9 year old still holds my hand and gives me a hug before the bus comes, happy to walk back up to the house and get stuck into my book or a ghost blog or a social media lesson.  I’m not religious as such but I do feel blessed to have two such wonderful, caring, beautiful, intelligent, fabulous kids. The husband isn’t bad either!

I’ve also learnt that I will never make a good housekeeper but life is too short. Someday I will get a cleaner.  I said to my husband earlier that I need to plan a really nice day off as a reward once this book goes to the printers and my ebook is formatted – otherwise I will just keep writing.  While the house gets its quick hoover and dust, furniture needs to be pulled out, wardrobes need a sort out, windows need a clean (no, not a clean, a scrub), hotpress (airing cupboard) needs to be emptied and sorted, oven needs to be cleaned, rooms need painting, floors need a good scrub, leak in shower needs to be sorted, kitchen cupboards need to be cleaned out, broken window needs to be fixed – you can see why I just want to keep writing and ignore it all.  So, before I embark on a week of cleaning, I need a treat and I couldn’t think of anything. I’m not into spas, I would stick pins in my eyes before heading off a girly day of shopping, I can’t sit in the house and relax with a book and ignore the mess so I am trying to think of something that would be a big treat – some time to myself but doing what? So, 39 year old self, sort yourself out and don’t work so hard that you forget what you enjoy doing in your leisure time.  I will probably head to a favourite bookshop with €50 in my pocket and then go to a nice cafe and read for a couple of hours.

I’ve always known that I’m an intensely protective mum.  I’ve known that others thought I was a bit mad when the kids were young, when I didn’t chastise my son for crying easily, when I fed him till he was 2 although heavily pregnant with Kate, that I wasn’t worried about him being so sensitive or so ‘young’ for his age. I’ve been amused that people thought I was mad still feeding my daughter too till she was 29 months, even though she was so tall for her age (I lost loads of weight – it was great, and neither of them have any allergy problems which was my main reason). I’ve learnt in the last year too that I definitely don’t care what others think, that even though the teachers are wonderful, sometimes you just have to tackle parents and be blunt (and boy, can I be blunt when I am protecting my kids!!!) and it does sort things out and that is all that matters. I will never be the most popular mother in the playground but I’ve never been the type of person to need lots of friends. Give me one or two good friends and I am happy. 39 year old self, don’t wait so long to kick ass next time.

5 years ago, Ireland was a very different place. People were much more materialistic, the emphasis seemed to be on monetary success. I’ve never been that materialist (just as well – there’s very few wealthy farmers around) and as long as I have a few decent items in the wardrobe, a reliable car, a warm house with an open fire, good books, can afford my health insurance (yep, I don’t trust the Irish medical service) and the whole family is healthy, I’m happy. It is nice to have reached a stage, even though the country is in recession, that so many other people are like that too – they value what they have and it isn’t all money in the bank. Yes, I know people are struggling and I’m wincing thinking of our current overdraft too. My 39 year old self used to feel that I should be wealthier, not necessarily to display it, just to feel wealthier in monetary terms.  Sorry if this makes you cringe reading it but if this is what middle age and one’s 40s brings in terms of contentment, I’m looking forward to my 50s!

So, 39 year old self, keep doing what you love – blogging, writing, being a full-time mum. Grab the bull by the horns, be impulsive, collaborate with brilliant people and let things grow naturally (blog becomes book, klck bloggers network becomes blog awards).  I didn’t even know about blog awards early in 2010 and in 2012, I’m organising one – who knows what the future holds – as long as you are prepared to go for things, anything can happen. The journey is the best bit of any goal so there’s no panic on winning a huge achievement either.

Blog Awards Ireland 2013

Just to give you a heads up as the blog might be down for a couple of days as we transfer everything across to the new website. It should be available on http://www.irishfarmerette.wordpress.com though. Now that this personal blog has become more businessy (yes, I have a book to sell!) I wonder will I feel the need to start another personal one – it will be interesting to see. I have plans to write posts here from the perspective of a dairy heifer calf once a favourite is born in February. Looking forward to that too. The next month is going to be busy but very exciting. I’ll have an exact date from the printers too later in the week regarding when I’ll have the book in my sticky paws. I will leave you with a draft of an illustration from the book (we are changing her skirt to a jeans) – I love this one.

Would You Marry A Farmer?

19 thoughts on “Letter to my 39 year old self

  1. Lovely honest, inspiring post! Need to take a leaf out of your book (pardon the pun) on some of your points; I am also beginning to wonder if we are all blogging to avoid cleaning out out those cupboards and washing the windows ;0)

    Love the illustration, can’t wait for the book. Wonderful achievement! x

    • I wrote that post earlier when I should have been writing my blurb and my preface 🙂 Thank you Naomi, yes, I’m sure my house was much cleaner before I started blogging too 😉

  2. Great post, Lorna, and really looking forward to the book; sure it will be a great success
    PS I spend Friday morning moving the girls’ summer clothes out of the hot press and replacing them with long sleeves and jeans … then I looked out the window, realised that it really was a day among days, so abandoned the chores and we headed to the fields with the small fat pony. Now that’s living!

    • You were right! I had promised my daughter for weeks I’d help her sort out her bedroom. She’s like me – likes re-arranging her furniture every so often and did it with her on Saturday as it really needed a clearout. She’s happy but it took 3 hours! The rain was battering against the windows so it felt relatively cosy and she was happy 😉

  3. The ebb and flow of life keeps us all on our toes. I’m glad you have reached a happy place in your life. I think unless you have been really unhappy you can never totally appreciate real happiness. My teenage years and early adulthood have left a mark I’ll never forget. I know what deep unhappiness feels like.
    As for my post I’m glad it made you remember and appreciate all you have achieved. Well done you. I too will “take the bull by the horn” someday soon! 🙂

    • Do 🙂 I know you will need some time – there’s a lot going on in your life at the moment and please God,it will all end well.

      It’s funny isn’t it – how unhappiness can make us appreciate being happy. I wouldn’t exactly say it makes it all worthwhile but then ….

      I hadn’t realised John Murray was off work due to depression – just shows how it can hit people suddenly too.

      I couldn’t find you on Linked In btw to add you to that group. Are you there?

      • Yikes not on Linked thought it was more for business. Will look into it, thanks so much.
        They say depression is the common cold of mental illness as it is so common. I know quite a few who have had it and most have made great recoveries, but they have told no one, which says it all really.
        As for what is going on in my life, today we had a little bit of progress in the right direction. A very small but significant step. 🙂

      • Yikes not on Linked thought it was more for business. Will look into it, thanks so much.
        They say depression is the common cold of mental illness as it is so common. I know quite a few who have had it and most have made great recoveries, but they have told no one, which says it all really.
        As for what is going on in my life, today we had a little bit of progress in the right direction. A very small but significant step. 🙂

  4. That’s a lovely post. My mum wanted 4 kids and had 2. These days it’s so complicated to have more than 2 having to buy a bus to move them round in and stuff! I thought I’d never have any kids at all and then McMini turned up, by emergency c section, on my 40th birthday. I totally get how wanting more can feel. I have no regrets but I will always wonder I’d I should have tried to have another but I’ve no regrets. I also absolutely get you about not giving a shit! Kind of liberating isn’t it? 🙂

    Good luck with the book. I can give you the details of a competitively priced editor if you need one.



    • We must be around the same age then MTM. Yep, secondary infertility is surprisingly common, lots have 2 kids with a ten year gap. We didn’t go for IUI or IVF etc just spent a small fortune on working on what was wrong – ironically, when we moved here, I was allergic to all the trees around the house and my eczmea was really bad for over a year until we hacked them down and sorted out the aftermath, my body basically attacked the foetus or there might have been something wrong with it anyway. No regrets either re not having kids earlier even though we were married for ten years and waited to have kids (I was doing other stuff). I might have horrible teenagers otherwise! 😉
      Cheers re the editor but have one. Nearly there!
      Yes, very liberating – love it.

  5. Great post! It’s good to make peace with life. I’m only one year behind you, and am also trying to finish an ebook and deal with 2 kids and everything else in life. I consider our old house the major source of all my frustrations, and have been getting ready to sell it. But, yesterday I had a great morning of work, with a warm fire in the hearth, and everyone is healthy and happy (or would be if the kids had less homework – Ha!) and I caught myself thinking the old house isn’t so bad after all. Finally most of my work is writing, and that’s a good place for me.

    • I get like that with our house too Rich – I love old houses and always lived in Victorian houses when in UK – we now life in a 1970s farmhouse with huge draughty windows. Lovely for looking at the view but have interlined curtains everywhere for the winter! Its saving grace are the stoves and open fires. Sometimes I will live in an old hour again. Glad to hear the writing is going well for you – it’s one thing to write but another to make money from it 🙂

  6. Lovely post, Lorna. And if you don’t mind me saying I also love the skirt, probably because I’d never dream of wearing one with my wellies! I think there’s something very “old school” about it. Really looking forward to the book! J.

    • Good to hear that June – maybe we will leave her with a skirt 🙂
      I replied to a comment on one of your posts on my phone but it didn’t seem to publish and I kept meaning to check – it was to thank you for doing the judging when you were cavorting across various countries 😉 Made me feel better too that someone else was suffering as we were struggling with spreadsheets – hope you are having a great time again – I am so behind with my blog reading!

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