I turn 40 in November this year and the big question has been looming since the 1st of January – what do I do to mark this milestone? My life is supposed to really begin now, right? Do I shave my head and get another tattoo or do I head off to a retreat where I learn to EAT, PRAY, LOVE? Of course there will be an act of charity as I always do on significant birthdays but I needed to plan something to mark that liberation I’m supposed to feel!
And then the idea struck – well, it struck my mother-in-law actually. Why don’t I take a girls’ trip to Greece? It would take some thriftiness (cutting down on chocolate supplies) for a few months but hey, you only turn 40 once (I think).
She’d take care of my two kids and my hubby while I celebrated my big, fat Greek birthday. Imagine it, I could wake up when the sun rose, not at 3.30am like I do Monday to Friday, or 5am like I do on weekends to whispers in my ear the likes of “mom, I’m hungry, can we go downstairs?”. I could eat full cream Greek yoghurt with honey and nuts, or lamb falling off the bone without having to break up a fight or have to put my plate down to wipe a bottom. I called up my best friends who also turn 40 this year and asked if they were in. It was not to be - for various reasons - and while I grumbled I totally understood.
So, here I am headed to a lovely family “child-friendly” Mauritius resort with my family for a week. A message from the universe that liberation is highly overrated – reality bites! And then reality really struck; the reality of the world we live in. Just days after we paid our deposit, news broke of the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps. It emerged days later that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz crashed it deliberately and that he had a history of mental health issues.
Then came news that the tentacles of Islamic State militants appear to have stretched to South Africa.
The darkness began creeping into my mind. Do I really want to get on a plane right now? Still no sign of MH370 too? What if our pilot is having a bad day? What if he/she has had several bad days and nobody knows? Do Islamic State militants have Mauritius on their radar? I mean think about it…lots of foreigners equals lots of hostages!
My mind went even further back. Little Madeleine McCann who went missing while on holiday in Portugal in 2007, just days before her 4th birthday, taken from her bed and still no sign of her! My kids are fighters (well, with each other anyway) but do they stand a chance against a paedophile who may have deliberately applied for a job doing activities with kids on an island holiday resort? Breathe!!!! What happened to only worrying about whether I’ll have enough sunblock or will my children behave and not make us that family that everyone stares at during the buffet breakfast asking “are they still here?”
Am I crazy? Is my job finally getting to me? Am I making too much of this and turning what should be a wonderful, family celebration into a nightmare that exists only in my head – holding my own family hostage? Or are these the questions we need to legitimately ask ourselves in 2015?
Maybe shaving my head and getting another tattoo while eating a home cooked lamb shank is the way to go to celebrate the fact that I’ve made it to 40 (well almost…).