In My Forties

I turned 50 recently. Crikey, even writing that phrase feels weird. I’m still 23 in my head.

Yep. I reached the half ton (if you’re a cricketer), the half century (if you’re an historian) and I can no longer deny that I am middle aged (if you’re an anthropologist).

So I have used this somewhat significant milestone to do a bit of an analysis of the previous decade.


I’ve just been through possibly the most life-altering time of my life since puberty.

In my forties… (in no particular order)

I had my nose pierced. (Since given up.)

I travelled with my husband and three boys to 15 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

I coloured my hair for the first time and proceeded to dye it a rainbow hue of various colours over the next ten years.

I went back to theatre and found lifelong friends.

Bearded Outlaw

The wickedest (and funniest) outlaws ever to appear in Two Gentlemen of Verona.

I found a new community singing group and a musical home and family in the process.

I took up running and ran in three half marathons and the Scotland Run in Central Park in New York City. And I got to train with Olympic marathon runner, Steve Moneghetti.

I began writing my own songs. (You can check out some on my Songs page.)

I completed two community projects with World Expeditions, building a bridge in Peru and a school in Nepal.

I bought and learned to play a banjo and ukulele.

I took up crochet for the first time since my mother taught me how when I was a kid.

I became a special education teacher, a job for which I was not previously qualified or experienced but that I found I was good at. And I love it with a passion.

I discovered I can draw. (There’s a whole gallery here.)

I broke six ribs and punctured a lung falling off a wooden box after trying to kill a tiny moth. (That story never gets old.)

I completed the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km challenge twice – in 2012 and 2014. And raised thousands of dollars for Oxfam in the process. (That’s what it’s really all about.)

I took up rowing and then dropped it again.

I lost my father to mesothelioma.

I learnt that I can sing. No, like, really sing.

I became a Great Aunt. (Not that I wasn’t already one but now it has capital letters.)


Joy and sadness. My late sister’s first grandchild.

I started a blog.


I’ve already started building a bucket list for the next decade because I know anything is possible.


Related posts about some of the things in this list that may be of interest:

(Re)Living The Italian Life

Living The Dream

Hope is a Beautiful Dream

When A Bad Day Turns Good

Getting a Grip 2: A Dose of Perspective in the Third World

It Takes A Village

Master of the Speaking Circuit

Move Over Etsy….

Is This The Real Life?

Delay In Service

A Popup Nomadic Community – Oxfam Trailwalker 2014

When A Night Owl Meets The Dawn

How To Get Better At It

My Dad Died Today

Saying Goodbye

Run Forrest, Run!

The Flying Beetroot: Scotland The Brave And The Fast

The Flying Beetroot: Crossing The Finish Line

(Plus any post starring the Flying Beetroot. Use the Search function.)

A Sister Lost – Remembering Keryn

Nothing ventured…




The Overachieving Underachiever


Are you an Underachiever or an Overachiever?

Is your answer based on hard evidence, the opinion of others or a personal view?

Have you always been an Underachiever / Overachiever or is this a more recent realisation?

I would say most people would admit to being Underachievers. Whether it’s feelings of modesty, our level of self-confidence or a fear of the Tall Poppy Syndrome if we stick our head up, most of us tend to downplay our abilities.


The self-confessed Overachiever is rare. But if you are one, feel free to confess in the comments below. You can balance out all the self-confessed Underachievers. All on your own. Because you’re an Overachiever, right?


I suppose you could be one of those truly rare breeds – the Normalachiever. One of those who believes they achieve just the right number of things at just the right level of attainment. If this is you, I give you my deepest admiration. Also, I hate you.

Not really.

Well, maybe just a little bit.

So which one are you?


Which one am I?

Ah. There’s another category for the Jacks of All Trades of the world. We are the Overachieving Underachievers.


Jacks of All Trades always see themselves as Underachievers. It’s in the name. Why else would we claim to be “Master of None”?

To the outsider, however, a Jack of All Trades appears as an Overachiever. “You mean you run half-marathons, write songs and can fix computers? What can’t you do??”

But a Jack of All Trades does all these things because she is looking for that one thing at which she might actually excel. That one thing she can achieve at the standard she expects of herself. And because a Jack of All Trades always views herself as an Underachiever, that standard – in her eyes, at least – is never attained.


And just so you really understand, here’s an example of how a Jack of All Trades’ mind might work:

Let’s say a Jack of All Trades completes a half-marathon. Unless she wins the half-marathon this is an underachievement. If she does win a half-marathon, this is still an underachievement because it isn’t a full marathon. If she goes on to win a full marathon, well, other people run ultra-marathons, don’t they? If she then wins an ultra-marathon (you realise this is all hypothetical, right? really, really hypothetical…), did she win it in the fastest time ever run? If she did, was it the hardest ultra-marathon you can do? And so on and so forth.

See? Overachieving Underachiever.

Now excuse me while I go and decide whether to take up the bagpipes or pole-vaulting…



All images courtesy of “Motivational products don’t work. But our Demotivator® products don’t work even better.” Click on any image to go to the website.




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