Saturday, October 27, 2012

I May Not Be Karen Blixen, But...

The book Out of Africa by Karen Blixen begins with the line, "I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills." If I wrote a book, it would begin with the line, "I turned 40 in Africa, at the foot of the Magaliesberg Range."

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday. I never imagined turning 40; it sounded so old! I also never imagined that I would live in Africa. But here I am - on both accounts - and I can honestly say that while the thought of turning 40 doesn't please me too terribly much, if I have to turn 40 there's no place I'd rather be than here in South Africa.

The emphasis on relationships over tasks or possessions, the sound of the birds in the morning before the sun rises, the inconvenience of strikes that halt public services for weeks at a time, the bougainvillea vines, the potholes, the summer thunderstorms, the too-many funerals, the beautiful singing... It is a package deal. I must take the good with the bad, emphasize the good and learn to make peace with the not-so-good.

It's the same with turning 40: looking older than I feel, knowing who I am and where I'm going, no longer being able to compete with 18-year-olds, having a bit more wisdom and experience, the joys of watching children grow up, still acting like a kid with my husband, feeling confident and free... It's a package deal. I must take the good with the bad.

I turned 40 in Africa, at the foot of the Magaliesberg Range, and I am blessed beyond imagination.


Elisabeth said...

This rocks!
I'm ever so glad you are who you are, where you are, doing what you do. I'm thankful you feel blessed to be in this position, because whether you do or not, it's an incredible example, learning experience, and reality check for me every day to watch your life. And I'M thankful for THAT!

Storm in a Teacup said...

Lovely, thank you.(37 years in Pretoria and many more in Africa :D )

Chessalee said...

HAPPY HAPPY [belated] birthday!! You turn 40 in the best country of the world - and the foot of Magalies! Wow... If you're lucky to be there when you turn 50, make sure it's at the foot of the Drakensberg mountains. :)

Anna said...

Thank you! I think I turned 40 in the best country as well! I would LOVE to turn 50 at the foot of the Drakensberg! How stunning and beautiful and dramatic and breathtaking (asemrowend)!

Wish you could visit SA soon!