This is the first of a regular column by Sydney mum of two Ang Galloway.
Ang will be sharing stories about negotiating the murky waters of ageing and her plans to reboot and regroup after twenty years in domestic pit alley. She kicks off by sharing her plan for a Golden Gap Year (and why we should all be doing it)
In just under two years (650 sleeps to be exact), I will turn 50 and I have no clue what I’m going to do for the next half a century. I’m no longer married and my full time parenting days will soon be behind me. For the first time in forever, I am literally free to do whatever I want which is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure because the truth is that I have no idea what that looks like. I’ve been trying to convince myself that this is just another birthday … but who am I kidding? I’m going to be half a century old! That sounds more like the description of a sedimentary rock formation than an occasion worthy of celebration.
As luck would have it, my 50th year also happens to coincide with my first year as a part time parent. Both kids will officially be adults. Both will be finished school and (in theory) less needy of my full time attention. As far as opportunities go this is a ‘pigs with hens teeth flying past a blue moon’ once in a lifetime kind of opportunity and the perfect timing for my Golden Gap Year. My plan is to sell the family home, sell the car, channel my inner gypsy and take off (with a meticulously planned itinerary in hand to satisfy my very ‘un-gypsy’ like obsession with planning). I’ll encourage mates to join me for any parts of the trip that appeal, including a 50th birthday bash in the ‘big apple’.
I announced my plan to the kids last week. Both were surprisingly indifferent. One said “sounds like a mid life crisis to me” … the other said, “Haven’t the last 20 years been a gap year?” … Oh the feeling of pride that bubbled up in my bosom. Their shared lackadaisical attitude and distinct lack of empathy just served to reinforce my resolve to proceed. I’m going to eat, pray and love under the Tuscan sun while I’ve still got my health and a spring in my step. And if the reaction of my friends is anything to go by, I think I might be on to something.
If a generation of self absorbed, over indulged teenagers can justify needing a year to regroup and recover from the grind and drudgery of a few years of study (with a support crew tending to their every need), then …. HELLO PEOPLE … surely we can demonstrate a more a dire need for some time out. After twenty plus years of juggling parenting, partnering, careers and caring, surely we’ve earned our own rite of passage to reflect, reboot, re-energise and regroup in preparation for the start of our own new chapter. This Golden Gap year should totally become a ‘thing’ … a tradition that’s as deeply ingrained as the post school gap year. To be welcomed with high fives and hearty congrats …. not raised eyebrows and murmurings of mid life crisis.
The Carousel would like to thank our new lifestyle writer Ang Galloway who also has a popular blog, www.angiam.com.au