The 34-year-old me

I looked in the mirror today and thought… ‘Huh, I’m actually starting to look my age’. It’s not just the lines on my face or the sprouting grey hair. It seems that my general appearance and body language is saying, ‘This is who I am, take it or leave it,’ and I can really tell I mean it.

The older I get the less I give a shit about what others think. Everyone’s so wrapped up in their own lives it’s ridiculous to think they even care. But it’s taken years to realise that I’m not the centre of the universe. I’m only as important to people as they are to me, and the world doesn’t owe me or anyone any favours. Make the best of what you have. It’s so simple and true, and for once I understand it.

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday, and as I wandered the cemetery this afternoon on another of Vancouver’s grey and drizzly days, I thought about how damn lucky I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. I’ve literally hit the jackpot with a sense of community and a stimulating job, and even though I feel like the most ordinary and uninspiring version of myself right now, I actually feel the happiest.

I spent many of my nomadic years craving a community. Longing for the ability to round up a group of people at the drop of a hat for dinner, a party, or to hang out with in someone’s lounge room on a lazy Sunday morning. So for my 34th birthday I decided my celebration of life would involve just that, bringing together 34 people for Sunday breakfast in one of the most casual settings possible: my kitchen and lounge room. Not all 34 could make it, but those who came are some of my favourite friends that span the past nine years of my life.

The Breakfast Club

It was the first time I’ve felt comfortable combining my different worlds, and I realised this afternoon it’s because I’m finally comfortable with who I am. I can be the same person around my 25-year-old friends as I am around my 35-year-old friends. I behave the same, I dress the same, and I have the same conversations, because I’ve fully embraced the 34-year-old me.

This may not sound like a big deal, but I used to feel like many different people: The Australian Rozanne, the Middle East Rozanne, the Canadian Rozanne, the PCT Rozanne, and the family Rozanne. My life seemed so incredibly different in all of these scenarios because I lacked my own setting. I was immersed in the culture of other people’s lives, living experience-to-experience, and fitting in with other’s routines and schedules in-between. I was a real-life serial nomad, and I’ve come to realise that existence lacks an important sense of belonging.

When I walked the Camino in 2014 in the wake of the PCT and four months of working in Abu Dhabi, I realised what I craved the most was a permanent address, full time friends, and a community of people who share the same interests.

For the past 1.5 years I’ve been building that life, and today I realised it’s slowly coming together. It’s probably one of my most satisfying achievements, because it’s grown so organically and because it’s not an easy thing to find.

So on the eve of yet another year on this planet, I’m so grateful for my friends and family, for those who still listen to me ramble on, and for each new line of wisdom that appears on my aging face. If I can feel this good every birthday, I’ll know I’m doing something right.

37 thoughts on “The 34-year-old me”

  1. That’s a lovely post with wise words. I’m 60 next year although I’m not feeling ‘old’ yet but your words do resonate. I do think though that our perceptions of ourselves and our confidence changes over time and if we reflect too much our solid ground can become shaky again. Hold onto this and let this take you through the good and bad. Happy birthday, Ros

  2. Hi Rozanne,

    Happy birthday!

    I’d love to share with you my 33rd year. Like you, I was a bit of a serial nomad although sponsored by a big multinational that paid my way around the world.I loved the experience of so many different cultures and people (but, gee, was I happy that every now and then I could visit your parents in HK to recharge and have somebody to look after me – thanks Eef!). But then, at the age of 33 I met this wonderful man (his version is that I just turned up in his kitchen one day) and things changed. I decided to quit my high-flying, highly stressful job and move to be in the same place as him. Whist there, I met the most gorgeous people who gave me a sense of belonging. And then…. I had to leave them behind. One more move, but this time not alone. Yes, that wonderful man is now my husband and father of my 2 kids. And I have lived in South Africa for nearly 8 years now! All I can do is look back and count the blessings that I could travel the world, fill my live with all the amazing experiences, meet the widest variety of interesting people, but in the end, find my own little spot (which I am still dying to share with you and your parents!!!!). So this is to you, and everyone that surrounds you (well and those lines that will only get worse, haha).

    Have a fabulous year ahead Zannie!

    Love,
    Wytske

    1. Great to hear from you Wytske and thanks for sharing your story!!! I can’t wait for the chance to come and visit you and your beautiful family! Sending you all my love! X

  3. Here’s a quote – from someone I can’t remember – “Life starts out with everyone clapping when you take a poo and it goes downhill from there”. Well besides being funny that has some germ of truth for a lot of people but not you. I wish you a happy birthday along with admiration for the thought you are putting into your life’s journey. I’ll say it again – make the most of the journey because the destination takes care of itself. Seems like a peaceful and happy destination or way point is in sight. Mark the direction and keep the way with people with a similar orientation and it will be a wonderful journey. Love you L1.

    1. Thank you Donna! So good to hear from you and all my love to you and Don. I look forward to reconnecting via email soon!

  4. Wow and Wee..

    Once again, your free traveling spirit has found some seriously wise words to share with us. Using the beautifully contemplative narrative we have each come to hope for and even expect from you…we “feel you Girl” !

    At age 55 I have come to embrace growing older. Maturing agrees with me. And like you, the wrinkles and grey hair are “earned”. Wait till YOU see 55
    👵

    On the subject of home and community…
    As a kid I moved around more than most. I attended 26 different schools by the time I finished high school. I love the “me” that learned to make friends quickly and to embrace change. But I always yearned for “HOME”.

    It seemed like a wish that was never to be MY truth.

    Until I found peace in the fact that it was never the brick and morter of a building that makes a place home. Community was not just the neighborhood around my block or who I worked with.

    For me, it was there all along. In my own heart. In who we choose to share our time with. To whom we open our hearts and give a piece of ourselves to. And to those we let inside our own bubble.

    What a wonderful revelation !

    And you know me, of course I wrote a song about just that. I was only in my early twenties when “Back Home” was born. I found solice singing this song on many lonely occassions since then. Coming away with warm fuzzy feelings when finished.

    In 1985ish… I was featured singing this song (while high in the Colorado Rockies) on a John Denver television special report !!That’s right…you heard me
    😎
    For the ending of the show, they even played one of Johns videos…but dubbed my song over his imagry ! SAY WHAT ?
    😁

    Anyway, I will atempt to remember the lyrics and share them here with you and your readers. I hope it touches “home”.

    Back Home
    By Lyndella

    I’M ON THE ROAD BACK HOME
    TO A PLACE I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN
    IF MY MIND WILL ONLY LET MY HEART SEE
    THEN BACK HOME IS WHERE I’LL BE

    NOT JUST THE PLACE I LIVE
    BUT THE SPACE IN WHICH I GIVE
    MY SOUL THE CHANCE TO ROAM AROUND
    BACK HOME IS WHERE I’M BOUND

    BACK HOME NO MEMORIES ARE FORGOTTEN
    BACK HOME DREAMS ARE NEVER DROPPED AND
    BACK HOME LIFE REGAINS IT’S PURPOSE
    BACK HOME IS IN EACH OF US

    I HAVE NEVER KNOWN AN ENDING
    THAT DIDN’T START WITH A BEGINNING
    AND I’VE STARTED TO LEARN WHAT LIFE’S ABOUT
    I’M GOING HOME WITH OUT A DOUBT.

    FOR MY SPIRIT IS YEARNING
    AND MY SOUL IT IS LEARNING
    THAT THE TRUTH IS DEEP WITH US ALL
    YOU’VE BEEN BACK HOME IF YOU RECALL

    BACK HOME NO MEMORIES ARE FORGOTTEN
    BACK HOME DREAMS ARE NEVER DROPPED AND
    BACK HOME LIFE REGAINS IT’S PURPOSE
    BACK HOME IS IN EACH OF US.

    With the upcoming holiday season quickly approaching, I hope each of us find those warm fuzzy feelings of harth and home wherever we find ourselves !

    And for the birthday girl…I wish you all the best. And trust you will embrace “home” whether you are calling yourself Muk Muk, Roz, Rozanne, Serial Nomad or simply “ME”.

    We love all of the “yous”

    Till next time
    From Alaska
    With tons of love
    Your friend
    Lyndella

    PS…way to rock the sunday brunch gathering !

    Talk about expanding your comfort zone…

    1. Wow and wee indeed!! I’m still digesting this comment!! Thank you for sharing your wise words and heart felt lyrics with us! Your songs span a variety of moods, thoughts and occasions!! 🙂 From one thinker to another, I always appreciate hearing from you!!! Enjoy the ramp up to the holiday season and keep the music coming! Muk

  5. Hi my darling, when you were born you had your arms stretched out so wide, like you were saying, “Here I am”. Now after 34 years you still have your arms stretched out wide so you can invite your friends into your world. In all those years with great experiences and challenges you took, you have learned so much. You never have to regret the chances you took because you took them. I am so pleased that you looked in the mirror and had a good look at yourself and came to the conclusion that. “You are who You are”, and that Life is so Simple and True. I am happy that people around you in those last years have similar thoughts and live styles then you have and to have them as your friends you can be very thankful, I surely am. So darling keep your arms stretched out so your friends feel that they belong to you and at the same time you feel that you belong to them. Life is great and enjoy it as much as you can.
    I am proud of you and love you heaps, Mutti xx

    1. Oh Mutti that is the best message I could have received!! You have known me from the first moment I breathed air into my lungs and since that day you have been nothing but loving and supportive! The way I have grown and perceive the world today is a product of your upbringing, and I can say without bias that you have been the single best mother anyone could ever wish for. If only there were more of you in this world! All my love and appreciation for 34 incredible years! X

  6. Happy 34th Birthday Muk Muk! Like Lyndella’s comment above I have come to learn to accept the signs of age as “earned”. I feel a bit more pain as a result of adventures where I push myself, but feel satisfaction in the fact that so far I have reached no limits at 58. Many of the lessons you have learned in your mere (sorry must say that…haha) 34 years I’m just now learning, and many I still hope to achieve. Keep exploring the limits of what life can be Rozanne. I continually find your musings on existence an inspiration.

    1. Gromit I always love to hear from you!! I will treasure the words you have shared with me over these years and the lessons we have learned together. You’ve been an active part of my journey and I’m so thankful for everything you’ve shared with us along the way!! May you continue to push the limits above and beyond!! 🙂

  7. Awww… starting to get gray in your hair….yep, you earned them in all the adventures!!! and just living is an adventure!!!…..I earned my white, curly hair….smiling….and my 82 years have been an incredible journey….and…I have taken so long to love who I am….only in the last 10 or so years have I actually been able to even understand who I am….and about 1 1/2 weeks ago, my husband of 60 years died….I am truly doing well…I knew 6 months ago that his time here on this beautiful planet was nearly over….I grieved for him and his friendship for those long painful months….I feel so glad he has escaped from the awful pain he went through…..So, now I am in another universe, or wrinkle in time…..it seems like a different dimension….and, really, I feel excited for the new adventure in life I am going to live…

    Hearing of your lovely new dimension of life makes me so happy, sweetie…..coming home….turning 34, wow….

    Happy Day of Your Birth, Muk Muk!!!….you are part of my heart….part of my community….And I am in joy, that I am in your heart and community….

    Love and Hugs to you, from your old friend in Northern California….Barbie

    1. Oh Barbie, from the stories you have shared with me and others about your husband and the journey you both shared together, I am truly sorry to hear about his passing. It sounds like you have moved into the next phase of your grieving and life, and I am so happy to hear you’re taking it on with such courage! You are one unique and special woman Barbie, and I’m so honoured to be able to share this part of life’s adventure with you. I hope your writing is going well and please know that I am thinking of you and sending you strength as you head down this new path. So much love, Muk

      1. Thanks, Suzanne!!! I love reading your story!~~~Your sharing with us and me makes me think about my own life….you are THE ONE!!!! Mucho love to you, Sweetie!~~~~~~~

  8. I so remember when I was finally at peace with myself. I don’t recall the age or a moment as I’m sure it was an evolution. You’ve always been wise beyond your years. I’m guessing I got there nearer 40. I love the freedom of being ME! Congrats, happy birthday and continue growing and loving life.

    1. So lovely to hear from you Jan!! I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing lately and you’ve certainly been in my thoughts! I hope you’ve had a wonderful year with many magical adventures along the way!

      1. OMG I’ve been full of adventure, with about 175 days on the road and/or trail this year. My blog is filled with my stories and as usual tons of photos of my jaunts. Of course the PCT played a role, with Whitney marked complete in early June and about 300 miles of Washington hiked this fall. I almost made a detour to Vancouver, but the car had plans of it’s own. Another time I’m sure.

  9. Oopsssss…..I see I called you Suzanne….Funny thing is that last night, I woke up and suddenly I realized that…..so, this morning I went straight to the computer to check if I really did that….well, I did it, for sure….again I say, oops….giggle…….Rozanne…..From your old friend, Barbie

  10. Hello Rozanne. Wonderful written, once again. It’s difficult to write down feelings, but you are really good in it! I am to late to wish you a happy birthday, but it is good to read you had a good one! Lots of love from Holland!

    1. So lovely to hear from you Huub!! I have been thinking about you guys as winter hits and the snow has begun to fall! Sending you all my love in the lead up to Christmas and the new year! X

  11. Hey Muk Muk! We share the same birthday, but after I did the math, you were born on my 21st birthday. Kind cool! I’ve enjoyed periodically checking in and following your journeys since we met. Always keep adventuring and playing!

    1. Hey Dave, great to hear from you and happy belated birthday! I’ll never forget bumping into you and enjoying a beer and a good chat as everyone else seemed to be hitching into town! Hope you’re doing well and have a wonderful 2017!! Muk 🙂

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