On turning 40 and not being Enid Blyton

Recently (ish), I turned 40. Sometimes I still catch myself wondering when it became possible I became middle aged? Oh – and when does ‘middle age’ official begin these days? What with everyone now chattering on about how 40 is the new 30 or 50 is the new 40, or something to that effect – I tend to get confused (though that could just be imminent old age speaking).

Inside, the part of me not struggling with illness still feels the same as I did when I turned 21. Carefree, young at heart, delighted with her world and all the potential within it. The outside, and the life I ended up getting, don’t necessarily match that feeling, but there you go. A triumph of day dreaming over experience and reality. I’m good at that.

I have ended up an author, however, which was always the ultimate dream, so that helps!

But, and here’s the little kicker, I am only just (now at this advanced age) starting to really comprehend the truth of the saying ‘live the life you have been given and don’t compare yourself with others’. How is this now coming home to me so clearly? Well, as I mentioned, I turned 40 the other day and suddenly realised that tragically, I’ll never be Enid Blyton.

Reading up about this super children’s author online, I discovered it is believed at one stage, she published up to 50 books a year! What with hundreds of books to her name, articles in papers and magazines and short stories, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in her head. A whirlwind of creation and thought. Did she ever sleep, I ask myself?

I still have some of her books in my library. Possibly because I’m still a child at heart, but mainly, I think, because I’ve only ever given a handful of books away in my life and only one of those I didn’t regret immediately. Books are, to me, a life long commitment and giving them away – or throwing them out as one person I knew did – just isn’t possible, it’d be like throwing out a part of me, a slice of my soul or something equally as dramatic but not as life threatening.

I can’t compare my life and how much I write to this amazingly prolific author or I think I’ll simply go mad. I am, all things equal and barring anything tragic happening like falling off a ladder, half way through my life. Half way through! And by no stretch of my overactive imagination am I even close to writing or publishing 50 books in a year. Maybe in a lifetime, but not in a year. (If I’m revoltingly honest, I’m not even close to writing 10 books a year).

Sadly, my rate of writing waxes and wanes, and I doubt somehow it’s going to increase as I slip into the other side of 40 and toddle off down the road into middle age.

So, the idea is not to compare output with anyone, especially the magically talented Ms Blyton – but to enjoy where I am and write what I write, and love what I do, and hope that others do to.

I can only be me, in the end.


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