Older? For sure,

Wiser? Perhaps not

But what a ride the past year has been! For the most part anyway. Last year this time I was celebrating one of my primes with my Mom in Vienna. This year, I rang in my birthday, aboard a train between Sydney and Melbourne, having treated myself to a night at the opera (at THE Sydney Opera house no less and watching, most incredibly ironically AIDA ) earlier in the week. Thanks to all the friends and family who have been sending me birthday wishes  (via email, Geni and other means) having been unable to reach me by phone due to my travels – I love you all and know you’re celebrating with me in spirit and heart.

Of course no year is without its losses and by far the biggest one this year was very soon after my last birthday, my dear friend and cousin-in-law Lalli. Grief is a very private thing and I’m not usually a fan of writing about mine, but having just received a birthday message from Raj (her husband) and the kids, I just felt I had to mention her. Her death was not only unwanted (but when is death ever wholly wanted?) and premature but also cruelly painful, and yet Lalli bore it with grace and fortitude that reached out even to those of us who never actually saw her after she fell ill. My own interpretation of a good afterlife lies in the memories that people have of you after you’re gone, and by that token Lalli has a long and beautiful afterlife, because there are many of us all over the world who still remember her with love and a sense of loss that she’s not there to share in the daily triumphs and tragedies with us.

Okay, back to the main topic of this post, me and marking the year gone by – well there have been the usual ups and downs. Triumphs in guise of papers and talks accepted, and the disappointments of jobs not gotten. But all in all the year has been a personal high, and hope for the future springs eternal