I can still remember one of my dad's favourite sayings, one which he must have coined when he himself turned 40 (I was 8 at the time) - "One should be shot at 40" (or, "mit 40 gehoert man erschossen"). It's his kind of humour, and what he meant was that it's all downhill from here. I don't feel like this at all, but there's no harm in looking back a bit, and maybe also in looking forward (I'll leave that for another post). What did I get up to in my first 40 years? Well, here are 40 things I've done or what has happened to me:
1. I've had two beautiful daughters (does that count as 2?)
2. I had a miscarriage
3. I ran a marathon
4. I got a PhD
5. I lived in Spain
6. I lived in Ireland (a few times)
7. I lived in England
8. I've lived in Scotland
9. But I grew up in Germany really
10. I travelled to Mexico, Iceland, Canada/ U.S. Pacific North West and Cuba
11. I travelled to many other places in Europe because I have a serious case of travellitis - there are only a few countries in Europe I haven't visited
12. I walked the fire (as in did a firewalk - over hot coals and all that, no not coals, it was wood really)
13. I climbed up the highest peak in the UK (Ben Nevis), been to the most north-western, south-western and the northernmost points of the UK
14. I was a teacher without being a teacher (i.e. I didn't have a teaching qualification at the time)
15. I'm a teacher but don't work as a teacher (now I have a couple of teaching qualification and don't use them)
16. As a child and teenager, I wanted to become a vet, then a photographer, then a journalist.
17. I worked as a free lance journalist when I was 17-21
18. I also worked as a cleaner in a hospital (which was hard work but also harrowing as I was assigned to the two stations where many people died)
19. I worked as a paper girl, shop assistant, checkout girl and tour guide
20. I used to do muay thai (Thai kickboxing) though never in a real fight (unlike hubby... and no, we didn't meet through kickboxing but much more sedately at a ceilidh!)
21. Previously, I worked as a bilingual secretary and legal secretary
22. I also taught German at a university and also for language schools and business customers
23. I'm really a teacher of English and Spanish though (just don't tell anyone)
24. I got married to my amazing and beloved Mr Cartside, who proposed to me on top of the Nebelhorn (and that was after I'd already given up all hope I'd ever meet Mr Right)
25. I was at my mother's death bed (although I lived in Scotland at the time) and still regret every day that she didn't live long enough to meet my children, her grandchildren she had so very much longed for.
26. My favourite subject at school - apart from languages - was chemistry
27. I got my only "6" ever in chemistry (a 6 is the worst possible mark in a school test/exam, as bad as handing in a blank sheet of paper. I had handed in 10 pages of hard work)
28. My least favourite subject at school was PE (I'm the girl who got picked last every single time - did I say I ran a marathon? Ha!), and the last to learn how to swim in my class.
29. I saw my niece being born
30. I lost one third of my body weight and went from obese to normal weight
31. I've lived at 4 different addresses since coming to Scotland, all within 2 miles of one another (I won't count all the addresses I lived at because I don't think I can)
32. My parents had an allotment when I was young and I had one a few years back here in Scotland
33. My mother taught me to knit and my father how to embroider and sew. My mum was a better teacher than my dad... (and I mean that in the kindest sense, my dad is an avid sewer but just not patient in passing his skills on)
34. I've met Bob Geldof (and was rather embarrassed by the experiences, though he was really quite friendly)
35. I taught a member of Westlife German. Not very successfully. That was before Westlife existed.
36. The first gig I went to (the first of maaany, there's nothing like live music) was Nik Kershaw. I still like his music. Well, sometimes.
37. I used to be mad about learning languages. I learned English, Spanish, French, Irish Gaelic, Latin, Dutch, Italian, Catalan, Russian (in the order of the rough level of proficiency I have now, although proficiency is definitely not the right word for most of them!!!)
38. I learned to play the recorder, the guitar and the tin whistle. I play none of them well.
39. I used to sing in a choir (alto) - the perfect way to sing when you're not a great singer
40. I've been to Auschwitz and it left a lasting impression on me, and made me join and be a founding member of a local group of Amnesty International at 17. And I'm still a member and a volunteer trainer/facilitator with AI, even though I'm a fair bit less active due to lack of time.
And now I'm off to unwrap presents, eat birthday cake, and of course party!
(and if anyone else has a birthday, please consider yourself tagged to come up with x number of facts about you, and tell me about it!)