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It’s the day before my 41st birthday. I always get reflective at this time of year; I suppose it’s only natural, right? It’s good to take stock from time to time and celebrating another trip around the sun is as good a time as any.

It’s easy to get into a weird spiral of imagining who I might be in a parallel universe, what the lives of the Rebeccas in alternative timelines might be up to. One Rebecca started a theatre company straight out of university and forged a luminous career in the performing arts. One Rebecca got married at 24 and had three kids, the eldest of whom has just got their driver’s licence and oh my goodness how terrifying that is; they’ve always lived in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs and are terribly happy. One Rebecca favours the extroverted part of her personality, has boundless energy and decided to never live in the same city for longer than a year; she has spent her life travelling the world, working odd jobs and meeting people in strange places. One Rebecca had a car accident in her early 30s that left her paralysed from the waist down. One Rebecca had a string of torrid love affairs where she was pursued ardently by men who would give up everything for her; she’s been married a number of times and really enjoys a good wedding but can’t quite manage the marriage. One Rebecca became a celebrated novelist who speaks at writers’ festivals and has massively long signing lines and a great relationship with her fans. One Rebecca married a man who seemed to love her but didn’t really and they live lives of cold indifference in a very large, modernist house with lots of polished surfaces and enough space that they rarely have to see each other.

But none of those Rebeccas are me.

Looking at my life through the lens of gratitude, as I am wont to do, I see so much to be grateful for and not a lot to be wistful about. My life could have gone in any number of directions, but it has gone in this direction. I have met these people, I have had these experiences, I have lived this life, and it’s a good one.

This Rebecca has built her own graphic design company and massage clinic. This Rebecca makes music in public every week. This Rebecca loves and is loved. This Rebecca has a soft heart and a curious mind. This Rebecca can sort out the plumbing, build furniture, keep chickens and cook meals. This Rebecca is willing to give almost anything a go. This Rebecca is beholden to no man. This Rebecca doesn’t have to manage the lives of young children when she is dealing with depression. This Rebecca can sew and paint and crochet and sing (Mr Bingley would be impressed). This Rebecca lives in an absolutely beautiful part of the world, with clean air and water, relative peace and security, and surrounded by gorgeous scenery. This Rebecca has a house that is a home, that people feel comfortable coming to. This Rebecca has moments of fear, but it doesn’t paralyse her. This Rebecca is a rescued child of God and tries to live her life in the light of that.

I like being this Rebecca.