I have not seen the Aurora Borealis.
I have not been to Prague.
I have not been in a helicopter.
I have not seen New England in the fall.
I have not earned masses of money.
I have not saved the world.
I have not rafted down the Grand Canyon.
I have not been a great sportswoman.
I have not written a book.
I have not swum at the Great Barrier Reef.
I have not mastered the art of making good shortbread.
I have not been to Disney anything.
I have not been invincible.
I have not performed on a West End stage.
I have not sauntered down a catwalk.
I have not read Harry Potter.
I have not become a famous artist.
I have not owned my dream home.
I have not learned to ski.
I have not managed to look elegant and chic.
I have not got manicured nails or perfect hair.
I have not sailed in the Bahamas or Norwegian fjords.
I have not learned how to fight for myself.
I have not experienced, been to, learned, seen or done a great many things in my life.
I have cradled the 3 babies I gave birth to, loved and raised.
I have waved goodbye to so many people I love.
I have watched my husband die.
I have sewn love into the quilts I have made.
I have poured my heart into words I have written.
I have learned new skills along the way.
I have watched hundreds of rugby, soccer, hockey, cricket, tennis matches.
I have been to galas, plays, ballet and musical performances.
I have taxi-ed my children all over the place.
I have made friends.
I have had choices, and have made them myself.
I have learned how to teach.
I have laughed a great deal.
I have talked even more.
I have listened.
I have tried my best.
I have been burgled.
I have walked in the mountains I love.
I have bandaged scraped knees.
I have sat and watched the rhythm of the ocean.
I have crossed the world a few times.
I have sat at hospital bedsides.
I have failed at things.
I have watched my son marry the woman he loves.
I have made many mistakes.
I have sung at the top of my voice.
I have made a fool of myself.
I have sailed in a gondola, and on huge container ships.
I have fought battles for those I love.
I have watched the African sun rise over the mountains.
I have read thousands of books.
I have been on a roller coaster.
I have run out of patience.
I have created amazing birthday cakes.
I have held my beautiful grandchild.
I have made this house into a home.
I have watched my children graduate from university.
I have wept when nobody sees.
I have grown lines on my face from passing years, laughter, worry, anger, joy and pain.
I have expanded, contracted and expanded yet again over the years.
I have prayed more prayers than I knew were possible.
I have driven millions of miles.
I have tobogganed down an alp.
I have grown vegetables and flowers and weeds.
I have been hurt, both physically and emotionally.
I have made plans, had dreams and re-arranged the lot.
I have experienced, been to, learned, seen and done a great many things in my life.
It is quite clear that I am not a Barbie doll. I am human. I prefer to be human. The "haves" are not all great. And the "have nots" are not important.
Oh - and as of yesterday, and that final school meeting........
I have been dismissed.