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By Jocie Ferron

A couple of days ago I turned 35 and it occurred to me, quite unexpectedly, that I am now in that next box in surveys!

You know, that 35-44 box. I am not sure why that thought popped into my head. Is there an underlying significance in going up into that next age bracket?

As an 18-year-old, I thought 35 sounded so old, and now that I am here I still feel like that 18-year old-girl, but with a lot more life experience. I am also convinced, now more than ever, that middle age must start closer to 60!

I am not sure if it is the thought of being in my mid 30s, or experiencing the daily joys and sadness of watching my kids growing older and more independent. Maybe it’s just the passing of the seasons that roll by in a way that seems to go faster every year, but lately I have become a lot more retrospective, or maybe philosophical is a better term.

I have been reflecting on the twists and turns that my life has taken, and the myriad moments that have changed the life path I thought that I had so clearly marked out in my head when I began university as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 17-year-old.

There was that defining moment when I finished nursing school and made the decision to apply to a hospital on the other side of the country...

The moment when I sent off the application to volunteer as a nurse in Mongolia...

That seemingly insignificant moment at the tender of age 23 when I met my future Canadian husband at the expat cricket match in Mongolia (India vs the rest of the world, and yes, India won) ...

... which has led to two beautiful kids, lots of places visited, and many moves (both international and domestic).

Then there are the friend moments.

One of the most memorable was celebrating my 30th birthday with my best friend by us both getting a tattoo.

Most recently it was spending a week with some great friends at the three-day Newport Folk Festival on Rhode Island, where we spent a wonderful summer week listening to excellent music, drinking wine on the beach and exploring new areas.

Friend moments also encompass the little things like those lazy Sunday brunches, the coffee breaks, the BBQs, the discussions, the laughter, the shared experiences, the indulging in maybe one too many sangrias on a sunny birthday afternoon!

Unfortunately, our life stories wouldn’t be complete without those sad/emotionally hard moments. For each of us, these moments come in many different shapes and sizes.

One of the things I have discovered since being involved in mining is that saying goodbye to friends and family is an unfortunate side effect in an industry that is constantly chopping and changing, booming and waning.

In the coming weeks I have to say goodbye to yet another friend who is off on another mining adventure. It’s not the first time we have had to say goodbye as we went through it when my husband was transferred away for two years, but it was so nice coming back to that familiar friendship.

To top it off, she is an Aussie as well. Now who will understand that you wear a jumper (and not a sweater), or that a baby wears a nappy (and not a diaper)?!

When I begin to get sad about her leaving, or about the friends/places I have had to leave behind as I have moved, I take time to remind myself of all the shared moments of friendship that have accumulated over our time together. I find it a comforting thought that even though we may never physically meet again, those friendship moments have now become intrinsically woven into my life story, as well as my friends.

"Life has many unpredictable moments, many paths and memorable times. So enjoy the surprises, explore new paths, and cherish the memories."  ~ unknown

More articles from the joyful Jocie Ferron:

Australian nurse Jocie Ferron was volunteering in Mongolia when she met her French-Canadian husband, who was working in the mining industry. After a few years living in Australia they decided to settle in Canada with their two young children. They enjoyed a few years in a north Quebec mining town (where Jocie had daily adventures navigating life in French) and they've now settled in New Brunswick.