Bono bad2

Bad – U2 (video link)

If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, you know I would
If I could I would
Let it go

Bono speaks to me. In song. He has for 25 years now.

I told a fellow blogger this the other day. I told them that Bono sang those words about her. I think he sang them for me too. For all of us.

Bono is the master of giving voice to the emotions we all feel. Through anthemic monstrous tunes our tiny inner feelings are amplified so that we feel a common humanity.

I used to be one of those fans that got all caught up in the music and lyrics. I used to collect rare records, posters and books. I used to go to as many concerts as I could.

Then life got in the way. I got all responsible. And they got all gargantuan.

Every so often I rewind myself  to 1989. Just me and the music. And every time I get washed away. They’re still a fierce storm.


I’m turning 40.

It’s a funny thing, these birthdays.

I attach so much importance to them. It’s the one day in the year where I have permission to celebrate ‘me’. And I want the people that are dear to me to celebrate me too. And because I place so much importance on it, it backfires.

Let it go.

I have a birthday crisis every year. Come the 1st of January I know there are about 3 and a half weeks to get myself worked up over my age, and to reflect back on my life with regrets. Am I really the person I want to be? Am I living the life I want to live?

There’s a sadness I’ve carried around like a heavy stone in my pocket. Some days I can’t even describe to you what it is. But it’s stayed with me for almost as long as Bono has been speaking to me. It’s held me back from so many things.

I took it out of my pocket the other day. Flung it as far as I could. Told it to go.

Let it go.



I’ve spent most of my 40 years being a nomad.

Wandering. Not just my feet.

I used to think I was lost. But now I know I was just homeless.


I’ve lived in 4 countries, 3 Australian states, 14 houses. Gone to 8 schools and had 8 jobs. Nine years ago I moved from Sydney to Melbourne. For love. I had no idea then how I’d feel now. How I still feel like I don’t belong.


Who am I?  Way down deep there, I know who I am. But I am multi-dimensional and multi-layered throughout my own history. There are fragments of my soul scattered in all corners of this planet.

I’ll probably never belong to a place. That’s okay. I will always will belong to the people who were nomads with me – my parents and my two sisters. And of course now I belong to Mr G and my two little ones. These seven people are my home.

Moses wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. Seems timely to shirk off  my wilderness funk too.

I’m 40. I’m on my way home.


So I’m pulling myself out of the birthday crisis pit.

Really. One day. I will. Get over myself.

Right now I have some friends who are in a far deeper pit. They are truly despairing. They truly want to belong. They are refugees. And they’re sitting just down the road from you and me. Locked up. I can’t imagine feeling as homeless as they do.

Right now there are people living in unthinkable poverty. I used to live next door to some of them when I was a child in East Java. You never forget the faces of beggars at your door.

Right now there are people being swallowed by their demons. Numbing their pain and staggering through the aching inches of each day. I can’t even imagine the depths of their pits.    

I’ve had a good 40 years.

Freedom. Opportunity. Love. I’ve had these.

Life is short, be kind.

Life is short, speak up for others.

Life is short, stand up for justice.

Life is short, help other people find their freedom.

Life is short. I know this. I really know this.

I didn’t even think I’d make it to 40. That long night in my hospital bed. Tubes poking out of my chest. Piercing pain in my gut. I saw my own funeral in the darkness that night. I heard the music. I begged it to stop. Not yet.

Eight years ago I got the best birthday present in the world.

A second chance. Fresh marrow.

Life is short.


This is a song about justice and mercy.

It’s called 40.  Not about me, not about my forty years. It’s my prayer for those who need a second chance, who need justice to be sung.

How long to sing this song?

I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined and heard my cry
He lift me up out of the pit
Out of the miry clay

I will sing, sing a new song
I will sing, sing a new song

Bono Surrender2




* Image credit 1
* Image credit 2


  1. Mary says

    Beautiful Deb. Beautiful words. Happy Birthday dear sis! So thankful for answered prayers and miracles. Very sweet to be celebrating your 40 years! Love you xx

  2. says

    Happy Birthday, beautiful Deb ! “Bad” is one of my all time favourite U2 songs.
    Join the 40 club, my friend. It ain’t so bad. In fact, it’s pretty awesome. And second chances, in all shapes and forms are indeed beautiful blessings. x

    • Deb says

      Thank you, Grace! It’s hard to pick a favourite from the U2 catalogue, isn’t it? Goodness, one fabulous song after another! Thanks for the welcome to the 40 club. You have 6 months more experience than I – so I will take your lead! x 😉

  3. says

    I don’t even know how to respond to this in a way that will do it justice. So poignant. So beautifully expressed. Here’s to you Deb: your birthday; your “home is wherever I’m with you nomadic existence of love; your deep and truthfully-lived-out compassion for others; your second chance. I can’t wait to see what glorious things you will do with the next 40 years.
    Naomi Bulger recently posted..Storytelling: the cameraMy Profile

  4. says

    I cannot more heartily agree with everything everyone has already written so succinctly above.

    You write SOOOOOO beautifully, Deb, so beautifully. And the songs you have chosen are great. I loved them.

    I do get the milestone birthday thing. I’ll be 44 this year (ugh!). I coped pretty well turning 40 since a lot of good things happened, like getting pregnant finally. But I did panic at 25 (of all birthdays!) and I know the next milestone is going to be very significant for me. I spent some time around my 40th reading my journal from 10 years before and realised some things had changed but others hadn’t. I determined, well I decided, I didn’t want to look back at 50 and see the same person. I know I am not but I am still carrying baggage I want to shed and I’ve 6 years to go.

    I think I always will have some baggage. I see it a bit like a metamorphosis, part of growth. We grow, we change, we grow, we change. We shed our skin time and time again in between.

    One of the most amazing things you obviously have now, apart from your beautiful family, is your life. I cannot imagine facing my mortality so young. I just can’t. That is life-changing. You must be so strong to have faced that and gotten through. Be proud of that achievement.

    And one of the things you have to feel positive about is that you are so self-aware and that means you can take steps to change. I know it also means beating oneself up at times, but that’s the part to try and push away quickly as you keep getting up and moving onwards and upwards. Celebrate. CELEBRATE!

    I told myself I need to learn to write more concisely but hey, I can try again next time! xx
    Veronica @ Mixed Gems recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – A Slice of JanuaryMy Profile

    • Deb says

      Veronica, I love your talent for analysis, and your attention to detail. I love that you understand the human spirit, and I love your self-awareness too. Thank you for your lovely comment. x

  5. says


    I’m rushing out the door right now … I’ll be back. Happy, happy 40th. Keep it warm for me man, I’ll be there in a few months.


    • Deb says

      Thank you, Eden! Truly – so pumped by your response. Come join the party – it’s not so bad over here on the other side! x


  1. […] birthdays. I wrote something for my daughter and my son on their birthdays. I even wrote something for myself a few weeks ago when I turned 40. And I even wrote something for Bono on his birthday. Yep. Somebody […]

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