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Rachel Murphy
April 11, 2018

Friends that are like family, family that are like friends

I’ve been planning a big get together in Marrakech with friends and family for years, knowing that was what I really fancied doing for my 40th. I knew I wanted the party in the sun (standard) and getting as many people as possible under one roof for a big party. In hindsight, perhaps not the smartest location with my sexual preference, but our dramas centred around some dodgy dealings in the Souk rather than the team I batted for.

In typical Rach fashion, I outsourced the venue sourcing to someone else who is better with detail (could have been anyone frankly) but my Mum did the honours and found us a cracker of a venue with Riad Hikaya. I would HIGHLY recommend this gaff to anyone, tasty, awesome service, attention to detail, plunge pool, hot tub, Hamman and 8 bedrooms…awesome!

I did manage to get my priorities sorted and organise the munch for the party and entertainment, predictably a belly dancer, henna tattoos and a Moroccan band (perhaps the least said about them the better, being diplomatic, ‘Authentic’ sums them up best!). My girlfriend organised some great decorations, balloons and a fabulous cake which was a total stunner, flying the gay flag once again.

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I’m incredibly lucky I still have both parents alive and kicking and pretty much up for any old random idea I dream up. My brothers, their wives/girlfriends and kids all came along which was just fabulous, some awesome fun having all that young energy floating around! I did miss having my step-daughters and their kids along though. It felt amazing having my girlfriend and her lad CJ, lots of mates and my business partner Steve making up the rest of the motley crew!

My dad rustling up a cracking speech, ignoring the 5-minute rule as expected, he really is one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. I always want to be that confident when I’m public speaking, to be honest, I didn’t do a bad job when I got up there and returned the favour. I’m sure he got more laughs, mainly talking about me chucking a bucket of pee over some nuns on a campsite when I was little — things haven’t really changed that much!

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Everyone kept asking ‘How do I feel turning 40?’, to be honest not a great deal different. It’s been more of a gradual change with me. I look back on the last 40 years, what I have done and smile. I haven’t turned down many experiences or opportunities, it’s fair to say I’ve had a couple of decades of excess and partying hard. The fun-loving adventurer is still very much in me as I am still impulsive and fearless. I always want to try lots of things, for me it is all about experiences, pushing myself and never settling for anything less than really giving my all whether this is work, relationships or friendships.

Personally, my biggest achievement over the last 40 years is in accepting me and who I really am. Acceptance still remains a daily struggle, I have a very fast head and I think a lot, I find it hard to stay present a lot of the time but equally I don’t want to wish time away. Time seems to be moving a whole lot faster now than it did a decade ago as it is! One of the best gifts I’ve given me over the last few years is learning yoga and meditation. The Art of Living programme last year really was a godsend and remains part of my daily activity. Finding 30 minutes to meditate every day is creating a calmer and more considered self.

Externally, I’ve had a lot of success with work, some truly big jobs. I was desperate to get my first Director role, then my first board role, then my first CIO role; lots of it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and lots of it I utterly loved! I’m now realising a lifelong ambition in running my own company, Difrent with Steve. The highs and lows of a startup are hard for my personality to handle but I feel freer than I have ever felt, growing a permanent team I just adore, for me Difrent has got a good vibe about it. My 5-year plan for the company is aggressive growth, growing the right culture and then looking at selling parts of the business off and buying a business style retreat in Baleriacs, blending together work, play, yoga, training, meditation and business strategy, who knows what life has planned for me though!

I’d said to everyone not to go buying me fancy pressies, I’ve had everything I need for a long time now. It’s all about time and experiences and good to my request they rustled up some corkers; a skydive from my youngest bro later in the year and Dune buggying in Marrakech from my other bro.

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For my 40th year I’ve kicked off some exciting stuff:

  • Buying a VW Camper Van which very much symbolises freedom, getting away on the weekends, disconnecting, having fun and chilling out with my girlfriend!
  • Kickboxing instruction starts on the 16th April
  • Abseiling off of the Imperial hospital in May for the Respiratory Ward at Charing Cross (feel free to sponsor)
  • Taking my Mum on the meditation journey with joining her on the Art of Living course for her birthday in June
  • The Ride 100 in July (raising moolah for Centrepoint, feel free to sponsor) — christ I need to get training!

I have no idea what will happen for me in the next decade, but for right now, it’s all about staying in the present and enjoying the moment! Happy 40th, it seems happens to the best and worst of us.

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