Having stayed home to look after my children for many years, turning 40 catapulted me into a major midlife crisis. I thought I might go back to drawing and painting once more, having studied art at the University of Cape Town, and so I tried to enrol in art classes at our local TAFE. But the classes were full, so I looked around for something else to do. I’d always regretted leaving school before writing the HSC so I decided to enrol as a mature age student and give that a whirl instead. It was one of the best years of my life – but I made the mistake of telling the History teacher how I’d come to be in her class, and thereafter she used to joke that I only did the HSC cos I couldn’t get into macrame. (She was a lovely woman and an inspired teacher; we’re still friends.) But she was right: it was a complete chance that prompted me to enrol in that class, which in turn led me on to university which in turn inspired me to take my writing seriously. The author Diane Armstrong once said that if you leave yourself open to the universe, the universe conspires to help you. I suspect that, if I hadn’t found the HSC and gone on to do a Communications degree, I might have remained a closet scribbler for the rest of my life – and missed out on a writing career that has inspired, informed and challenged me for many years since then, as well as opening up a whole new world of knowledge, with introductions to some truly lovely people. The bottom line: it’s never too late to turn your life around!