Turning 35

I’m convinced that at different parts of the year time moves more slowly or more quickly.

There is a pattern and at its centre are key life dates. For some it’s Christmas; they expectantly count the days down. Time moves faster the closer you get to the end of December. But as soon as the calendar has flipped past the 26th the days become endless and it seems we will never get back to cold and winter and snow. This is how it works for some, most often children. They look forward to treats and gifts and a long time off school.

For others there are national or religious holidays that are the highlight of a year. They bring things we all crave – time out from our usual days, more (or different) food and togetherness.

The key to all these events whether they be anniversaries or holiday, feasts of any kind is that they bring people together. Sure there is still loneliness but mostly they are a time of sharing.

One annual event isn’t. It stands alone, shining a bright beam or a dull glare on a sole person. Birthdays.

They are riddled with complications and expectations. I’m not sure what they bring to others but to me they bring stress and worry.

My first objection is with having to not out do every previous birthday but also to defy age and not show the lines, the greys or fatigue. Then there is the inevitable “What did you do for your birthday?” question that you get asked a million times.

I want to say “Oh for my birthday? Well not much… I climbed Kilimanjaro and took a short break at the very top to compose a haiku poem and then tweet it to all my followers while drinking a glass of Dom and eating palm hearts. You know… The usual”. Ok that’s a lie – that is not what I’d like to say.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some amazing birthdays. A lot have involved travel, many have been very decadent, one or two flipping amazing.

And even then I just really don’t want to share those private moments with everyone or anyone most of the time. I like to have my bf (and partner in crime) along for the ride but really must I tell everyone about it??

One of my closest friends Queenie does NOT do birthdays. She doesn’t celebrate ageing or the fact she’s gotten so far. Sometimes I think I might like that too but I never quite have the courage to do it.

Perhaps it’s not courage. I do enjoy birthdays in certain aspects. I like eating my own body weight in cake, drinking too much and receiving gifts.
And truth be told I have poor idea of whether I matter to people or not. Getting cards and nice wishes and words stands to remind me that over the last year I have been a good friend and that in general people are glad I’m in their lives. If I swore off birthdays I would miss that – however crappy that sounds.

This year I had a rolling birthday as the actual day fell mid week and inadvertently (we were there for a wedding reception) celebrated at the weekend by visiting the Big Smoke, ambling about, shopping and eating. The night before the Day i had a BBQ with my bff and bf (acronymtastic) and ate a ton of cake. The day itself I we played low key. Went to work, came home did some chores, had a nice meal out. Nothing inventive but none the less relaxing and happy.

The bf wasn’t sure if this constitutes a good birthday or not and is unconvinced by my explanation.

You see I loved it. There was no stress, nothing to organise, no flights, trains or plans. We followed our desires and just had a lively sunny relaxing time. This birthday (all 4 days of it) has made the top five.

I’m fallible and often let down by my memory so I can’t remember all my birthdays but I think one stands out for me always. It was my 16th birthday. Life at home was complicated and life in the country more so. My best friend took me to the middle of the countryside, to her uncles farm, where in a courtyard we sat up in the tall high branches of a cherry tree and ate our fill. We where there for hours, chatting and eating. Being young and silly and forgetting the troubles that lay outside. For a short space of time we got away and lived a Enid Blyton childhood, that neither of us had had.

So yes this year my birthday was FANTASTIC for me. I loved it and felt really loved, happy and relaxed.

I still didn’t want to relate the story or explain why I liked it.



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