Another birthday is upon me and dear friends it is true that I am not as young as I’d like to be but not as old as I want to be. Yes, youth has gone but death should be many years off yet. My genes seem to indicate this, with a father in his 80s and 3 out of 4 grandparents making well into their 80s too. One dose of bowel cancer and a broken neck are cancelled out in this equation.
What have I learned this year?
Some birthdays are harder than others. None of the early ones were that inspiring, but 14 with Jeremy was lovely and 19 was completely memorable, falling as it did (like so many other birthdays between 17-23) at the end of the exams season. I didn’t find 21 that wonderful, too much expectation and therefore too much deflation. 23 was one of the best birthdays ever, shared with dearest ex-step mama; along with my erstwhile father we had a riot of an evening in a fab little restaurant in Hobart called Cooney’s – no longer there, methinks. Thirty was okay, Alice Springs Sheraton, two lovely kiddies, a second degree and my first year as Head of Department. But the early thirties were troublesome, not sure why now in the mists of time but recall several dinners in tears for no apparent reason. Forty was good, one of my best times, at home under the great house in Darwin, fairy lights in the palm trees around the pool, loads of punch and great friends. 50 was a struggle. Life should have been so much more together and calmer and why wasn’t I content?
So this year I am calm. Really calm, not just pretending. I know bits of life are still not where I want them to be, but whose life is ever under control? Liars and fools?
Shall I count my blessings?
1. I am still alive – now 10 years out of the cancer mines, so pretty well all clear. Bits of me hurt and don’t work as well as they should but my body is holding on – not as many signs of decrepitude as might have been.
2. I still have most of my teeth – one dentist trip in 31 years is quite something (yes, I ought to go back but fear still lives in the dentist’s reclining chair)
3. My skin is quite lovely really, soft and smooth. Indeed the odd nasty line does come and not go but overall my skin is pretty good. (See, years on the water in the sun does not make you a wrinkled old prune. I owe it all to L’Oreal.)
4. I remain married – my God, how I continuously wonder. But love takes many forms and changes and remains the same. It is good to be loved and accepted for who you are – yes, Bridget, just the way you are.
5. I have the best children on the planet. The boy-genuis, the girl wonder and the joy-bucket. How could anyone deny the wonder of the three best things on the planet.
6. I have great friends, at work, across the world – old and new. I love my friends and am thankful for FaceBook, in this regard.
7. I do actually have a job where I find joy and laughter (perhaps not always for the right reasons!) on many days. I love a child who believes me when I tell them my hair grew back pink after it fell out with the cancer.
8. I have things to look forward to, small things, like KFC and champagne and strawberries in the evening, holidays in France, Christmas with my family, finishing my PhD and being Dr Ms Pink, being part of my children’s life as they grow old and wise.
9. I enjoy and appreciate foolishness and I love the powers of laughter and joy.
I am slowing, I am tiring but I am not old, not done for yet. I still find the world absurd, and can smile more than I cry. I have years to go and much to do. Happy birthday to me. XX (Images from Private Collection and courtesy Google Images)