I couldn’t let the day pass without mentioning the fact that today, it is officially my fortieth birthday. I have complained about this day coming for long enough now, so thank you to those of you who were kind enough to listen. Both of you.
And now B-Day has arrived! This momentous, defining, monumental day and … I don’t feel any different. I’m a little disappointed to be honest. Where’s the fanfare announcing I’m (hopefully) halfway through my life?
Where’s the grey hair? The fine lines around my mouth? The one stray hair on my chin? Ah, they’re already here – because the last year has seen a gradual demise in most things physical. However, in many other wonderful ways, the build up to today has been a period of exciting challenges, highs and lows and a lot of really, really hard work! But I made it. And in one piece – woohoo!
My best friend met me for a birthday coffee this morning – no more clubbing at the weekend to celebrate for me (thankfully) – and she presented me with such a thoughtful present – a framed montage of photos of me through the ages. Whoa. The things I did to my hair!
We’ve known each other forever and (un)fortunately, this means she has a lot of evidence at her fingertips. Photos of me being her bridesmaid (and her being mine.) Post divorce clubbing with drag queen makeup. Sitting by the sunflowers in my Mum’s garden with her and my eldest son, when he was three. Us being very immature at someone’s very important dinner.
I think I got off lightly. It could have been much, much worse.
Each picture transported me back to that exact place and time. I could remember vividly doing a fake striptease on holiday at 16 (a whole other story!) and how very embarrassed I was throughout the whole thing. Mum’s friend was in the background of the photo of me at a barbecue when I was 16. And I remember when someone told me she had died. I remember posing with a vodka bottle thinking I was hilarious. Inside, I was very unhappy.
Today is bittersweet. It’s a milestone, yes, but I’ve had plenty of other meaningful milestones in my life so far. Dropping my baton in the 1981 Majorette Championships. Failing my driving test at 17 and crying hysterically in front of the examiner. Divorce. Death x 1. Birth x 2. Meeting my partner who loves me, no matter what. Starting Uni. Graduating – and being amazed I did so well. Beginning this blog.
Each one meant everything to me.
But turning 40 just reminds me that I coped through all of the above. Not only that, but I’m stronger for it. Cliched? Maybe. But I don’t care. Which is another great thing about turning 40 – not caring so much about what people think of you because you know that actually, you’re alright.
I don’t have a ‘perfect’ life. Who does? But, for the most part, I’m very happy with ‘my lot.’ Like everyone else, I face challenges most days – some of my own doing, some others ‘kindly’ put my way. But reaching 40 means understanding deep down that no matter what comes my way, I will manage. Somehow.
I look forward to celebrating with my Other Half when he gets home from work at the weekend – doing the things that now make me happy. Spending time as a family. Taking our youngest to the park then watching a DVD together. Cooking. Maybe I’ll even cut the grass! Rock and roll baby!
I’m 40 and proud! Today is a good day.