In 50 minutes, it will be my birthday. Again. I’m teetering around on the top of the hill, just waiting for the chance to slide another year toward the finish line.
As you may have gathered, I’m not particularly cheerful about birthdays. I don’t necessarily fret about them, but I don’t embrace them with open arms either. It’s not a Big One this year. But the Big Ones don’t bother me. Generally, I can take an impartial look at them and be reasonably happy with the way life is going at that point.
Nope, it’s the ones either side of the Big Ones that seem to cause the most trouble. Take 29, for instance. There was some serious angst around that one. Mostly because I was in a great job with a terrible boss and was experiencing some, er, dissatisfaction with that dichotomy.
As a rule, my birthdays aren’t particularly memorable (those acquainted with this blog will know that this is because my memory has holes in it). My 21st is memorable because I spent half of it in a phone box (before mobiles, people…), crying over some boy who was not worth it.
My 30th was a huge affair in a dingy pub in the middle of The Big Smoke. A Sparkle party, with lots of people, lots of drinks, and a DJ in an orange shirt playing lots of ABBA. What can I say? I know how to attract the right crowd.
My 12th birthday was memorable too. Mostly because I was wearing knickerbockers (thank you Princess Diana). Khaki-green velvet knickerbockers with shiny gold buttons at the knee, worked back with a khaki-green, tiny-checked shirt. My memory fails at the shoes, but I remember owning a pair of gold flats at some point and it makes sense that this would have been the era. I went to Pizza Hut in my Princess-inspired finery.
When I was eight or nine, we lived in Alice Springs. Molly Malone, an American girl whose father had something to do with the secret US bases out there, came to my sleepover birthday party. That girl could put away a lot of pizza. Somewhere in our vast home-movie collection there is footage of her pretending to eat icecream. There is probably footage of me blowing out the candles or something, but I remember her, eating invisible icecream.
My 17th birthday involved pizza (are you sensing a theme here?) and Nutrimetics. The party plan saleslady told me, very seriously, never to line my top lashes. It would make me look mean-eyed and squinty. I took this advice very seriously, until my friend A (who has the same name as me and has earned the right to be brutal through sheer longevity) told me that I looked as though I’d put my make-up on upside down.
Which brings me to tomorrow. A Monday. A Monday after a wonderful weekend with my boys and some good friends. I'm in a good place. And this birthday, on a Monday, this birthday is a continuation and a new beginning. This could be the year it all happens. What? I’m not sure. But, you know, ‘it’.
And if it doesn’t? Well, there’s always pizza.