YESTERDAY I meh-lebrated what felt like my one hundred and twenty third birthday. When I say meh-lebrated, I mean woke up, grumped, and snarled at the few people who dared whisper 'Happy Birthday' to me either on the phone or in person during my brief guest appearance in the workplace. I then came home and felt sorry for myself as I grew another wrinkle, and nursed my now just-about-annual fractured wrist.
This sadfest continued until a certain fabulous, irrepressible woman, a fellow devotee of the world-famous, traditional, authentic and official champagne cure, rolled through the door with cake, presents, and said bubbles. It's amazing how quickly one feels better about being older than dirt when being made a fuss of, especially if the fuss involves delicious mid-afternoon fizz.
I really do believe, nowadays, as I head towards the Big (dear God) Five-Oh, that birthdays should be less celebrated than mildly tolerated. To this end, I have cunningly organised the Man Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant's and myself's wedding anniversary to fall on the very next day - that is, today. This means my horrible, horrible day of cobweb-collecting is overshadowed by unicorns, rainbows, and far more generally smoochy thoughts than those surrounding a rapidly ageing, even more rapidly drinking snarky birthday gi- old bag.
It's to be hoped a wedding anniversary is a time for loving, reflective remembering, at least. It may, of course, be the case that TMWVRDT is in fact in the other room right now with his handy-dandy Kato Voodoo Doll kit. But I'd like to err on the side of optimism, and believe he's thinking happy thoughts, casting his mind back with fondness to that not-so shy, semi-blushing bride striding down the aisle towards him before he could run for cover.
Good times, good times.
I joke, but sometimes I am not sure he knew exactly what he was taking on. For that, I sincerely apologise, and probably will continue to do so until we are creaky old bones.
...Here, and now, love is, as they say, a doing word. It doesn't - or to me, it shouldn't - stand still.
I believe that love, to succeed, needs to be malleable. Stretchy. It needs to be able to breathe.
I remember writing the day before we married about finding the missing piece of my personal jigsaw puzzle. To me, a few years down the track, the wonderful realisation is this; I did find it. And, that missing piece and I, on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, turn all the pieces of our personal puzzle face down - and start again.
This time, though, it's together. Sometimes we attempt to work on separate parts of the picture, and, as a result, end up jamming the wrong pieces together out of impatience and lack of understanding. But mostly we are creating new pictures, new journeys, to best fit the two of us.
You might say that love doesn't need a do-over. That the puzzle should be finished as soon as you find that last missing piece.
Maybe, in a perfect world. But here, and now, love is, as they say, a doing word. It isn't static. It doesn't - or to me, it shouldn't - stand still. It, love, being loved, giving love, being within the borders and boundaries of a relationship, is an evolution. I believe that love - not just romantic love, but any deep, real love - to succeed, needs to be malleable. Stretchy. It needs to be able to breathe.
It needs to be able to listen, and to hear.
It has to want all of these things, too.
I can't pinpoint the moment I went head over unicorn for The Man. I was well and truly, just like Darcy, in the middle before my brain caught up with my heart. But I do know that old baggery, broken wrist and all, I am fortunate to enjoy a living, breathing love, with a time lord prepared to pick up - and turn over - all the pieces of our life, both good and bad.
And, on many an occasion, who is willing and able to solve the puzzle that is me -
- before I knew I even needed solving.