Today is my 44th birthday. As stated by the woman I dearly wish I could have had the opportunity to drink under the table at the Algonquin, Ms Dorothy Parker herself:
“Time doth flit; oh shit.”
Birthdays are supposedly a time of celebration, of saying 'yay' to the year just past, and 'huzzah' to the year yet to come.
I say bollocks to this.
You may, quite fairly, say this is because I am turning 44. Not so, say I; as mentioned in conversation to someone earlier today, I am in fact making this a reannual birthday. To explain this to those who are not fans of the late, great, very much lamented Sir Terry Pratchett, (aka heathens), reannual wines are made from special grapes which give you the hangover in advance, allowing you a SPECTACULAR night out with the after effects being - well, before effects. So the morning after is in fact the morning before.
Fine. Put it this way.
I'm reversing my age. So instead of turning 44, I am having a reannual birthday, and am thus going backwards in time...
... to 42.
Which, as we all know, is the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.**
This has strayed from my original point, as is usual with one of my posts, but that's OK, because I write this thing, which means I can crap on if I want to.
So. I am 42 today. And whilst I am celebrating mildly, I am also fully aware that the last year has not been one of the ones I would want to put down as a big fat yay in the Annals of Kato The Greato.
I was not physically well (qu'elle surprise, exclaim the crowds busily knitting at the foot of Madame Guillotine).
But more than that, I was not well in my soul. This is a very different kettle of Freudian fish, and one I don't address lightly. It will take a lot more than this post to look at what happened inside my psyche, and I don't intend to do it publicly, because I actually don't think it's particularly interesting past the punchline of 'I was not well in my soul'. Nor is it anyone's business but mine, and perhaps HBO if SkarsGod is free to play the Man Who DOESN'T Vaguely Resemble DT (hey, they'll have to make it more interesting somehow).
I do know I had the great, gobsmackingly good fortune to marry the other half of my heart, and this is the one wondrous thing I do not take for granted. But other than that - 43 should really take a hike for the most part, with my wee little brain keeping only the lessons I learned somewhere in its limited intellectual capacity, and the rest buggering off.
Sound a bit dismal and non-fizzy for a girl who loves shoes, champagne, rugby and books on her FORTY SECOND (remember this, people) birthday?
But it's my birthday, and I'll chastise myself if I want to.
To anyone celebrating a birthday today, or anytime soon, I have some things to say to you, imbued with my heartfelt love, appreciation, gratitude, and infinite wonder at the people who continue to love me, not least of all the Man Who Vaguely Resembles David Tennant.
They are not rules. They are certainly not commandments (the thought of me as a religious figure beggars belief, pardon the pun). They are just things I have learned along the way to being 42, when of course I have the answers to life, the universe, and everything. So pay attention, kidlets.
- You cannot change who you are. You are you. So don't try. Just be the best you you can be. Celebrate your amazingness. Stop trying to be all things to all people. They will either like you or they won't. That is their choice, not yours. And the more you try to change their minds, the less you become you. So just... stop.
- Look in the mirror every morning. Really LOOK. Look at what you have been given. You are a gift to yourself. You really are. I say this as someone whose body is trying to kill her on an almost daily basis, and I still say it. LOOK. LOVE. BE PROUD OF THE GIFT OF BODY, SPIRIT AND INTELLECT YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN. YOU ARE UNIQUE. YOU ARE AMAZING. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.
- Don't fight what you were born to be.
- Don't fight who you were born to be.
- Don't fight who you were born to love.
- Don't fight. Full stop.
- Be kind to your pets. They'll put a pillow over your head when you're not watching if you don't. This is no lie.
- Don't try to help everyone. You can't, and what happens is this - you do a half-arsed job at lots of helping, and end up pissing lots of people off. Pick a project, or two, and commit. This is a hard-learned personal lesson.
- Love your parents, if you are lucky enough to have parents, and even luckier to have parents who love you. They do not last forever. Give them public and private respect. Show them you love them. Give them the knowledge of your love. Do not treat them as a holiday house with unlimited food and drinks.
- Don't tell people you're busy when you're not. Tell them the truth. You're tired, you've got your ugg boots on and you want to sit in front of netflix watching crap. Except if it's me. Then I expect you to drop everything.
- Drink champagne whenever possible. Failing that, a good Islay single malt. If you put ice in the latter, I will find you, and number 6 in this list becomes redundant.
- Have fun. Life is a shitty pile of horrors in a world full of Donald Trump, Wikidweebs, war, killing and more war. Tell your friends they are brilliant and go out and have a fantabulous time with them as often as you can. (see point 10 for exceptions to this: The Non-Busy Clause).
- And finally... if you love someone, tell them. Risk your heart. Risk your safe little life. Risk embarrassment. Risk it not working. Risk whatever. Take a chance. Take EVERY CHANCE YOU ARE GIVEN. Because the minute you hesitate? They are gone. And you are you, without them.
We only get one life.
And at 44 - I mean, 42 - years through mine, I am only just getting an inkling of how to look through a glass darkly and see my way to wisdom.
I leave you with a glass of champagne in my hand (naturally), and a final few words from the inestimable Ms Parker, because I simply don't have anywhere near the talent she does, and because - just because.
When I was young and bold and strong,
The right was right, the wrong was wrong.
With plume on high and flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
But now I’m old - and good and bad,
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and say the world is so,
And wise is she who lets it go.
Today - I say this is the world, I am me in my oldness, my goodness AND my badness - and all my crazy plaid.
And I let it, and me -
Happy Birthday to me.
**If you do not know what I am talking about with respect to 42 and this quote, then leave my sight immediately. I do not let you go in my new state of zen, and disown you.