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Now I am Forty-Four

Yesterday was my birthday.  I have reached the grand old age of Forty Four.  Which scares me just a teeny-weeny little bit.  I still don’t know very much and have very little figured out.  I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still keep waiting for my Fairy Godmother to grant me three wishes.

Yesterday was tougher than I imagined it would be.  I wanted to spend the day on my own, like I did last year, but then felt really lonely and sad about being on my own.  Quite a few people forgot it even WAS my birthday and that upset me more than I wanted to admit.  I felt fat and old and uninteresting and invisible.

To be fair, it’s quite possible I am hormonal (or menopausal!) and just down in the dumps for no real reason.  Birthday or no birthday.  I think this year crept up on me and I wasn’t ready.  I know forty four isn’t old.  I know this.

 

Things I know, now that I am forty-four years old

Life doesn’t get easier.  You just get more tired, so your tantrums are less dramatic.

Bingo wings grow all by themselves.  They are an unstoppable force.  You will spend the rest of your life in three-quarter sleeves.  Don’t fight it.

Elastic waist bands are key.

Music now is rubbish.  It’s a totally different thing to when your parents used to say it about your music when you were a teenager.  TOTALLY different.

You will begin to lose the ability to understand adverts on television.  Are they trying to sell you a car or haemorrhoid cream? And why are they so darn loud?

You used to laugh at women who plucked their chin hairs at the traffic lights.  Now you give them a thumbs-up signal and yell “Right with ya, sister!” in solidarity.

Cheese is your enemy and your best friend.  Don’t turn your back on it. 

That lump you’re feeling could be malignant.  Or it could just be one of last night’s cornflakes you had for dinner that stuck to you.  You know, the one that fell down your top and you couldn’t be bothered fishing it out because you were watching Will and Grace.

Your underwear gets increasingly more “sensible”.  They become less floral/pretty/polka-dotty and become more beige.

You will find yourself worrying about fibre content before sugar content.

You will suddenly realise that if you start dating again, it will have to be with men in their 40s and 50s.  Which seems kinda icky.  But if you were a man, you’d start dating girls in their 20s and 30s.  The irony is not lost on you. 

Grey hair grows quicker than any other colour of hair.  This is a scientific fact.  You will go to bed one night a brunette, and wake up the next looking like a badger. 

  If you go to work without makeup one day, people will repeatedly ask you if you’re ill.

  The fact that you’re old enough to remember macrame the first time it became popular, makes you feel like crying.

You will approach spicy food the same way you would approach a barrel full of poisonous spiders – with fear and trepidation.

You will be grateful for everything you have but still have many regrets and coulda-shoulda-wouldas.  Which is ok.  You may be forty four, but you’re still human.    

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Wishing you all a happy day (birthday or not).  Thank you for visiting 🙂 x

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Song Lyric for the Day : Old Friends

“…Old friends
Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends

Old friends
Winter companions
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sunset
The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends

Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy

Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear

Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you…”

— Old Friends/Bookends – Simon and Garfunkel

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How to Have a Happy Birthday

Birthdays have always been a bit tricky for me.  For a long time I believed that something bad would always happen on my special day (mostly because, for several years in a row, I had disastrous birthdays where loved ones became gravely ill, pets died, people got in car accidents and general chaos and doom reigned) and so I tended to try to just get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

As I got older and, particularly after surviving a life-threatening illness, I starting believing that having another birthday was actually pretty good.  Bad stuff could still happen, but then it could on any other day, so why worry about it?

Usually, I try and organise a dinner out, or a get-together of some description with friends or family or both.  This year, I just wanted time on my own.  I didn’t want to involve anyone else, which sounds really selfish and unsociable, but I just wanted to spend my day pottering about by myself, doing as I pleased and not having any schedule to follow.  I highly recommend it 🙂  I don’t get lonely and am quite happy with my own company.  I wanted a stress-free, restorative, recharging kind of day.

So, my idea of a good birthday goes something like this…..

1. Dress in a comfortable outfit, in your favourite colours.  
Makeup and hair done for no one else but yourself.

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I don’t feel blue wearing blue!

 

2. Take yourself out for a delicious, hearty breakfast…….

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Field Mushrooms on Sourdough, with Goat’s Cheese and Poached Eggs…

3…..and eat it all up.  Don’t feel guilty at all.

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All gone!

4.  Visit a favourite, gorgeous shop.  Wander around for an hour or so and don’t buy anything.  Feel good that you didn’t spend unnecessarily (even if it is because you’re a bit poor right now and couldn’t afford to even if you wanted to).

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Antidote in Mount Hawthorn
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Hammered and stamped recycled spoons at Antidote – Love them!

 

5. Make yourself a birthday cake and share it with loved ones at dinner time.   It doesn’t matter if the cake is a bit homely looking.  People will be polite and eat it anyway.

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6.  Drink vast quantities of tea, preferably out of pretty china so you feel like a lady.

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Tea for one!

 

7.  Go op-shopping.  Buy shoes for a ridiculously low price (in this case $4.25).

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New shoes! (well, 2nd hand new!)

 

So, for me, a perfect birthday is one in which I spend time doing things I enjoy, with no schedule or plan.  I ended the day with my brother and his family, which was lovely – I even had candles on my cake and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Delightful. Maybe spending a day on your own isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it was exactly what I needed and I’m so glad I did it.

So how do you spend your birthday?  Do you like to ignore it, go all out and spoil yourself, or plan a quiet day of solitude and reflection?  Whatever you do, I hope you always feel loved and appreciated on your special day.

Thanks for dropping by x