Friday, September 16, 2011

~ 42, Douglas Adams and the meaning of life ~

Yesterday was my birthday
I love birthdays.
I love the rituals and the celebration, the giving (and receiving), the planning, the cake, the dinner, the spoiling.

I'm not so big on the numbers.  I don't feel 42.  Or what I thought 42 would feel like when I was (much) younger.  I thought forty was ancient, sensible and grown-up;  a holding pattern, if you like, for the rest of life.  And yet here I am  - mum to 3, one still in nappies with occasional thoughts of what a fourth would do to our lives (that's really only idle speculation - I can hear the screams of the Doc, my obstetrician and my absent abdominals already).  Not sorted, not mature, not always sensible.

In my heart I'm still in my 20s.  Still believing anything is within reach and possible if I put my mind to it.  I catch myself scanning the uni students milling around wondering if I'll see anyone I know.  I get shocked when I don't recognise the movies showing at the cinema or the songs in the top20.  I feel betrayed when my body aches and screams if I push it too hard or if I stay up too late, or have too many bubbles.  I still have to pinch myself that I am responsible for 3 small people - that they rely on me for food, shelter, love and knowledge.  I still feel like the world is out there waiting for me to come and explore and wonder.

Denial?  For sure.  I'm not one to gaze in the mirror checking for wrinkling and aging.  I have no list of what I need/want to achieve by this age, or that.  Sometimes, in those moments when I let myself think about aging,  I feel paralysed with fear that I'll be too old to play with my grandchildren (imagine if our kids wait as long as we did...), that genetics will catch up with me or the Doc and we'll fall prey to those health demons that lurk in the family histories.

So I live for the here and now.  For the little moments, the wonders, the sheer mundanity, the joys, the disappointments of the everyday.  Where the numbers are irrelevant and I strive to make each day count. 

Yesterday was a good day, I hope there are many more of them.

{disclaimer:  That is not yesterday's cake.  The Doc made 3 cakes (best not to talk about the first two unless you have great tips about what to do with a cupboard full of crumbled chocolate cake) and finally cracked it with a heart shaped, chocolate extravaganza.  HRH LLJ had been wondering all day "where's the birthday?" and it wasn't until he saw the candles that he was convinced it was a real birthday.  In all his 2 year old excitement at cake and candles with the accompanying jumping and screaming I actually forgot to take a photo.}


  1. Oh, I love your post, so many great words in there. The cake sounds great and looks like it was eaten with much joy. Happy birthday :)

  2. Happy Birthday to you! Its not denial. I am a huge believer in life begins at 40. Leaving all the mad self-conciousness of the 20's and 30's behind, heading towards what you truly love mostly, leaving 'should' behind. The everyday is where its at.
    Happy birthday and here's cheers to many, many more.

  3. A very happy birthday to you:) I feel the same way, those times don't seem that far away but I really wouldn't want to go back. Life is for living and enjoying and trying not to worry about those wrinkles that creep in:) Gorgeous photo, the cake is so pretty. Have a great weekend Ally. x

  4. Such a lovely post Ally, Happy Birthday !! You sound so grounded, wishing another year filled with those little and big moments of joy!and beautiful photographs :) xx

  5. I relate to what you've said. I'm 43. Don't feel it and apparently to some, don't look it. Yet i can't deny the number. I'm ok with it most of the time but still not ready to think about the next milestone birthday. That one seems scary. I had my kiddies late - 40 and 42 - so I can relate to the grandparent issues. As I said to someone not long back; it's like there is a missing generation between me and my little girls. I cannot fathom the stories I've heard of grandparents in their late 30s and early 40s. Ah well, these are the turns life takes. Happy birthday to you! Hopefully the kids, being so young, keep us young too!

  6. I had our last child at 44, second last at 40, both very healthy (eight children in all). There is something special about having young children in the house. The morning after having our last, as I was about to leave hospital, my ob dropped by and said with a smile I could come again anytime, lovely fellow.


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