Okay, I know that’s not strictly how the song goes but today it’s how I feel.
As you may have guessed from the title, today is my birthday. Not just any birthday. Oh no. Today is my 40th birthday. The so-called part of life where it is supposed to begin and I start to go ‘over the hill’.
The day started rather rudely with my old alarm clock going off (even thought it is no longer plugged in to anything). This was swiftly remedied by plugging it in to the nearest socket, pressing a random combination of buttons and lots of muttering under my breath. I then got up in a fairly good mood considering how rubbish my life has been the last couple of months due to a combination of my depression and anxiety colliding for what has so far been a most unpleasant experience. My daughter jumped on the bed in between my wife and myself, gave me a great big hug and I proceeded to open my presents and cards.
I received a lovely variety of presents from family and friends and am very grateful for all of them. Gift cards, a mug, a pint glass and a lovely bottle of single malt were just a few of the items given to me.
I was lucky enough to also receive lots of messages on social media wishing me a happy birthday etc…..but there was still this sense of nothing hanging over me.
I went out for a walk in to town just to clear my head and make the most of what was left of the day and on my return home I found my parents at the house complete with more gifts for me. My mum had previously asked me if there was anything I needed for my birthday to which I had said I genuinely didn’t know. “No troubles, we’ll just give you some money to get what you want yourself,” she said. Imagine my surprise when I see a wooden folding table and a storage box that can be coloured in. Hiding my disappointment I smiled and said thank you. Inside I was wondering how could they get it so wrong. Do they not know me at all?
This is all sounding really ungrateful and selfish and I really don’t mean it to be. I am genuinely grateful that people have taken the time out of their busy lives to think of me and buy me a present. It’s just that a storage box and folding table wasn’t the sort of thing I was expecting for such a milestone birthday. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but certainly not that. Something that evokes childhood memories maybe? A photo frame with a nice family photo? Maybe that’s what I was thinking today would be all about. Remembering my life so far and looking forward to making more memories in the years ahead.
Whether it is all in my head or not but birthdays and Christmas are always big stress points for me. The expectation of being happy on the outside all the time while inside I’m screaming just to be left alone so I can enjoy the day in peace is always a bit of a tough one for me. Add to this that some people close to me haven’t even remembered my birthday at all and this makes for a bit of a down day.
Maybe life does begin at 40 but for now I am quite happy just to sit down with a glass of 12yr old single malt and contemplate what I’m going to do with the next 40+ years of my life……………..