Lots of people are scared of them. Children love them. And I’m on the fence. It’s scary how fast time flies, but I do get excited about having a birthday.
It’s a chance to celebrate, to feel a bit special, and to get friends together. Friends I don’t often see due to location, children and life.
The rest of my birthday is just a normal day, and it was this year. Despite it being a big birthday and falling on a weekend, I had nothing special planned except for a meal out in the evening. It was a normal Saturday with N’s swimming lesson, a food shop, and a free afternoon to catch up on chores while N went out on the farm with his dad.
I might have been turning 40 but the year doesn’t bother me. I’m younger than the OH so I always feel relatively young anyway, and many of the people I work with or dance with are mostly a bit older or a bit younger. But I am more aware that life expectancy of the women in my mum’s side of the family has never been great. And I know I’ll get a letter from the doctors’ surgery inviting me for an over 40 health check. Because I put on most of the weight I lost earlier in the year (with my birthday the target), I’ll be waiting til I’ve lost more of it again before going for that check.
My best friend also turned 40 a couple of weeks before, and we’re currently planning our joint 40th ‘luxury’ getaway weekend without our boys, so that will be the main celebration for me.
But this year’s birthday, on the day, was all about going out with friends. Because the OH didn’t want to eat tapas, it meant I could invite so many more girl friends from different parts of my life. I’d decided on a local restaurant Brava Tapas after a delicious meal a few weeks ago. We’d pre-ordered to make like easier, although by the time everyone had arrived, some were salivating in anticipation. The food didn’t disappoint, and the desserts were delicious too.
I just love having lots of friends around. I do sometimes worry about some not knowing others, but most are chatty enough to get on with meeting others, while others reminisce. I had friends from primary and secondary school, home, work, blogging, local, NCT and farming friends come along. The only sad thing is not getting the chance to chat properly to everyone despite switching seats before dessert.
I wasn’t expecting a speech but my lovely friend F (who I met at 6th form entrance exams, and introduced me to the OH) had written a brilliant poem about me in the years up to 40. As with any personal speech, it was really emotional, but she certainly had me spot on the money….well apart from my first ‘snog’ being at 6th form and getting wet camping (more like snowy) which created a lot of hilarity and interest in my teenage love life. She did a great job in writing and reading it, and it’s something I’ll treasure.
Of course, no birthday would be complete without being led astray and
dragged easily persuaded to a bar for a quick drink. Some of us hardcore rabble went off to a quirky bar to feel old amongst the pretty young things of town (and the random old guys who always seem to be out in bars). A seat in a boat wasn’t that comfy, but it was lovely to be able to share some more unique experiences with friends. Friends who’ve been with you through different situations and experiences.
It turned out to be a slightly later night out than planned, but it was great fun, and I wish birthdays came round more often. Or maybe we should just arrange more nights out.
I often think that friends pass you buy. You lose friends as lifestages progress. And at other stages gain friends. Work gets in the way post children, sometimes feeling like you get left behind in baby group friendships. Or find it hard to see other new school parents make friends in the playground while you say a fleeting hi and you go past.
But, arranging a night out and seeing my friends around me, it’s the chance to realise how good some of my friendships are. How long they’ve lasted. How we may have drifted apart and come back together again, through fluke or children. And how despite in some cases over 30 years having passed, we really haven’t changed that much.
My friends are great, and I’m lucky to have them. I hope they feel lucky they have me as a friend. Roll on the next however many years of friendship.
How have you celebrated your big birthdays? How have your friendships changed?
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