yesterday on my birthday my age changed to one with a 0 at the end. The end of one decade and the beginnings of another. In truth I am just one day older than the day before, but numbers matter. They matter as they mark the passing of years and when we enter a new decade it perhaps matters more.
I remember other 0 birthdays, the first one I was very excited to be in ‘double figures’. 20 was spent in a alcoholic haze and by the time 30 came along I was busy with babies and no time to think about birthdays. 40 arrived and with it a plea from my little boys who decided to hold a ‘surprise’ party for Mum. They had no money of their own, so they asked me to buy the food and help them decorate the room. It was still a surprise though, it had to be, they told me it was.
50 was probably the most difficult. A party, planned on a bus in Southern Spain, when good times seemed all around, was very different once January drew to a close. The person I thought would be by my side was choosing another path, we were having a tricky time, when the future was very much in doubt. The party went ahead, friends and family gathered and a good time was had by all. I on the other hand was happy on the outside and sad on the inside. I wish I had known that day how things were going to be. In truth this decade was the turning point. It was in these years I made choices based on the life I wanted to live, rather than accept the one I had fallen into. It was the decade that saw all my children grown to adulthood and it was the decade I became a Nana.
So now at 60 it is fair to say that I am in better shape than for at least twenty years. Emotionally, physically well and healthier than almost ever before. I have a real sense of ‘self’. It is as if I had to do the decades before, to arrive here, now, with peace and friendship and love all around. A party was held, at the end of a week of celebration. My, now adult, children organised everything. From a surprise mini break and concert tickets midweek, to a fabulous get together in our local pub for family and friends on the day itself, I am truly blessed.
I looked around the room at the party guests and realised that these people, sitting, laughing, chatting and catching up, these are my tribe. Some I have known forever, others from more recent times. Together the people in that room have supported me, propped me up during bad times, they have laughed with me through the fun times. Each and every one of them has helped me to be the me I am right now.
Earlier last week I was told, for about the tenth time, that I don’t look 60 years old. Well, I said, think again, for this is exactly what 60 looks like! I have no idea what this decade will bring, surely that is part of the fun, but I have no intention of becoming old. I have more life in me now that in most of the previous decades.
So, I say, bring it on. This seventh decade begins in style, with love and friendship, with laughter and kindness. The world may well be in a tricky place just now, but I am grateful for the life I am able to live and very thankful for my tribe. I love them all dearly.