On Birthdays and Ageing


Today is my birthday. I am now of a “certain age”, but like my mother before me, I don’t talk about age.  Anne Lamott is a writer I admire hugely and her quote is such a beautiful celebration of the privilege of aging. It’s a wonderful quote to read any day, but today, for me, it is particularly special.

When I find myself tutting over another grey hair or my ever-increasing middle-age spread, I am also acutely aware of those in our community for whom a birthday will no longer come around again. Too many taken too young from us by this disease.

Back in 2004, I had to spend my birthday in the hospital just after breast cancer surgery. My post-surgery drains were still attached, but I was allowed out for the day to celebrate. I felt a bit strange swathed and bandaged, with my drains hooked up and hidden under a loose top but I was back out in the world for the first time, and it felt good. The sun shone and everything looked as if it had been imbued with added colour and life.  I really was looking at everything through fresh eyes and with deep gratitude.

In the intervening years since that day, I have had many ups and downs. I haven’t always felt grateful for them all, but one thing I have never ceased to be grateful for is friendship. My friendships have grown and deepened since that time, as new friendships made online have added to my stock of joy and happiness. Your friendship, support, and love are the best gift I could ever have, not just on my birthday, but always.