With hindsight, I wonder why it felt like such a big deal. I found myself, in the months before my big birthday, probing into dark and murky areas of my inner self. Prodding at insecurities, turning over regrets; sliding door opportunities, gone forever. I found myself evaluating my life’s achievements to date, thinking about the word ‘success’ and what it means to me. I thought about future hopes and dreams. In fact, generally, thought too much, about what in reality, was just another day. In some small part, it was mind bendingly torturous, but mostly, it was a worthwhile exercise; I am happy with who I am and where I am. I feel lucky and I am grateful for the life I have.
As it turns out, the first month of being forty has been fabulous. If only life were like this all the time. The big day itself was a day I will never forget. Spent with my boys, a day of unveiling secrets and surprises. I think I managed to maintain my ‘surprised’ face, despite Pip letting slip on a couple of occasions what some of my carefully selected presents may be. His own present to me, a pink magnolia tree, now planted in the back garden. A present, he thought of all by himself - inspired by a walk in Kew Gardens. I will treasure it forever. Watch it grow in tandem with him. There are many magnolia trees in this leafy enclave of London, they tend to fare well here. I think mine will too.
A few days later, to Venice. A place on my life list. Hats off to Husband, an arbiter of good taste, he knows how to mini break in style. A speedboat transfer from the airport, to our hotel on the Grand Canal. Blue skies and glorious sunshine. I loved the uniqueness of the place, the busyness of life on the water. Three days was a perfect amount of time, to relax, lie in, wander the streets behind the canals holding hands, sip Campari and hop around on the vaporettos. Then back to my precious boys and two exhausted Grandparents. Complete with requested Venice football strip for the five year old that has been worn non stop since. Who’d have thought a third division Italian football team would have such appeal?
The school holidays felt that they rambled on forever, the weather was kind, and the boys and I spent many days outdoors, at Kew, in the park, at the sandpit, at the farm. Finally, after five weeks of living with the painter and decorator again, the snagging on the house was completed. The garden was overhauled, new garden furniture arrived. More sporadic birthday shenanigans happened, a night out with friends in Soho, a scheduled date for afternoon tea with my Uni friends, a night away at The Pig in Bath; a fabulous find, a beautiful hotel in a stunning setting. As Husband and I sat on the terrace in the 6pm sunshine, watching deer in the field beyond and sipping an aperitif, I felt happiness warm me to my core. The last month has been amazing.
Perhaps it is spring forging forth towards the summer, perhaps it is an acceptance of feeling comfortable in my own forty year old skin, but I feel full of positivity right now; am charging through the to do lists, planning, organising, thriving. Living life.
2015 is turning out to be a party year; Pip’s 6th birthday (complete with pizza from the wood fired oven), hosting dinner for 12 friends in July, and a joint 40th in the garden for Husband and I, in the summer. I feel nervous about hosting a grown up party here, but I think, at the ripe old age of 40, I’m finally ready for it. Plus, I’ve snagged a wonderful dress for a bargain price, which has arrived today. So far, 3010 isn’t turning out to be too bad at all.