“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
– Maya Angelou
Quite how we’re nearly in June, I do not know. I think of the blog, and how often I used to post, and it feels like another life. I still write on Instagram as much as I can; gratitude lists and the odd amusing Mummy-anecdote. But it’s been writing for the local paper that’s helped bring some consistency to my writing patterns and reignite the thoughts that say “I am a writer”, when the bulk of my day is spent doing everything but. For now, I’ll leave you with my most recent column, on the subject of birthdays:
“It’s my birthday this week. I am now on the other side of twenty-five. I know I’m still, in the grand scheme of things, a baby, and have no place talking about age at such a young…age.
But hear me out.
I have decided against being someone who complains about their birthday. Some of my friends have already begun, and I can understand it to some extent, no one likes ageing. But for the most part, whining about hitting twenty-six, well, it just feels wrong.
Despite all the pressure to “succeed” (whatever that means) and be “on track”, build a career, find your calling, buy a house, have a family, stay healthy, actually like or even love yourself, your twenties still counts as an exciting and anything-is-possible time.
Of course it doesn’t always feel this way, but I like to think the anything-is-possible feeling will remain in me for life. A hopeful little spark that stays alight and shines on, no matter what. It may even grow stronger with age.
You might know the feeling.
It’s gratitude and possibility all in one. It’s love for the present, and hope for the future. It’s remembering you’re on an adventure.
I get it when I go to London and take in the atmosphere, the buzz, the colour; when I look closely and deeply into my daughter’s eyes; when I stay up late at night writing little pieces like this. When I’m with the people I love.
I’m grateful for my years. After all, not everyone makes it to twenty-six. For every few million who make it to some big mile-stone type birthday, there’ll be many who don’t, and who would’ve given anything to still be around. Around to celebrate life with the people they love. Because isn’t that what celebrating your birthday is? Celebrating life? A celebration of somehow making it through all the ups and downs, all the messy bits, all the challenges. A day, once a year, to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come, as an individual, or maybe as a family.
To me, a birthday marks another year of growth, experience, and wisdom. (And maybe another wrinkle, but I can handle a wrinkle).
It’s probably far too easy for a hopeful twenty-six year old like me to be so encouraging of celebrating birthdays. I know many of you will just want to hide under a rock. And if so, you embrace that rock. But I’d say to take the day, and do something wonderful with it. Perhaps something small but significant. In my house, we’re all about the candles. The singing and the blowing. Like most children, my daughter cannot get enough of blowing out candles. So much so that we’ll often re-light the cake just so she can have a go. (When it’s not even her birthday). Which is both ridiculous and necessary if the birthday-celebrant wishes to eat their cake in peace.
She loves it, as does my seventy-five year old Dad, who, when asked, said he seems to be getting happier as the birthdays go by. An uplifting thought. All being well, I’ll still be writing about birthdays when I’m on the other side of seventy-five. That’ll be a celebration.”