No, this isn’t a means to telling the world that it’s my birthday. It’s because I am so bloody lucky that I get to share such a special day with so many amazing people.
When I was little, birthdays were ALL about the cake, or lack thereof. It was vital that it was the right colour, size and that it had my name spelt correctly. As I grew up, I got sucked into that popularity contest of school – who knew it was my birthday, who then cared to mark it, and if any of the presents were spectacular. (Well, my excuse is that I had just entered the Western world and was blown away by the sheer opulence of a materialistic culture.)
After uni, my birthday began to be a voluntarily smaller affair: the best of food in the most lovely of company. It was more comfortable and about staying in that comfort zone. Until my 30th. My 30th was when I decided that I was adult enough to hold my own birthday party. Was I ever wrong?! Seeing numerous friends gathered from various stages and pockets of my existence converging into a space around me was (and remains) one of the most terrifying nights of my life. Trying to work out who knew what about me and what stories they could swap; trying to be a hostess in my favourite salsa bar in Soho… it was all too much attention for me.
Finally, at the grand old age of 36 today, I feel like I have this thing cracked. First of all, I celebrate another year of good health. I don’t take that for granted now. I celebrate the fact that I now look after myself rather than relying on others to do that for me. I celebrate the fact that that now includes asking for help when I need it. And, more than anything, I celebrate today because my life is full of the most spectacular souls I could ever wish for. I know heroes, I know influencers, I know lovers and I know family (blood related or not). I know people who want me to fly and I know people who are ready to catch me if I fall.
So today of all days, for all of you that this includes, I say thank you for making this the happiest birthday yet.
(PS, you can still get me a present if you like 😉 )