I have spent the last year, dreading turning 40.
For me, It is the age that suddenly sounds ‘old’. Sorry to anyone over the age of 40 reading this, but it does. Just cast your mind back to your last year of high school. At the age of 15, I thought I knew everything. I had a reasonably old head on my shoulders compared to a lot of kids my age, but even so, I did not have a clue of what the future was about to throw at me…
I spent every sunday afternoon, from the age of 14-16 with my best friend at Silver Blades Ice Skating Rink. We would travel by bus in our high-waisted jeans and cropped tops (not the most suitable attire for skating in, but at 15, we obviously had to dress for ‘look’ rather than comfort!) listening to our personal cassette players and talking about boys! I remember a woman that looked about the same age as I do now, giving us a filthy look. We had our cassette players on full volume so we could hear the music without wearing the headsets! I just thought she was so old, uncool and at her age, she must be too old to still have fun! How utterly ridiculous, but I guess this has attributed to my dreading reaching 40 so much.
So, the weekend before the dreaded day, I boarded a coach to London with my bff, my mom and my mom’s best friend. We were going to see Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in the West End, with an over night stay in a four star hotel. It was a brilliant weekend. We all got a little too drunk! We laughed and then slept most of the way home.
One day at work on the monday, then I was off for the rest of the week!
On Tuesday, the day before my birthday, we were leaving for Brands Hatch at midday. However, before we left, my amazing Hubby asked me if he could give me my birthday pressie right there and then, so that our youngest daughter would see me open it. Ooh, how exiting! I don’t think I have ever allowed myself to open a pressie a day early in my whole life!
I unwrapped my parcel with some trepidation as I had no idea, given the size of the box, what it was. Hmmm, a trick! First i uncovered a bottle of Smirnoff ice, next a super sized bar of Cadbury’s Chocolate. Then, underneath, was a small brown box. Inside the box was the most beautiful diamond ring. He’d had it specially made for me. I didn’t have an engagement ring 18 years ago when we decided at the very tender age of 22, to get hitched, It was simply a luxury that we could not afford. Then as the years passed and the cost of life and two small children drained our income, I just resigned myself to the fact that I would never have one and this, I accepted.
So imagine my face. I was a little lost for words and my soppy grey eyes filled with big happy tears. I just had to give him a big, big hug to show him how thrilled I was. I spent the next few days just looking at it, just to make sure it was still there!
We had a very smooth journey to Brands Hatch followed by a delightful evening meal. The next morning I was showered with lovely gifts and after opening a card from my baby niece, another set of tears tumbled down my cheeks!
A nice relaxing day in the Spa with my best friend was just the ticket and we finished off our day watching the boys whizz round the track. A sleepy journey home was the perfect end to a wonderful day. Then upon our arrival home, I discovered my Mom and daughter had decorated the house with lots of 40th Birthday banners and balloons! I can always count on my Mom to make me smile!
The next morning I was up at the break of dawn to get ready for a trip with my Mom and friends to Royal Ascot for Ladies Day. We were prepared for a very rainy day. The forecast was horrific. Heavy, thundery rain was predicted on every weather station we could find. No fear though, we all had clear, waterproof ponchos and outfit coordinated, birdcage umbrellas, just in case we couldn’t find shelter from the downpours. These, however, were not needed! Not a single drop of rain fell all day and boy did we have a laugh! It was a brilliant day and several of us even came up trumps on the horse races! Brilliant! A little drunk, some considerably more than others, we began our journey home feeling very pleased with ourselves and thoroughly relieved with our luck with the weather!
Finally, we went for a meal on saturday night which was a double celebration, due to my youngest daughters boyfriend turning 16 two days before my 40th! Once again, Mom didn’t disappoint, she’d had a birthday cookie made, half for me and half for him! Bless her!
On reflection, my 40th birthday was probably the best birthday I have ever had. My fear and dread, completely unnecessary. I have wonderful friends and an amazing family and to all of them I raise a glass of my birthday bubbly…
… Cheers and thank you for making my 40th, a birthday that I will never forget.