Half a century – 50, the actual number seemed to be more significant than its ten year younger sibling yet the celebrations for my fortieth birthday involved much intrigue and surprise, and for my brother’s the planning and organisation was horrendous. There’s only two years between us and we’ve always been close so I get to see milestones a couple of years after the dust has settled and I’m distanced enough from it to appreciate the event.
When I turned fifty I was separated from my husband and had slipped out of different circles of shared friends. My parents hadn’t been alive for my fortieth, two other brothers and my sister live in Australia and I’d recently moved too, so a big party was never on the cards. The kids plagued me about what I might like as a gift and it struck me that they were really all I was worried about in my life now. I asked for a photograph of all four of them. There seem to be so few occasions when they’re together nowadays.
My favourite daughter – my only daughter – organised the boys for a snap when everyone was home and injury-free (they all play rugby) and presented me with two prints. One in a leather frame features a colour shot and another in a silver frame is a wonderful black and white. She made sure I had a huge bouquet of lilies too, I’ve trained her well. It was a very low key day and suited me fine. I was reluctant to party and go out to dinner, not because of the age, that didn’t bother me but I had alopecia and somehow dressing up in my glad rags and killer heels seemed a waste of effort when my crowning glory had to be styled in a comb-over.
The lack of fuss just proved life goes on regardless of what milestone you might have reached. I feel I am much wiser, though I may not act it. I am more accepting of different attitudes – I’ve discovered I don’t have all the answers and finally the arrogance of youth has stayed its side of the hill. I am relaxed, content and confident and the me I want to be. Admittedly I’m not as fit as I used to be but that doesn’t worry me, though I do resent the aging process and how it causes aches and pains. Hey, it’s a fifty year old body that’s survived plenty of abuse, a bit of wear and tear is expected.
My brother’s fiftieth birthday was celebrated with my birthday gift to him – tickets for Deep Purple. It was a blast from the past and an excellent night out head banging, singing along to old favourites and being among a crowd of smokers with a sense of humour who knew nothing about being politically correct. The only thing about being fifty and seeing them now rather than when we were teens was being able to have a beer.
Congratulations Siobhan, email with details of prize on way to you.