Sunday, 9 February 2020

Birthday wishes

Did I mention I have a birthday this year with a zero in it ? 

Well in case I didn't yes I am going to be 50 in May. I know, I know, I don't look old enough. Is this a big deal ? Well in itself the number isn't. What is meaningful, however, is going into the next decade having had yet another profound life change. I went into my 30s as a single woman coming out of an abusive marriage. Into my 40s as a mother and now I am single parenting and redefining my life after a prolonged period of trauma. Is that worth celebrating ? I'm not entirely convinced it is if I'm honest. After all I'm dealing with heightened senses and trying to keep two small boys well and safe in all of this.



This past and week has been a horror show. I've felt like a failure and punished myself mentally the whole time. This weekend has pushed me into a place that I just don't recognise. Since I've been doing this on my own I've tried to ensure the boys do 'fun' things with me and they are happy and occupied. This can be exhausting - and costly - so I've decided to create some new routines that enable us to all be with each other, but not always going out to eat or for entertainment. Onesie and movie Friday inspires the boys to negotiate to choose a movie to watch and they also co-ordinate their clothes so we all follow a theme or colour scheme. This means animal onesies or pyjamas nothing too scary.

Tonight, after two days of bickering and just generally being bad tempered we all sat and ate dinner together. The boys thanked me for making food they liked (different meals obvs) and we watched Sing while we ate. It reminded me that I love the music from that movie. It also enabled me to relax that I hadn't got it wrong as we were all sitting and eating together. Who is in our family and who is not is an issue that is quite current for my boys. They like to be clear and appraised of the facts. This has proven tricky as I can't always supply information they want in an age appropriate style. What I can do is take them to the south coast and watch them run around and ensure they have a snack with them. At the risk of sounding sappy I was just so pleased they both ate their meal tonight and were happy and full. That's not a bad aspiration to have really.


I realise that I am so fortunate to have my wonderful boys and the most amazing friends in my life. I really don’t need anything*. So instead of planning a big party or celebration I am giving myself some challenges this year. Pushing myself to do things I haven't done before or to do more. I'm taking part in a swimathon with my son who is on the swim team at school so that will really make me work hard. I'm taking part in a few charity walks with my boys as they are older now and have the stamina and capability to do a 5k walk. I intend to go on the zip wire at the Eden Project in Cornwall - which I have said for years I will do in my 50th year and whaddya know it's here now !! 

I’ve also decided to give myself some gifts. I am going to see some great artists this year including Elvis Costello, Nathaniel Rateliff and Jools Holland. I’m going to shows by Stewart Lee and Dita Von Teese who I've seen a few times before, but I love so much I'm going again. I am beyond excited to finally see Debbie Harry and Chris Stein in conversation having missed out on getting to a book signing she did last year - this is so much better and I get to go with my lovely pal Zoe too.



After such a long period of feeling like everything is out of my control I am finally giving myself permission to be kind to me. I have spent a long time ensuring my boys are safe and cared for and it's now my turn to say “YES !” to all the wondrous things that are yet to come for me. This might mean giving myself permission to go on a weekend retreat on my own. I did that already this year having booked it last Autumn. I loved it and the time away was much needed and appreciated.

On a practical note I want to get a new car so that we can go on more road trips and adventures together. We love our breaks away and the boys now help pack the car and entertain themselves while I play music in the front on long drives.  I pack their rucksacks with snacks, games and books so they can keep themselves busy and we have our travel sweet of choice - Percy Pigs. The car has done sterling service, but we now need something that we can strap our bikes onto and get on the open road. I have big dreams for the trips we will do !

My promises to me are quite practical really :

- I will spoil myself. Whether that is a spa day, a really nice meal or a mini break. 

- I will get paid for the writing and speaking that I love to do. 

- I will spend time by the sea and channel the peace I find in yoga and swimming.

I'll be raising money for good causes this year too and it would mean a lot to me if I could get support for these. I don't need any gifts. I have been blessed with plenty in my life. I really have.




*but I have got a birthday list on Amazon.

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