Friday, October 12, 2007

Reflections on turning 40...


Not that I have been feeling particularly reflective or melancholic...far from it, actually, I've been having a ball this week...but the nature of the conversations I have had this week with friends, old and new, has been on what it means to turn 40.

To quote a very dear friend, from a wise funny email he sent me today:

" I think we’re at that age too when our perspective sharpens quite drastically. As my brother James says, at 40 you’re at the peak – you can see the other side and your fate. But you can also see and vividly remember where you’ve come from. There will be no other time in our lives quite like this one..."

And that very much seems to be the theme of this birthday week for me - the convergence of my past, my present, and the people and elements I imagine will play a major part in my future.

I have not seen my wise friend for many years, a dozen or more. He was my best male friend in high school. He teased me, tested me, tantalised and infuriated me in equal measure. He was very honest, articulate, a bit pompous and very honourable - he set such a high standard for my male friendships that it took years before I realised what a gift that friendship was, and what it had taught me.

He held a similar place in my best girlfriend's life, too, so you can imagine how strange and funny and exhilarating and refreshing it was to be sitting together on my deck eating and laughing and reminiscing with them, plus her partner and my husband, last weekend. Everything had changed - yet everything was exactly the same. The bond remains - "...there’s something special about a friend who got to know you at the same time that you got to know yourself. Don’t you think?" (My wise friend again).

Last night, recent friends joined us for a birthday dinner at my favourite local restaurant (Fire In the Belly - voted the best pizza in the country, and I'm happy to agree with that). My caring but normally undemonstrative girlfriend bought me a couple of things including a lovely photo box, but the gift that most touched me was a cheesy but cute fridge magnet with 2 baby monkeys shmoozing and the caption "Pals forever". I think she's right - she's part of my future, too.

So here I am, standing at the peak, looking forward and back. There's a lot to treasure, to appreciate, to savour, whichever way I look - sure, there's some crud, too, but you don't get to this point without being forged in the fire a few times and look what that does to steel.

This Sunday, friends old and new, family of birth and of love, are gathering here in my garden. "Help me celebrate my next 40 years", I said on the invite.

It's going to be great...

4 comments:

baby~amore' said...

I hope you had a very happy 40th birthday -
40 is great (41 is better heehee)

mountainmama said...

Thanks, I had a fabulous birthday..the whole week was great, catching up with loved ones old and new. The 40's are looking good!

Kris said...

I tried to contact you but the email bounced. I hope you had a fabulous birthday gorgeous woman! sorryw e couldn't be there

xoxox Kris

Julia Hulme said...

I absolutely loved reading your blog and can relate to your state of mind. I turn forty next month and am already feeling a little nervous over the convergence of so many people from my childhood, young adult-hood and now mid life coming together, I certainly have mixed feelings but deep down know that it will be a wonderful evening. Your blog has given me inspiration to believe in myself and peace of mind that life is abundantly wonderful and what we make it. Thankyou for writing so honestly.

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