It had been a strange day, waiting for the family to come together to celebrate a birthday I never expected to see.
But it had arrived, almost like a thief hiding among all the normal days. It seemed like any other day, nothing marked it as out of the ordinary, yet in a surreal way it turned out to be far from normal.
We all expect to feel different, somehow changed on our birthdays, but I never had. All my life they had been just ordinary days; sometimes celebrated, often not. Becoming 70 years old was not something I ever thought would happen to me. (especially with two heart attacks under my belt) Not even when I was very young when you think you will live forever.
Then there were those other days, those days when you don’t want to think about living that long, the thought of all that missing youth, agility and diminished capabilities. Who would really want that?
And here I am, not exactly ecstatic to have arrived here, but at least acknowledging it as an achievement of sorts, but it feels strange.
I spent the day doing all the normal things, waiting for the evening when the family will gather together, chinese food would be shared and everyone would celebrate my advancing years.
They all arrived at six o clock. No one was missing, nothing was more important than I and they made me feel very special with their gifts and surprises. The food was delicious and the company exuberant. Tears were shed by all of us at varying moments and some were happy tears, but there was an undercurrent of fear and sadness. I could feel it and so probably could they. That unspoken question mark. That unworthy wonder that tried to sneak into the evenings celebrations.
Birthdays had always seemed to be an achievement, something you had gained, but this one felt different. It was an achievement, but it also felt almost like a swan song. Like the times on New Years Eve when everyone sings ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and we all think of all the people we wish were with us and are sadly not.
They all made jokes about saving up for the next milestone and they were pretty convincing, but a part of me wanted to tell them not to bother, not to expect anything like that.
But after they had all gone home and I walked around and looked at all their cards and gifts, I had the strangest feeling. Suppose I am still here at 80? What then?
I suppose this feeling I have is simply fear. Not fear of the end, for in a way I am more than ready; but the fear that it is not. I’m not really ready to leave the ghosts of my past behind, even though there are times when it is my dearest wish. There are still so many things I want to do, the list seems as long as it ever was and gets added to every day. I am actually planning several craft projects and my next book!
Not exactly time to hang up my spurs and settle for a rocking chair and slippers, even though there are too many days when that would be nice.
(this is the first post since PC became demonised and I was forced to use new laptop and Windows 8. Quite pleased, finally…)
See you soon, Jaye