I am thirty-two today. Thirty-two. I keep referring to it as ‘chick-lit’ age; by this I mean the paperbacks I ripped my way through in my early twenties that all revolved around women who were thirty-two years old and had glorious careers in fashionable industries like the media and PR who had to put their careers on hold due to some man and inevitably they would fall in love with … well – you know, you’ve probably read them too.
I’m away from home, which makes this birthday stranger. Yesterday, my younger brother messaged me briefly asking about my birthday plans. He lived in France for a few months when he was nineteen, and was also away for his birthday. I asked him if it had been weird and he replied, causing the guilt that only families can with,
Yes it was a weird birthday – no one called.
Although it was about ten years ago, I have a vague recollection of him being upset after this; in conference with my Mum at the time, I had an even vaguer recollection of us all thinking that we couldn’t call. It wasn’t our best moment.
I feel like I should play at being anxious or panic-stricken at turning thirty-two. I can list all the things that I don’t have yet – a career, children, a dream home, good skin, a flat stomach, blah blah blah. But I feel fine. It’s not a matter of not needing or wanting those things; it’s still a case, as it was in my twenties, that those things will come when they do (this might not apply with such laissez-faire to the flat stomach).
For other reasons altogether I was thinking a week or so ago about the death of people with birthdays on leap years. They only have a proper birthday every four years, which means that say a person dies at eighty-four, they would really only be twenty-one (I think?!). Everyone grieves for twenty-one year olds, but people expect it at eighty-four. It makes age completely irrelevant, which is a cliche, but a great one the day you turn thirty-two and wonder how you haven’t yet obtained the things that you’re fine with not having.
So, with a whole birthday yawning before me, I think I will go for a walk and buy myself something. When I return, I think I will continue watching Orange is the New Black.
Happy birthday me!