Well here it is my birthday once again, the perfect opportunity to celebrate continued breath (as Cher once said, growing old sure beats the alternative) and also a chance to reflect just a little. It’s funny that when you get to a stage in life when you are quite certain past birthdays will far outnumber those in the future, you start taking stock. You look back, you remember, you wince, you smile, you cringe, you laugh, you maybe even shed a tear or two. And then if you’re really, really fortunate – you celebrate. You celebrate that you survived the ride, that you embraced the adventure, that even when you were drowning in tears and regrets and sorrows and longing, there were many blessings in your life. And so you smile again. And prepare to blow out the candles. With delight.
I’ve never understood folks who don’t celebrate their special day. Those who say “I stopped counting at 39.” Those who say “My birthday is a non-event.” Those who implore “Please don’t make a fuss.” Not me. No sireee. Make a fuss please. A big honkin’ fuss. Fuss all over me all day long. Because I am here! I am alive. I am continuing this adventure with optimism and joy. Okay, yeah, also with wrinkles, grey hairs (just a few), sore joints (only sometimes) and a bit of middle-aged spread. But I am here damnit! And that warrants some serious celebrating.
It’s also the perfect time to count up my many blessings. And so here goes.
I have been blessed with an amazing child. Only one, but amazing he truly is. That doesn’t mean he isn’t also a king-sized pain in the ass, a constant worry and as mouthy as his mother. He ain’t perfect. But he is perfect for me. He is and shall always be – the love of my life.
I am blessed with a loving family. At 88, my mother is wonderfully alive, engaging and still so darn lucid she is about to publish her third book. My father, sadly long departed, is still part of my every day. He set the standard and I’ve been searching for a duplicate ever since. I have one sister and she and her family bring me huge joy. And comfort. We all actually like each other.
I am blessed with not one but three phenomenal jobs. I get to do radio and share music of two distinct varieties in two distinct locations with two very distinct audiences. I get to hang with super-talented people, I get to be creative, spontaneous and funny (I hope), I don’t have to work very long hours and if I’m being perfectly honest I don’t have to work at all. Sometimes the drive to the station is work. The actual work is never work.
Then I get to sing. With not only uber-talented musicians (you know who you are) but uber-nice people. And I get to sing. In front of people. People who actually listen. I get to sing. And (sometimes) I even get paid. I don’t care. I get to sing.
I am blessed with an incredible (and diverse) group of friends. I’ve had to reinvent myself more than once during these past *cough*ahem*sputter* years and along the way people have come and gone. Those who have come and stayed are my true angels and for them I am eternally grateful. I have musician friends. I have high school friends. I have work friends and neighbour friends and friends who are cousins and cousins who are friends. I have ex-boyfriend friends, senior citizen friends and friends who are half my age. I have friends on Facebook who I barely know or have never met and yet somehow they become an important part of my life. I have friends who were fans and friends I’ve never even met. I have friends who left me – and then came back. I have friends all over the world. And I know there are still more friends to meet.
I am blessed with a crazy mutt named Shiloh who followed a crazy cat named Jack and then there was Katie and Max and Zip and Chopsticks and Skippy the Wonderdog and Joey the nut-poodle and it all goes back to Ginger and MewMew. Oh how I have been blessed with a love for furry creatures, and their beautiful unconditional love in return.
I am blessed – and here’s a crazy one – with an outstanding ex-husband. When our marriage ended our co-parenting did not and we to this day have “walked the talk” better than any divorced couple I know. It really was all about our son, no matter how dramatically our egos fought for time. Even when we digress we always return. Even when we want to do battle we don’t. At least not for very long. Because our one glorious achievement is our child. He is both of ours until forever. And he deserves better.
I am blessed with a lovely home, food in the fridge, a (reasonably) safe car to drive and a few bucks in the bank. I am blessed to live near water, to live in an amazing country, to have health care even without private insurance and to know peace. My parents knew war. By the time they reached my age they had both been transformed inalterably by war. Not I. I see war on television and I read about war in newspapers and on-line but I do not know war. I only know peace.
I have known heartache and heartbreak just like everyone else. Well, sometimes I think maybe more than most but that’s probably just my silly hubris talking. Most of my heartbreak was caused my men. I freely admit I am a woman who was born to love and that rocky road to love has – for me – difficult. And a tad time-consuming. Love (or something like it) has lead me down roads I should have avoided, clouded my judgement and dulled my brain, created havoc and chaos at every turn and – produced some of the most magnificent moments of my life.
And so now I find myself blessed to be madly in love with a pretty special guy. I often believe “mad” is the operative adjective when describing any romantic love. If you had put the two of us together “on paper” you would have probably guffawed. But with age comes wisdom (we hope) and I am old enough and therefore one hopes wise enough to understand that love takes work. Hard work. And when you work hard you never really know what might happen.
So here I am … old, creaky, wrinkled, grey, happy, loving, loved and … blessed.
If that doesn’t deserve a wee bit of a celebration, what does?