So, I turned forty on Friday.
That's pretty old. I can remember when my dad turned forty. I was about thirteen years old and I gave him a mug that said "Over the hill and picking up speed". I guess I thought I was pretty funny. He should have kept it and given it back to me when I popped back to see my parents at the weekend. Mind you, I think they might be struggling to adjust to having three middle-aged sons too: this is the paper that my present from them was wrapped in.
Pretty cool, huh?
So what's this old boy been up to since becoming old? Buying records, enjoying nice meals with friends and family, going to the cinema, playing The Last of Us on the PS3 (badly), running, swimming, reading.... the usual.
I've been spoiled rotten over the last few days: my team at work made a fuss of me on Thursday, and everyone else has made a fuss of me ever since, either in person or online. I'm back at work tomorrow, but the celebrations stretch out across the rest of the month: I'm out for dinner with my work colleagues tomorrow, we're on holiday next week and then have a big party with some of my oldest friends to celebrate our birthdays at the end of March.
I feel both very loved and very lucky.
I've just finished reading "Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt. It's a sad and beautiful book, but one quote in particular really struck a chord with me:
"That life - whatever else it is - is short. That fate is cruel but maybe not random. That Nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn't mean we have to bow and grovel to it. That maybe even if we're not always glad to be here, it's our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping our eyes and hearts open. And in the midst of our dying, as we rise from the organic and sink back ignominiously into the organic, it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn't touch."
Life is short, but there's plenty to cherish whilst we're here.
4 days ago