It’s most certainly been a day. Not the happiest birthday I’ve ever had, nor the saddest. I was going to write a book-length post about 36 things I’ve learned in the 36 years I’ve been alive. But I’ve probably not learned enough to be qualified to write such a thing, especially considering my track record with unsuitable men in recent years.
I made the best of the day, though, which included spending the morning in bed reading from the following books:
- The Wild Isles: An Anthology of the Best of British and Irish Nature Writing by Patrick Barkham
- If Women Rose Rooted: A Life-Changing Journey to Authenticity and Belonging by Sharon Blackie
- Love People Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus
- Complete Reflexology: Therapeutic Foot Massage for Health and Wellbeing by Inge Dougans
Some gifts I ordered for myself also arrived. I went a little overboard because much of this year has been shit. As I sat at my laptop, fingers hovering over my keyboard, I rationalised my purchases by thinking, ‘You deserve these things, you warrior, merely for making it through this year without being institutionalised for ripping throats out with your teeth.’
One of the gifts included a foam roller set. My daydreams revolve around deep tissue massage because I’m the queen of muscle tension. Seen as though having someone every day dig their thumbs into the mountain range of knots that span my back isn’t possible, I need to do the next best thing and kindly brutalise my anatomy myself.
Other gifts include a head torch, a handheld torch, my friend Sarah Elizabeth’s new book The Art of Darkness, issue four of Becoming the Forest and a year’s digital subscription to Orion, an environmental magazine publishing the best in nature and culture writing.
I’m leading a more minimal life as I grow older. When I buy something, it needs to genuinely better my existence in a meaningful and long-lasting way. Whenever I bring something new into the house, I’ll get rid of something else, such as a piece of clothing I don’t use often. Doing so ensures I don’t feel I’m overwhelming my life with things for the sake of having things.
I’m in a strange sort of limbo this evening. I usually always am the eve after my birthday. It wasn’t long ago my life was twinned with someone else’s. We had plans of sorts in the making; where we were going to live, what creative projects we would bring to life…
But now I’m trying to reconfigure my thoughts to think about what I need in this moment, the coming months and years, and doing so isn’t easy. But perhaps I’m overthinking. I always overthink. I overthink overthinking.
Maybe it’s okay if I simply enjoy – as much as I can – this moment where I’m just for me, where I’m showing love, appreciation and respect to this woman who’s here and who could so easily not have been.
So to me I say: Live well now, woman. Have courage and always nourish your own heart before nourishing the heart of another.
*The exceedingly fitting birthday card was from my youngest brother. His humour is as pitch-black as mine.