This blog post is all about me. Well, as it’s my ‘big’ birthday today, I feel I can be indulgent. It’s bloody amazing I’ve made it! So I thought I’d give you a potted account of my life so far. Warts and all. (And there’s plenty of warts, believe me.) I make no apology for the dodgy hairdos.
I was born 11/4/1959, number 5 of 6 children, and no, we weren’t Catholic. I never knew why people would ask me that as I was growing up, and would innocently answer, ‘No, Church of England’ hoping this explained everything.
Here I am at nursery. I’ve always loved colouring in. In fact, I loved school. My best friend at primary school was Sally Baker, who lived down the road and until she became best friends with Janice Brewer, my life was pretty wonderful. Well, maybe there was a slight blip in year 5 when I was involved in a car crash, but seeing as the rumour spread at school that I sustained my injuries saving a runaway pram from being crushed (falsely, I must now confess), life continued in a blissful round of Brownies, netball and making obstacle courses around the garden with my sister Deborah. (We always ended it, after shimmying through the legs of the green, garden seat, with a somersault into the paddling pool.) I’ve always loved books and stories. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would answer ‘a fairy, with wings.’ My mum indulged me by stroking my back and telling me that my shoulders blades were the beginnings of my wings growing. For many years I believed her.
My early teenage years were tortuous. Just as they should be. Again, I loved school but as I soon became distracted with the opposite sex, perhaps I didn’t pay as much attention to my studies as I should have done. At 17, I fell in love with a sound engineer. Luckily, my mum was very relaxed by the time it came to parenting me and allowed me to go to California with him in my gap year, returning in time to retake an ‘A’ level which subsequently got me to University. In the meantime, I experienced my first flight in first class to Paris, paid for by Roxy Music, attended their parties at The Sanctuary, Covent Garden and travelled around Europe at a moment’s notice wherever they were on tour, (but that’s a completely different story). Heady stuff for an 17 yr old.
By 21, I’d had my heart well and truly broken. I graduated and took my first teaching job and by the time I was 30 had bought my own home, given up teaching to fly as cabin crew, long haul for BA, got married and subsequently gone back to teaching.
My 30’s were a mixture of extreme highs and lows. I had my daughter Joanna, separated from her father, met and fell in love with Nick, divorced, had my second daughter Ellie and then at 39, my son, Harry. I started my Sugaring business (torture, masquerading as hair removal) working from home. Crazy times often hanging on by my boot straps, but those three children are the greatest thing that ever happened to me.
My 40’s (and the millennium – so full of promise!) was dominated by illness and bereavement. I had cancer, my mum died of cancer, I lost my sister and sister-in-law to cancer, and one of my best friends from secondary school was wiped out with her husband and son in the Asian Tsunami. I underwent a five-year, drug trial which involved being injected in the groin and under the arms fortnightly, but there were some highs. Nick and I got married and with the kids, relocated to the country and embarked on our rural idyll.
My 50’s seemed to start well. I had amazing birthday celebrations. Sadly, I lost my father early on but otherwise, life pottered along nicely. I started my online home accessories business and then,
after much deliberation, Nick and I started our own company, working together (a testament to any marriage) and we were chugging along towards plans of long weekends, ‘us’ time now the kids were moving on and finally retirement. Mmmmmm… silly me. Not to be. My brother became ill and subsequently passed away, my brother -in-law became ill and passed away, both with cancer. Then only 2 months after that, and those of you who have been following my posts will know, Nick was diagnosed with renal cancer, and passed away within 6 months.
So, you can see, I nearly made it to 60 with my heart intact. I nearly made it to 60 with (perhaps) life’s usual trials and tribulations, but not quite. But the fact I have made it to 60 is a thing to rejoice and to be celebrated. So many people I loved dearly, didn’t make it. So, doesn’t that mean I must rejoice in my good fortune?
I don’t know what my 60’s are going to bring. I don’t want to know. All I hope is that it is better than what I’ve been through recently. That somehow I will come out of this void, find a little bit of fun and perhaps a sprinkling of fairy dust for good measure.
I can always hope.