When I was young, I couldn't imagine not wanting to make a fuss on my birthday, and just could not understand adults who said they didn't mind whether they got any presents, and didn't want to do anything special. I confess I haven't quite reached that age yet - I mean, who doesn't like a present, whatever time of the year? But I don't feel the need to throw a party any more.
Birthdays do make me think about the passage of time though, and I like to amble through the past year in my mind, and make plans for the coming months.
I declared 2014 a year of running and gardening, and that's mostly what filled my time. A second triathlon, and a second marathon, meant lots of time spent running through parks, on trails and hills, and visiting beautiful places I'd not been before. I felt closer to my surroundings than I was before. And trying, yet again, to grow food in this tiny city garden meant I got down on my hands and knees and learned more about this space immediately around our house.
So far, 2015 has felt rather up in the air. I declared I wouldn't make goals this year, and that was the right decision, but it does mean I don't have the same focus I've had before. We're thinking seriously about moving house, so much of my time has been spent moving things from one place to another, plastering walls, chasing tradesmen, tidying up... There's a mission, but it doesn't feel like a passionate one.
Other things are rolling along in the background. I've not been running at all this year, but I'll be doing a 10k this Sunday, and a Race for Life in a couple of weeks, so that might reignite my enthusiasm (or not). I'm playing with the local flute choir, but otherwise I've barely picked up my flute at all. I'm filling the garden with low maintenance shrubs in preparation for moving on. Things are changing.
Of course, some things stay the same, and they're the things that hold me steady when I see the house turned upside down and am inclined to throw my arms up in despair. I knit on trains, and that makes me think of home before we thought of moving. I spend hours in cafes, drinking tea and eating cake and putting the world to rights with a friend or two.
Today I've tried to restore a mild sense of normality by making liquid soap from a batch of hard soap that went rather flaky several months ago. If it's a success, I'll share it (and if it's not, then let's forget I ever mentioned it, shall we?) Later I'll dig out my sewing machine, and make a curtain for the kitchen window.
Small things, but important to claim a piece of normal life when all around seems chaos.
Who knows what my 36th year will bring. A new house perhaps, and with it some more garden, and even some chickens. I would so very much love to have a few chickens in the garden. The thought of chickens keeps me sorting, filing, shredding, moving, when I'd rather curl up in a ball and eat rhubarb crumble instead of packing.
So here's to another year, however it turns out.
How do you like to spend your birthday? Do you have a special tradition? I'd love to hear about it!