It was a post lamenting a fairly rubbish birthday.
So, I had moderately high hopes that this year things would be marginally better. After all, this year my birthday fell on a Saturday and not just any Saturday, but the beginning of the Easter holidays.
So there was a reasonable chance I’d be able to mark the occasion, even if only in the most modest of ways.
I did not expect the festivities to be quite as modest as they ended up being though.
For reasons that are no doubt abundantly clear to anyone who has even the vaguest grasp of current affairs, I chose to spend my birthday mostly by staying in my house. And in the evening my family and I really pushed the boat out by not going out.
I shouldn’t complain. Not being able to celebrate one’s birthday is hardly the greatest of hardships given the state of the world. Many people have it worse than me.
And actually, my family made a real effort to make my birthday as special as it could be under the circumstances. I received no shortage of birthday wishes via social media and in the form of actual cards that people had posted early enough that they would get to me by yesterday.
Also I had presents.
Not one of those presents was toilet paper though, and really that does seem an oversight on the part of the gift-givers.
In all honesty, I was never going to do anything extravagant for my birthday and I’m grateful that I was able to spend it with my wonderful wife and daughter.
I’m also lucky to have such a lovely extended family, and while it’s hard that I can’t see them at the moment, the regular messages, photos and video we’re sharing with each other are some consolation.
We’re all a bit sadder today, because like so many, we’ve been personally affected by the current pandemic.
But I know we’ll be there for each other and during these difficult times, that really is something to hold on to.
A discarded takeaway pizza box (which contrary to what my waistline might suggest, is not the norm Chez Proclaims) is perhaps the only visible sign that I’ve marked the occasion.
To be fair, it’s been quite a few years since I really pushed the boat out to celebrate my birthday. But I normally do a bit more to acknowledge the fact that I’ve survived another year on this planet.
And today is quite a big birthday.
Arguably the big birthday.
Today I turned 40.
Which is some kind of landmark age apparently.
It would be a lie to say I haven’t reflected on this a little over the last few weeks.
But turning 40 doesn’t really bother me.
I’m genuinely OK with it.
I don’t feel especially old.
I’m as fit and able as I’ve ever been.
This may, admittedly be because I’ve never been especially fit and able.
I probably haven’t achieved as much as I would have hoped I might have by the age of 40.
Nonetheless I’ve almost certainly achieved more than my feeble efforts have really ever deserved.
And really, life in general is pretty good. Better, in many ways than it’s ever been.
Obviously I speak from a personal perspective. It’s been a while since the events that dominate the news have made me feel anything other than apoplectic rage or inconsolable despair.
But in terms of being me, things are going rather well in general.
I am happily married to the mother of my eight month old daughter. I own a house that is not entirely decrepit, and I earn enough money from my job to keep the wolves from the door every month.
Not that there are many wolves in Berkshire.
There are quite possibly foxes.
Indeed the Fox and Hounds is a place I frequent fairly regularly.
It’s exactly the kind of establishment that would be ideal for celebrating one’s 40th birthday in.
But I’m not celebrating my birthday this year.
This is because, while in a general sense my life is far from lamentable, my immediate situation is rather less ideal.
For starters I had to work today.
On my birthday!
This may not seem like the greatest of hardships, but one of the main reasons I chose to work in the field of education was the high probability that my birthday would always fall within the Easter holidays. There are perhaps more worthy reasons for choosing to work in my profession. Making a difference to the lives of young people and all that. But for me it was all about the convenience of the holidays.
So it is always an affront when my birthday falls during term time. It just shouldn’t happen.
I perhaps could have lived with working today if I could have had tomorrow off.
But I have to go in then too!
Ok, once tomorrow is out of the way, I do have two weeks off to look forward to and, even though my birthday will be but a distant memory by then, that would normally be a reason to be cheerful.
Alas, a rare, though fairly prolonged, effort at self betterment has meant that the first weekend of the hols will be spent furiously typing up the several thousand words I still have left to complete on my MA dissertation, an interminable undertaking that has kept me from posting very much on these pages in recent times, and which has resulted in the kind of stress eating which might well have lead to a decline in my health that means making it to 40 is perhaps a minor miracle in itself.
Come Monday, pass or fail, my MA will be done and dusted. Which will be a good thing.
Actually, if I do fail, I will be granted another 12 months to rewrite the bloody thing, so it is pretty essential that I pass, because academia really needs to be out of my life.
Notwithstanding the fact that I work in education of course.
So I’ve had better birthdays all things considered.
Not that today has been a total write off.
Mrs Proclaims has showered me with a perfectly pitched selection of gifts that have moved and amused me in equal measure. She also provided me with my annual giant birthday cookie, which I have already set about with the kind of glutinous abandon that has become my modus operandi of late. It is delicious though.
My family, though a fair few miles away, have provided me with gifts and messages aplenty and I’m genuinely touched.
And my daughter, who has never previously featured in any of my prior birthdays, what with not having been born, has been utterly delightful. Aside from when she vomited on me at 5 am this morning. It was fortunately prior to my morning shower, but the odour remains on the sofa, which also suffered in the incident.
I think my favourite moment of today though, was the video message I received from my father via social media, a forum he has only recently discovered. As he wished me happy birthday with what can only be described as childish glee, I was very much reminded that age really is only a number.
Today is the 4th April and therefore it is my birthday. My birthday is on the 4th April every year and I fully anticipate maintaining this tradition for many years to come.
One of the main reasons, indeed possibly the only reason, that I went into the education profession was that the 4th April is always in the Easter holidays and so, theoretically, I would never have to work on my birthday.
This theory has been proven incorrect on three occasions since I joined the teaching ranks. Arguably the worst was a few years back when my birthday fell on a working Monday, but today was almost as bad, for today is Tuesday and once again I found myself at the metaphorical coalface of my profession. Continue reading Birthday Blues
Day 3 of the A-Z challenge (cos we get Sundays off apparently) and in my experience the third letter of the alphabet is the letter ‘C’. So my word of the day is ‘Cookie’.
I have chosen this word so that I can unashamedly highlight the fact that today is my birthday. ‘Birthday’ begins with a ‘B’ and we’ve already done ‘B’ but fortunately my lovely wife presented me with this awesome giant birthday cookie this morning.
Admittedly ‘cake’ also starts with a ‘C’ so a birthday cake would’ve been fine for the purposes of my A-Z challenge, but, and no disrespect to cake at all here, I do prefer a birthday cookie. Continue reading C Is For Cookie