May be an image of 1 person and smiling
Non-alcoholic birthday drink from about three years ago

Birthdays… I flippin hate them.  I stopped having birthdays when I turned twenty-nine because didn’t want to turn thirty.  As soon as I hit twenty-nine I automatically spent the next 365 days panicking about turning thirty because in 2011 I looked at my life and I was disappointed. 

I was single – but so was Josh Groban so there was still hope.  I lived at home with my mum -which truthfully I didn’t mind because I was fed, watered and cared for and that is not a crime.  I also had a job that was more like hole in the head than it was rewarding (again, I’m really sorry to the guys I used to work with, I mean no offence), so life wasn’t exactly bleak but it was less than promising.

16th June 2013

In 2011 I scraped by when it came to self-love, it was more like self-loathe, self-pity and just get on with life because nothing was going to change anytime soon.  I didn’t realise at that point that I was the one responsible for making those changes and there was no magic fairy who was going to swoop in and make me confident, successful and beautiful; it might have worked out for Cinderella but in the real world we’re not as fortunate, so for 365 days before I hit the thirty mark I looked in the mirror and thought…

“…oh god, we’re one step closer to the end of the line.”

Just thinking about the change in digits filled me with dread. 

By now if you’re a regular to my blog you’ll gather that life has been somewhat unkind and while most of it I probably couldn’t change there were aspects where I wish I’d owned some “brave girl pants” and given life the finger and just said…

“Back off bad stuff…don’t rain on my parade!”

In hindsight I wish I could have done that, but hindsight is one of those things that I believe only comes with age.  I look back and I know that I had to turn thirty in order to learn this lesson.

When I was a kid I had a party every year.  I was lucky, I had all my friends over and my mum put a spread on, she made party bags and everyone went home feeling happy and fulfilled.  Every year I looked forward to the cards, the cake and the presents – Don’t lie to yourself, everyone loves getting a present!  But when I turned sixteen I sat my GCSE history exam.  At eighteen it was my Communication Studies exam and at twenty-one I was depressed as hell, on the verge of a Bipolar diagnosis and pretending to ride the waves of normality when there was nothing normal inside my head. 

As time has gone by birthdays have just become less important.  They’ve become something I want to avoid rather than address because every year I’d feel the beady eyes of those more successful than me and they would comment and say…

“Have you not got a boyfriend yet?”

“Are you still working at that place?”

“Do you not think you should be moving out by now?”

Comments are comments but those who make them who are reading this bear in mind, they burn because every time you question my social circumstances based solely on my age it makes me embarrassed to be me. 

I had friends who didn’t invite me to their hen do’s and wedding celebrations because, how can you introduce this person you know who has a mental illness, a poxy job and no one to love her, to your friends and family when this is not a pity party and this person is pitiful. 

I stopped celebrating my birthdays with friends because I didn’t think anyone would want to celebrate it with me; I concentrated so much on the negative side of my age that I never saw anything worth celebrating.

The only thing with birthdays is, you can’t escape them.  You can’t hide because somewhere, someone in the crevices of the life you wish you didn’t lead, knows the date you were born and…


You’re reminded who you are.  I blame social media.  It’s littered with positive birthday wishes and photographic evidence of pure joy that turn into poison arrows thrown directly at your aching heart.   

So when I hit the big 3-0 I took the day off work to avoid the attention because the idea of being in an office full of people who were confident, popular and birthday savvy made my head sweat and gave me heart palpitations.  

The only thing I wanted to do was sit in a darkened room, watch Smallville on DVD and pretend I was going to marry Michael Rosenbaum because he was also single and I’ve got a thing for bald men.

Image result for lex luthor smallville
Sorry, not sorry

I’ve never been mature, I think I’ve always had a young head on my shoulders and living at home I didn’t have the responsibilities that other thirty year olds had.  Because of this I looked at all the photographs of joy on Facebook and I felt like I was being left behind.  My friends had partners and children, they were buying houses and getting career promotions and while I feigned my support of their wholesome milestones, I wanted to crawl into the packet of millionaire shortbread I was eating and die a fattening death.

But I had a friend who wouldn’t let it slide and in the end I was glad she didn’t.  Janice is a big birthday celebrator and she took me out to lunch, we ate a ridiculous amount of food and I felt loved.  I didn’t for one second feel inadequate about having a rubbish job or not having a boyfriend; I was just someone eating a tuna melt panini and a Mediterranean salad.

My Mediterranean salad

Every milestone birthday people say…

“…life starts at…




…but all I can say is, which is it?  Or is this just to make the unfortunate feel better because they haven’t achieved what they wanted to achieve in life and if we give them another decade to have a bash at it they might just manage it? 

I don’t know…

…what I do know is, I never really started living until I turned thirty-one – thirty is a blur, I have absolutely no idea what happened within that twelve months.  Thirty-one was the year the cloud of emotional doom faded.  I met Matt (admittedly we met because I was having a Bipolar episode and a friend convinced me was a good idea) and I started to feel that bit more comfortable in my own skin and I read Electroboy by my friend Andy Berhman.

For years I’ve felt like I’ve missed out on all of my twenties because I was always ill.  I was up and down and all around, I was in and out of hospital, over medicated and trying to cheat the beast by messing around with my mood stabilisers.  I didn’t think it was possible to take control of a mental illness. 

Andy is also a big birthday celebrator, I could never understand why but I realised through talking to him over emails and letters; that when you’re dealt a really rubbish hand of cards, instead of looking at what you haven’t got, you have to look at what you do have because sometimes; we’re just lucky to even be alive at all.

For his birthday I sent him a rock I picked up from a beach in Croatia

I’d like to say I put this into play and that since the age of thirty-one I’ve become a massive birthday celebrator, but that would be a lie…

I think I got more comfortable with birthdays up to about the age of thirty-six because when you hit this one, you’re closer to forty than you are to your youth and those old friends harbouring social expectations on your lifestyle make a return and pass judgement on the things you still haven’t got and still haven’t done.

Looking back I would love to tell my younger self that…

…it’s perfectly okay to not have a boyfriend, because boys smell!

…it doesn’t matter if you have a rubbish job, the point is you have one!


…make the most of living with your parents because trust me, the second you buy a house you’re gonna be as poor as hell, so enjoy having some pennies in your bank account because they won’t be there for very long!

To this day I don’t do birthdays, I would rather it slip under the radar and just get on with life and wait for it to pass me by and yesterday’s 39th year was no different.

For this one I didn’t bother to take the day off.  In my new job I actually wanted to be at work, I didn’t see the point in taking a day off for a six hour shift.  I had planned to keep schtum but I let it slip to one person and by the end of my working day I left with a bunch of flowers and a card signed by all the patients and the staff.  I might have wanted to my day to pass by unnoticed but in the end I was happy for the attention and their genuine appreciation of me.

My work family

These days I find birthdays hard to deal with because I look in the mirror and I see things are different; my hands have changed, my hair is growing white instead of grey, I dress like I’m still a student and my lack of maturity is an alien being inside my head. 

Where once I believed I was being left behind by my peers, I now feel like I’m waving goodbye to my youth and I will never get that back…


…life is journey.  It takes us on different paths and none of them are ever the same because people are not the same.  I am slowly learning – very very slowly – that we still have to live life even if we feel like we can’t and maybe birthdays shouldn’t be about getting older, maybe Andy is right, they shouldn’t be about what we have and haven’t got…


…I should put a different spin on my birthdays and celebrate the real meaning behind them because birthdays are about being born.  They’re about becoming a person; so maybe my next birthday should be about being lucky enough to have a life and to surviving it so far?

This is what I will try to remember, because now I’ve got…

…364 days until I’m 40…

Dedicated to everyone who reminds me that birthdays are a good thing.