Today’s Writing 101 Prompt: Tell us something about your favourite childhood meal— the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
Today I am 40.
It doesn’t seem like a real number. I don’t know what 40 is supposed to feel like. I think it is supposed to feel older and perhaps more mature than 39. Possibly as demonstrated by more grey hair or less hair or a new power suit or something. Fortunately all my grey hair comes in on the part of my head which is in the process of evicting the hair.
I don’t feel 40.
My body is a bit creakier, but that is in part due to a chronic knee problem that has been acting up in recent weeks – as though to remind me that I am getting older. That and the realization that I graduated high school more than 20 years ago and university is creeping up on 15 years ago. That said I don’t feel older, just surprised that things that seem relatively fresh in my memories were so long ago.
Birthdays are a time of celebration and reflection. This past weekend Laura organized a surprise party to celebrate the start of my new decade, or maybe it was to celebrate making it through my thirties.
Ten years ago I was unemployed or perhaps the more appropriate term is under-employed. I was in the midst of 18 months of unstable employment and job searching. I had left a permanent position the previous summer – foolishly before I had secured a new job. As a result I started my 30’s with a certain degree of uncertainty. Laura and I had moved to Toronto in pursuit of professional and educational goals, both of which were still up in the air when I turned 30.
Since that time, we have gone through some significant life events.
- Laura got her masters
- We celebrated the birth of our three daughters
- I worked in politics
- Sadly we lost three grandmothers, all of whom had the opportunity to be great-grandmothers
- We made great new friends and reconnected with old ones
- We moved back to Ottawa
- I got to be a professional speech writer
- We bought a house
- Two of our girls started school and have pretty much surpassed our French-speaking abilities
- We found and met the daughter I placed for adoption as a teen
- I rediscovered an old passion and started a new business
- We celebrated ten more years of marriage
- A bunch of other stuff that my aging brain has temporarily forgotten.
Not a bad decade if I say so myself.
So now I start the next decade. I am starting my 40’s with the same woman I love who helped me survive my 30s (and puts on great surprise parties). I have three fantastic kids – when they aren’t fighting. Stable employment and a house. I am a small business owner and blogger and I am learning new things every day. I am excited for whatever comes along this decade. Adventure awaits!
Maybe I should start wearing a fedora or something as a symbol of my new level of maturity…
And for my writing prompt? Well, when I was a kid my mum often – perhaps always – made me a birthday cake with some kind of design or shape. The most memorable one for some reason was a train. over the years there were animal cakes and other trains and even a Darth Vader. The one above is a friend’s creation and is slightly more advanced that my mum’s design. I can’t really remember specifics of what all of those cakes looked like. They are now the stuff of good memories. Some of them most have been impressive or impressively odd because they are also the stuff of legend in my family. I can remember the painstaking effort that she put in trying to make the shape of the year or occasion and regardless of what they looked like, I know that the key ingredient was love (and icing).
Here’s to another great decade ahead.