I’m now used to the looks of disappointment on the faces of family, friends, colleagues and strangers when they ask what I’m doing for my 40th birthday and I fail to respond with, “Doing shots off the chest of a hot waiter at the hippest bar in town.” Forgive me for not wanting my most precious birthday so far to turn into a scene from the offensive-if-the-gender-roles-were-reversed movie Magic Mike but I’ve never been much of a party girl and I’m not about to start now.
All I want to do on my 40th birthday is rest. I’d love to check into a hotel for the weekend with a good book, order a pot of tea and rest and read and sleep and sip, and so on and so forth. Not one person is happy with this plan (I’m sorry, whose birthday is it again?) so I have begrudgingly thought of something I might like to do as a second choice. I’ve booked tickets for my mum and I to see The Sound of Music with Andrew Daddo as Captain von Trapp.
What is it about my 40th that causes those who normally don’t care what I do from day-to-day or night-to-night to have a vested interest? Isn’t the beauty of getting older doing less of the activities you don’t like and more of what you do like because you care less and less about what others think of you?
I’m 40 and fabulous and watching The Sound of Music with my mum. We’ll probably share a box of Maltesers, and she’ll let me have more because it is my 40th after all.
Is it lame that I don't want to do a proper party to mark the occasion? I don't even want to organise a dinner with friends. All of my friend are so busy and overwhelmed with work and family commitments that I doubt many would be able to make it. Then I'd just spend the night feeling sad about all those who couldn't make it and trying to explain that I still don't drink alcohol (so stop buying me birthday drinks).
It's not as though I'm a total bore. My sister and I do on occasion dance the night away and have a really good time but it's not something I want to do for my birthday. For my birthday I want to feel safe and secure and have fun with someone really special. Mum is the first person I thought to take with me.
Remember when Guy Sebastian went from near elimination to the road to triumph in season one of Australian Idol by singing Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music? Watching it still gives me chills. Article continues after this video.
I've also added my sister-in-law to the night because her birthday is close to mine and I had no idea what to get her until I mentioned the musical was showing and she almost jumped up and down clapping, remembering the time she saw a special sing-along version of the movie on the big screen.
My friend who organised the tickets is coming along as well, as is her daughter.
Birthdays shouldn't be about obligation or forcing yourself to do something you don't like. They should be about spending the day doing exactly what you want to do, despite the opinions of others.
I'm also getting some heat for not going with my husband and the shaking of heads when I explain the reason why he isn't joining me. He and I can never fully relax unless one of us is with our kids so he is going to stay home and take care of them so I am free to fully enjoy my night. It's his gift to me (along with an iPhone 6 which an Optus worker accidentally told me I'd be receiving, not realising it was meant to be a surprise gift).
I also have no problem with turning 40 at all. For some reason people feel as though they need to assure me that I look young for my age. I couldn't care less if I do or I don't. I've had friends who didn't make it to 30 due to horrible illnesses and many more who have battled cancer and various illness. Nobody understands more than I do how lucky I am to have made it this far with my health, with my family, with my brilliant career, a roof over my head, food in the cupboards and my parents still with me.
Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good...
Sorry. Not sorry.