sugar pop

My birthday tradition… that time of the year again. 
42. The answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. And I am waving goodbye to it on Tuesday. It was an interesting year. I started out full of energy and hope and excitement as always, and end it with a strange melancholy I’d not seen coming. An extended introspection which has left me feeling ‘out of body’. But in turn, stronger and more powerful for it. Like something big and important happened and however it ended, there was learning and inspiration. Not from him… but from the allowing myself to feel again. And a sweet tasting discovery that I am actually ready to stand out there and let someone else take the lead, take my hand. 
So this birthday I had a little place in my heart that thought perhaps, I would get to share it with someone special. A little slap n’ tickle, a lot of laughter. Drinking til dawn and a dollop of chaos. Meh. It makes it no less worth celebrating solo. I have always looked forward to birthdays. Not for the party or cake or even super lovely affirmations from my people around the world. I embrace them because at times in my life… I have not wanted to see another one. 
And sometimes I remember the resentment of having stayed, being made to stay, being asked to stay. And sometimes I mourn the sensitive, empathic girl I was, who found the world such an achingly sad place that she didnt want to be in it. But mostly, mostly, I give thanks every year for the gift of my journey. And the wonders that I see and hear, and the feeling of it all. The chance at a smile, simple joys, the tug at my heart when a loved one is close. So I celebrate. Another year ventured through. 
Every year, since I was 16, I’ve held dear a birthday tradition. The ‘new view’. I have not yet broken the pilgrimage. The premise is to open a window on the morning of my birthday and look upon a new place. Be in a new place. Experience a new vista. Start again. Start the next 12 months with clear, fresh eyes and excitement for what they may bring. 
I’ve always enjoyed spontaneous roadtrips and have traveled all over the UK; know the geography of England and Scotland better than most natives. But my birthday tradition has been the motivation to discover new towns or seek out places I’ve not visited before, not woken in; Bruges, Venice, Rome, Ludlow… I have woken in some of the most beautiful, quaint, or awe-inspiring rooms. And the day can lead to wandering wintery cobbled streets, walking crystallised pathways, or tramping wind-blasted hilltops. I’ve been in a capacity crowd at Twickenham, and have sat for 5 hours to have a piece of artwork etched into my back. 
This year? Well. I had booked a lush hotel room to surprise a boy, thinking it would be the scene of quaffing bubbles and the use of a giant hearth-rug in front of an open stone fireplace. But I’ve cancelled that, with a resigned smile and wistful nod to my recent, unusually inflated, sense of romance. 
And there will still be wine.  And wandering.  I will fling open the little window of my tiny budget hotel room, and gaze out on a New View at sunrise. Then there will be nostalgia and old haunts. There will be motorbikes and music.  And I will be happy on the anniversary of my birth day. I will know I am blessed, and celebrate another year gifted.
‘Emma’s Box Hill’ – Surrey 

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