39 is hard. For six months now, I've been saying "I'm turning 40 next year", which is still true. I will turn 40, at exactly this time next year. I'm not feeling happy about this 39th birthday and I'd rather ignore it. Maybe I'm unhappy because it's an odd number? No, really it must be the lead up to 40. Most days I feel tired and every one of those 39 years.
I'm not sure why or exactly when I became so anti-birthday. I had fun birthdays as a kid, I spent my 19th birthday in London at a huge gig (featureing The Cure!), a surprise party in my 20s. I went on a cruise with my mum, aunt and cousin for my 30th birthday. I'm pretty sure I enjoyed those. Where did it go wrong? Why can't I allow myself to enjoy my own birthday?
I do feel uncomfortable being the centre of attention and I guess this is where it stems from. Within my tiny family, sing happy birthday and chocolate cake feels OK. Outside that circle? All wrong. Not good.
I've always felt uncomfortable at parties, and now as an "mature woman" I push myself hard to participate, speak up and at least look like I'm enjoying myself. If it is just my close friends, I'm OK. Otherwise I'm freaking out on the inside and mentally exhausted afterwards. I need to work on this, right?!
So, 40 next year. Mum and I share our birthday (my poor and we always said we'd go to Vietnam for our 100th. Wouldn't that be lovely?