I may or may not (but probably the first one) have mentioned here before that I did not deal well with turning 30. The combination of moving away from London, where I’d thought I was going to settle permanently, never having had a significant romantic relationship and having no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life just was a pretty bad combination, I guess. By the time I was 34 or so, I had recovered for the most part, and I was determined to enjoy the segue into 40, no matter what was going on.
I know I hoped I’d be married by 40, but various things were making that seem less and less likely, so I started making 40th-birthday plans for myself as if I wouldn’t be. I was turning 40 right around the time of the London Olympics, so I started saving up money (in miniscule amounts because that was all I could manage) to take myself back “home” to London as my 40th birthday present for myself during that time. I didn’t actually plan to go to the Olympics (I definitely couldn’t have afforded that, and anyway, I’m not all that sporty, as the British say) but they’re happening in my old borough, so I kind of wanted to be there for all the fal-de-rol. I’m pretty sure most of the locals hate it, and I probably would, too, were I still a local there, but I’m not anymore, and I’m curious.
Then I found out that a conference I already knew I was going to have to attend with some of the Youth Group was starting on my 40th birthday. The nerve of them! How did they not consult me first? And then I met my Paul. Once we figured out that our relationship was actually going to be a relationship, I began gradually to relinquish the London-in-2012 idea in favour of the married-in-2012 idea. But I still don’t get to be with my new husband on my birthday. So last night he threw me a mini-party.
We went for a little swim in together in the middle of the pond in the late afternoon, and when we got back, Alicia and her pal, “Second Second Kid” (her other pal is “Original Second Kid”) were over and we munched on shrimp cocktail until the twin lobsters and corn on the cob were done. We sat on the deck and got brine and butter all over our fingers and arms as you’re meant to when you eat lobster and corn on the cob, and Paul and I drank wine which Alicia and Second Kid tried (unsuccessfully) to get us to let them drink, too. Then we cleaned ourselves up and exited the lobster carnage, so as not to be personally visited by the Bear in the night or anything, and had coffee and ice cream cake. And then?
Then we went to the movies. Drive-in movies.
Okay, see, London? I’ve done before. Drive-in movies? Were a first. This is a little bit of “American experience” (do other countries have these?) that I’ve always wanted to try but have somehow never managed to. I’m not really even sure how to describe how excited I was about this. Who cares that it was buggy and the bug spray was pretty rubbish and my Paul and I wished we had brought a blanket to huddle under in our new camp chairs while Alicia and Second Kid sprawled in their blankets in the back of the pick-up truck? We were at the drive-in movies! Plus, one of them was The Avengers, which all of us except Alicia had already seen, but it’s so good that if you haven’t seen it you are doing yourself a disservice.
We got home after one o’clock in the morning and passed out almost instantaneously, but we have the day off today, before I begin my road trip to that conference with the Youth, so we’ve had a leisurely morning, and the sun is out, and all feels right with the world. My Paul is officially good at the birthday thing. Never mind that most people wouldn’t want to celebrate their entrance to Middle Age prematurely. I said I was going to enjoy this birthday–and so I have.