Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Today I am 47 years old.I am not quite sure how that happened.  It sounds quite... middle-aged.
When I was 40, FL got the kids to fill a room with balloons for me - that was pretty surreal!  And 45 found me thoughtful and a little sad:  definitely no party.  47?  More of the same with extra grey hair.

My presents - woo  hoo!
FL actually noticed my grey hair the other day.  He laughed at me.  Oh - that hurt!  When a 76 year old man laughs at you for looking old, you know you have lost your youth. 
I had a haircut a few weeks ago, and the hairdresser seems to have sliced out all of the pigment.  I looked in the mirror and felt... washed out.  The Girl reckons I should hit the dye-pot but I am losing colour from my skin too, so kind of think I ought to accept this with grace.  I don't want to look like I am trying to "cover it up".  But this sudden acceleration from young to old shocks me.
I have been reading Diana Athill.  "Instead of a Letter" finds her at 43 - resigned to aging and writing from a standpoint of loneliness, full of regret for opportunities lost.  But then I read "Somewhere Towards the End", written when she was 89, and she is full of verve and joy and enjoyment of life.  She pokes fun at her younger self.  She found love in her 60's and it transformed her.  I am not saying that "love is the answer"!  Just... that I must not allow other people's expectations of someone my age to define me.
At 20, I was told I was too young for every job I applied for, that I must go away and get some experience and then "come back in a few years".  Of course, I never did.  I had to lower my expectations of finding a career in my field and seek "a job" to pay the rent.  So I gave up on my dreams.  I reckon that's what happens to most people.
My cards - hee hee!
But the place I find myself in now isn't so bad.  I have my First Love - how amazing is that?!  And because I know he won't be around forever, I have learned not to define myself solely in relation to "my man".  I have books and yarn and fabric and dreams.  Yes, I still have dreams, they're just different to the ones I started out with.  That's OK.
So what lies ahead of me in my 47th year?  Who knows!  But I need not to become a bitter old woman.  It would be so easy to slip into a state of seething resentment that things did not turn out differently.  I can't turn the clock back.  I have so much to be thankful for.

 P.S.  You want to know about my presents don't you?

From FL:  An Invisible Zipper foot for my sewing machine (Aargh!  Is there no escape from Invisible Zips?!) which was wrapped in many layers of paper inside a peppercorn packet inside an anchovy packet inside a biscuit box inside a shoe box :D  I actually thought he had bought me a new iron - what a lovely surprise!  He also got me The Marriage Plot and the latest book on Virginia Woolf :)

From The Girl:  Vintage knitting needles made into bracelets :)

From Christine:  Alice Starmore's book on Aran Knitting :)

Yup - spoiled rotten that's me! ; )

Now, if you'll excuse me I am off to the cinema with The Girl for a dose of Twilight!

41 comments:

Suzy said...

Happy Birthday!! Enjoy you day and don't think of your age as a number. It's how you feel taht matters :)

ashley0107 said...

Happy Birthday!! :) I hope you enjoy your day.
Ashley x

Dibs said...

Aww Roo, this is such a sweet post. Happy bday, and I hope you enjoy Breaking Dawn. I watched it on Friday, and had a rare peaceful night's sleep.

Anna said...

Happy Birthday! I'm turning 39 at the end of the month and wondering where the years have gone and reassessing things. Life has a funny way of taking you in directions you had never considered before on the way to trying to reach your dreams!

Hope you have a wonderful rest of the day and a brilliant year to follow!

daisydonut said...

Happy birthday Roo, have a wonderful day.

Laugh at the numbers, keep dreaming and scrub grey out of your hair vocabulary and replace it with silver. See that's much better, silver is all sparkly and glittery and fun!

Lorna said...

Happy Birthday young lady.

Take the girl's (and mine) advice and go for that dye pot. I swear by it. How about going for a semi-permanent colour first? Go on you're worth it. x

superheidi said...

Happy birthday! Gosh, it's astonishing how much I can relate to your thoughts on aging. Enjoy the year ahead!

Katherine said...

Happy birthday!

Lynne said...

Happy birthday, and I hope you have many more! The braclet sounds fab!!

Jane said...

Have a very happy day Ruth. I LOVE your attitude, you do have so much to be thankful for. And what a fabulous present from FL, so, so thoughtful. Enjoy! x

argie said...

Happy Birthday!! I'm going to be 46 in January, so we're pretty much the same age. I'm intermittently freaked out about it but trying not to be. Hmm, I suppose I don't have anything terribly profound to say...but in any case, it seems to me that you've accomplished a lot. Also, just wanted to say I love your writing.

Best wishes!

Clare said...

Have a very happy birthday! I love the quirky way your zipper foot was wrapped, a special way of remembering how your received something, not just the thing you received. I turned 37 last week and dyed out all the silver streaks a week in advance!

Rachel said...

Happy Birthday. I don't usually comment but always read your blog. Thanks for all the inspiration!

Debi said...

Happy Birthday to a truly lovely lady!!!

didyoumakethat said...

Happy birthday, my fellow Walthamstonian (!). You are a very special person and this is another beautiful blog post. How lovely to have this to look back on in years to come. I am convinced that the key to getting older (or staying young in spirit) is an open and flexible mind, which you have. Diana Athill is my heroine. I'm going to hear her talk next weekend!

Minnado said...

Happy Birthday ! I like the sound of FL's inventive gift wrapping technique. Were you very glad it wasn't an iron? Great post. Hope you enjoy the rest of the day. x

happyhermit said...

Vintage knitting needles made into bracelets!! wow, they sound fab. You look amazing, have a great birthday!

Roisin Muldoon said...

Your wry voice is one of my favourites in blogland, Roobeedoo. Happy birthday, fond regards and very very many happy returns xx

Mary Danielson said...

Happy Birthday, Roobeedoo! Hope you enjoy your movie date with The Girl! I'm being dragged to Twilight by my kid sister later today - fingers crossed that it is good for us both. ;)

KC said...

Have a very happy birthday, Roobeedoo!

Sigrid said...

Happy Birthday! Hey we are the same age,but I think I have a lot more grey hairs than you. I really enjoyed the book Going Grey--it had a whole different perspective than what one usually reads. And I do love your attitude. It is refreshing to hear a truthful AND hopeful voice

faeriecollege said...

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Cake and tea and drinks for everyone :D I hope you had a lovely day.

Sarah said...

Roo: Happy Birthday!! I hope you've had a wonderful day. And, I'm with the others.....go for the "dye pot" ......you look so young, keep it up.

Anonymous said...

HELLO, ROO -
GOSH, I LOVE YOUR WRITING, I LOVE THAT YOU PUT INTO WORDS WHAT SO MANY OF US FEEL, AND I LOVE YOUR ATTITUDE. YOU ARE A FABULOUS
I-N-D-I-V-D-U-A-L, AND ALL WHO HAVE THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING YOU MUST TRULY CELEBRATE HOW LUCKY THEY ARE. THIS IS KAREN - NOT A BLOGGER, BUT I AM A DEVOTED MM CAREGIVER/COMMENTATOR. I JUST TURNED 66 AND REALIZE I'M NOT AT ALL DAUNTED BY GETTING OLDER, JUST FLABBERGASTED AND A BIT UNDONE THAT OUR SON IS TURNING 40!!! GAH!
HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROO.

Sarahel said...

Happy Birthday. FL is such a thoughtful gift buyer. I have a similar hairdresser and never fathom how less hair can show so much more grey.

Consciously practicing not being a bitter old woman can become a habit (I like to think!). And the honesty and humour of your blog really helps too.

LK said...

Happy Birthday to you! Birthdays can make you look backwards and forwards, but the best place to be looking is right now, where your dear loved ones are hoping to make your day wonderful. I just became 43.

I'm Lori. I've been reading your blog recently and am so impressed by your prolific knitting and sewing, and your approach to life.

Take care and enjoy 47.

Spikeabell said...

Happy birthday! Can we have a picture of the knitting needle bracelet? well done The Girl for that gift. I've had a thickening streak of 'silver' since my early twenties (now accompanied by a liberal scattering allover)..do what you want with it..shock FL and The Girl by going deep purple :):) I love your blog..totally in awe of your knitting prowess, you come across to me like a talented, creative, caring and active person who *does* things! best wishes!

DaisySteiner said...

Happy birthday, Roobeedoo.

If you aren't happy with the current colour of your hair I can recommend henna. My mum first used it a decade ago when she turned 50, after having wanted to be a redhead most of her life and she's really happy with it. I'm 30 and I'm in the process of going henna red myself to deal with my own encroaching greys. It's a very happy colour.

Joy said...

Happy Birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day.

Sue Sharp said...

When I was 47, we sold the house we had live in for 18 years, I resigned from my (rather successful, if I say so myself) career and we moved to France. It was really, really scary but ten years later, we're still here, still enjoying the complexities of a different culture and wondering what the next challenge will be. So keep calm and carry on (dying your hair along the way, if you want to)and celebrate the birthdays but don't count the numbers.

Melizza said...

¡Felicidades! Happy birthday!

Sadie said...

Happy Birthday! I always worry about invisible zipper feet - if you put them down absent-mindedly how do you ever find them again if they're invisible?

tim's wife said...

Happy Birthday Roo! Did I know that yours was the same as my sister's already? 11-20-2011. Lucky numbers I bet. My sis turned half a century yesterday so you are just a young lass.

Tanit-Isis said...

Happy birthday! My mom reports her 50s being much better than her 40s.

Now, did those youthful dreams include being a world-famous sewing/knitting blogger? ;)

shivani said...

happy birthday!!!

I started going grey when I was 25, but I too henna my hair and get loads of compliments (apparently it looks like I've got very expensive highlights - ha!

so glad you got spoiled with lots of treats! i hope you had a truly wonderful day!

blue hands said...

A little late to the party, but Happpy Birthday! You write beautifully about the doubts/pleasures/pitfalls of ageing. Consciously avoiding the trap of feel self pity and bitterness is a HUGE virtue. (I have know several older people whose lives had really been pretty good who still managed to fall into that trap as old age claimed them. I think self-awareness is all, and if you can stare life in the face and accept the hand you have been dealt you're all set to manage ageing well and (importantly) to be surrounded by loved ones because they want to see you. As far as the grey hair goes, mine started when I was in my twenties and more or less all changed by the time I was 40. I still miss it, but get compliments on the silver!

Roobeedoo said...

You are all so very kind!
The vintage knitting needle bracelets are the red coils on top of the books :D

Sandy said...

I tuned in late to the birthday news due to a recalcitrant modem, but after it's a New Year for you and hoping your day of celebration trickles on down for awhile with other good things coming your way!

Being 30 years farther down the path, I vaguely recall the angst of being 'nearly 50' which fell away when time went rushing by and suddenly I WAS 50! We just don't know what lies around the corner, and you are protected with all your knitting needles as weapons against - at the least - being bored...

You bring so much to the MM world with your frank observations as a caregiver and I am certain the sewing and knitting worlds benefit greatly from your adventuresome commentary, and I'm awfully glad to be able to wish you a Happy New Year AKA Birthday!!

mooncalf said...

Happy birthday!!!!

(sorry I'm so late!)

Alessa said...

Happy Birthday! Well, happy belated birthday! I hope you had a good time!

47 is not old. Actually, the number sounds old to my 25 year old ears, but my mom is turning 50 next summer and still comes across pretty youthfully. Age is just a number, anyway, right? It's the dreams that count.

Hehe, I love the misleading packaging of you invisible zipper foot! And those knitting needle bracelets look really cool. :)

Annie said...

Many belated Happy Birthday wishes Roo. I'm five years ahead of you and can handle the greying hair on my head but am baulking at the thought of grey eyebrows!!!