It is our birthday today.  My twin sister and I are each fifty years old: fifty years not out.  And I am totally, utterly delighted.  In cosmic terms, my sigh of relief and gratitude is audible from here to seventh heaven and beyond.

I can’t speak for those who may bewail this ageing milestone, but I have to say, I have never been more cheerful about a birthday.  In past years, filled with the angst of youth, I have fancied myself very grown up, maturing and learning lessons, while uneasily eyeing the horizon of older age, unsure what it would bring:  prognostications of doom were never far behind my efforts to find and enjoy a life of my own choosing.

Now, having arrived at this day not only unscathed but facing a bright, buoyant future filled with hope, adventure and love, I feel such deep playfulness and joie de vivre.  Despite the cold, the rainy sleet and the tendency to confine oneself indoors with a surfeit of turkey leftovers and superannuated mince pies, I feel a child-like glee.

One way or another, I have managed to confound many critics to get to today, while remaining upright, more-or-less in one piece, and without the aid of too many perambulatory mechanisms. If I have managed to arrive here while feeling variously down in the dumps, grumpy and stranded, then, armed with my new optimism, the future is very bright indeed.   Vila_Isabel-31

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