HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
It's my birthday. I'm forty seven years old (don't tell anyone) today. And I'm feeling...... sad.
I've been trying to put my finger on why, so I can explain it to you. I'm not usually morose. I'm usually a glass half full kind of girl (I'm not going to make a joke about that one again!).
The closest I can get to a description is this:
When you quit drinking, your brain starts to fire on all cylinders for the first time in a long while. People describe finding long lost talents and huge stores of creativity, and that is certainly the case for me.
I've always loved words, but I'd written nothing more challenging than a shopping list for years. Then I quit drinking, started this blog, and the words just began pouring out of my finger tips like someone had reconnected some dodgy plumbing somewhere in my head.
A reader sent me an e-mail recently, describing how she drinks to cope with a hugely high powered and stressful job. I understand. I did the same.
But now, I look back and think how amazing I would have been at that job if I'd been sober! Imagine - firing on all cylinders from 7am. Full of energy after a great night's sleep. Calm, collected, but buzzing with ideas.
I'd have been unstoppable!
And that's what's making me rather sad. I'm forty-seven years old (if I write it down often enough, I might get used to the idea), and my tango with a malignant tumour a few months ago has made me realise that LIFE IS SHORT!
I really want to achieve more. Create something. Leave a legacy. Make my kids proud.
I have a finished novel in my desk drawer, and plot lines for three more in my head. I need to get over my fear of failure and stop letting life (and cancer) get in the way.
Apart from anything else, we need the money. Poor Mr SM is feeling the strain of having been pretty much the sole breadwinner for the last seven years.
We spend more than we earn every year which is, obviously, unsustainable. My birthday party on Friday will take me right up to the limit of my credit lines.
And I want to be a good example for my children - especially my daughters.
About three years ago, when #3 was at nursery school, the teacher asked them all what they wanted to be when they grew up. They said things like 'a doctor', 'a fireman' and 'a teacher.' Then it was #3's turn. She said, very proudly, 'I want to chat on the 'phone and go the gym, like Mummy.'
I was mortified! I'm a FEMINIST! I was a Board Director of a top ten advertising agency before the age of thirty!
Getting sober is like being unplugged from The Matrix.
You begin to realise that for years you've been floating around, anaesthetised, in a sort of dream world. Gradually you start to see the world as it really is.
It's brighter, more raw, more exciting. But it's also scary and dangerous.
Sometimes life off-Matrix is so hard that you consider going back to the floaty dream place, but having seen the Matrix for what it really is, you know that would be madness. You realise that the people still in it are prisoners, even if they don't know it yet.
Now I see the real world, with all its beauty and potential, I want to be like Neo and kick the ass out of it.
But I have so far to go. I've not had karate training. I've wasted so much time. And that's what's making me sad.
Love SM x