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'Milestone' birthdays, fete or forget? Saturday July 1, 2017

This year our 2nd son is 60, our 5th 'child' is 50. Last year our 1st son was 60, his son was 30, my brother-in-law 90, and we celebrated all of them. We never lack an excuse for a party.

I was recently thinking of 'Life begins at 40' (a 1932 book on 'Self-Help'), more realistically Daily Telegraph research shows 'The fourth decade heralds the beginning of the end' (very cheering). Then you have the 'Seven Ages of Man', apparently from Jacques, in Shakespeare 'As you like it' who was 'Jaded, cynical and melancholy'.

So, in my 9th decade, have all milestones been notable? Well, you decide. 10 years old we had bonfires to celebrate end of WW2, and I started grammar school (scary) and got used to flashers on the bicycle route! At 21, I already had a child, and was interviewing our first employee. The phone went, I handed him the child. Plaintive cry 'Your boy's being sick over me'. We're still friends.

The decade 35 to 45 is 'lost'; five children, three house moves, and manic depressive – hospitals, scared of going mad, endless changes of drug, two operations – how we all stuck together through that lot beats me.

But, at 40, I had my first article published and paid for! A real milestone, given what it lead to. At 50, I went to University (the decision was made when very drunk, never regretted). At 60, real life change – living in France, and a writer, researcher and historian. 70 – Lovely clothes (see blog on 'Target') and dancing in the fountains in Paris.

Then, this decade - biggest challenge of all. Leaving our lovely historic house and converting an old shop to provide an 'ambience' which would please me aesthetically and deal with the practical needs of a very sick husband.

Among our pictures is the 100th birthday of my mother-in-law with a telegram from the Queen. I don't think I'll aspire to that – I think her purse won't stretch to all the centenarians. Should she still be alive, she'll be 109, not impossible and poor Prince Charles 87!

So are your 'milestones' joyous, tinged with sadness, or a complete blur?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Molly Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 3:08am

Hi Gardener. You have led a very interesting life! My milestones are tinged with sadness. I don't like occasions anyway - perhaps that is the reason! Also agree with the blur at some points in my life. You have a great memory of everything. I read recently that the average age to live is 110. With that in mind, I reckon you will be getting that telegram from the Queen! Or maybe you will have to make do with Charlie.... but I like how you make me feel young! Good on you Gardener for the life you have led and the way you are coping now, it is admirable. Molly xx

Jane SG Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:44am

I agree with Molly, it is admirable how you look after Mr G and cope TG xx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:37pm

Molly, most chuffed (lovely old-fashioned word) that you should feel young! I HAVE been lucky, to have the chances (and to seize them) to do so much

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:37pm

Molly, most chuffed (lovely old-fashioned word) that you should feel young! I HAVE been lucky, to have the chances (and to seize them) to do so much

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:37pm

Molly, most chuffed (lovely old-fashioned word) that you should feel young! I HAVE been lucky, to have the chances (and to seize them) to do so much

Sally Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:28am

Lovely blog , Gardener, so well put. I think it is fascinating to assess and review the milestones of one's life. I do it , certainly. When I worked in France, they called it "faire le point", I haven't found the English equivalent... anybody? You have had a most interesting life and are still firing on all cylinders ( when present life situation lets you!) I aspire to be like that in my 9th decade, should I reach it...

I am back in circulation. Numb and not able to function properly for past 6 weeks after shock of dear friend's suicide. Thanks for comments from Moodscopers. There is plenty of love and goodwill in the world .

Jane SG Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:42am

Big hugs Sally. I'm glad you are back in circulation xx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:35pm

Sally, sorry about your grief. Despite the agony and misery which lead to such an awful 'final solution' there is a 'selfish' side to suicide, they're out of it, friends and family live often with guilt, 'surely we could have done something'. When I was near suicide a few months ago I just kept saying 'you can't leave family and friends with such a legacy', no morbid thought that I would be missed, but that the hurt to others was virtually cruelty

The woman whose feet don't touch th Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:36am

Such an interesting life - thank you for sharing - looking forward to next instalment....

Jane SG Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:41am

Dear TG, I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing your milestones. I actually love birthdays, my own and others. Whether this will continue, as I get older, don't know but when I read about your life TG I think of many colours. I hope I will have a colourful life as I get older. I was told the other day that I'm no spring chicken. I'm 47!! Xx

Jane SG Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:45am

PS On my 40th, for my party, I wore a rainbow colour dress and rainbow shoes. Thinking they may still fit for my 50....!

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:39pm

With this blog I sent a photo of my garden which acted as the 'back-drop' for so many parties. Presume space or technology prevented it being printed

Another Sally Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:56am

Dear Gardener, I love the stories you tell of your life. So many interesting phases. I hope a new, more restful phase will come to you soon.
For my mother's 70th we drove from Kent to Devon for the day. I telephoned to wish her a happy birthday, pretending we were in Kent but only a mile away. Then we turned up on the doorstep to surprise her.
For my 40th we had a party in our garden and had a fly past of a spitfire and a hurricane - coincidental because ithere was an air fair nearby. My 50th and silver wedding anniversary were the same year so we had a big party, lots of friends and family.
So mostly happy milestones for me.
Happy milestone day for those who are celebrating this year.
AS :-)

David Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 8:03am

Hello Gardener, Good Blog age is just a number for milestones from a Silver Surfer.

Orangeblossom Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 8:09am

Hi The Gardener, thanks for your blog, which, as ever, I enjoy reading. Tomorrow, my son, Tom will be 35. Hard to believe. He is generally fun to be with, & his sister and he get on reasonably well. Stopped believing in sun signs. They are both cancerians, but very different. Our children's birthdays are more of a milestone for me. Also my Mum's who will 88 next birthday. I like to think of birthdays as days when I allow others to celebrate me as I like to celebrate them on their birthdays.

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:41pm

When my mum was 90 I made sponge cakes in the shape of a 9 and an 0 - and put 90 candles on them! Had not reckoned on HOW to light those candles without seriously burned fingers.

LP Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 9:10am

Hi TG,
It seems that in a way life really did take off for you at forty!
My twenties were about my independence, rediscovering life beyond my controlled childhood. I took up flamenco!
My thirties raising a family, with the energy to get involved in their school community.I took up yoga
My forties I outgrew being married to someone wanting to be carried! I socialised and took up Zumba!
My 50th was marked spectacularly by my family, I have been wanting to do me, make my own choices, to feel that my life is my own. My children are discovering adulthood and I am here for them.
I have found what I really wanted, someone who is considerate and there for me. I've taken up walking.

I'm full of admiration for your full and varied life TG, so many exotic stories to tell, so much vibrancy elegance, energy and people.
Thank you for the chance to reflect, it's made me realise that it's not all about what's in my head.
Moodscope hugs to you and all :) LP xx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 11:22am

LP, I adore flamenco - I am thought to be 'musical' but I was rubbish at flamenco - I can learn languages, but not dance steps. Rest of class already ready for a show, I had not mastered the Sevillanas - and as for castanets - then (love the skirts) but cannot 'flick' them - flashing eyes make me cross-eyed - but oh, that music - and the Bulleras? Where everybody does their own thing.

LP Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 3:56pm

Those were my favourites, the flowing twirling Sevillanas and the stomping passionate Bullereas! Great fun! I got the basics with castanettes, first tapping each finger on the edges starting with the little one. 1234 1234 then rolling them faster as you would drumming fingernails in a table and a sharp snap of the other castanette after each roll. Then roll snap, roll snap, snap snap! Oh you've given me the bug!!! Love everything about flamenco! :)) xx

seerightly Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 9:19am

This blog post is so wonderful. I've been reading Moodscope blogs for a long time and find them all so inspiring. This is the first time I've dared to comment, but I just had to. Thank you so much for sharing x

LP Sun, Jul 2nd 2017 @ 3:43am

Welcome seerightly! It's lovely to have you here :)) xx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 11:13am

To all who have replied already, glad that mostly nice memories are evoked. Just lugged flowers, Mr G, wheel-chair to church in rain to do flowers - raising a glass who are celebrating anything today (even just being alive!). I wrote this blog before the appalling Grenfell Tower tragedy. As I review those 8 decades I realise I have been so, so lucky. I've always had space. In 1956, first child born, we could not afford any available rented accommodation, and a 10 year waiting list for council housing. The state of UK housing is a scandal - no matter how hard our grand-children work, all they can aspire to is an expensive shoe-box. The spotlight is thoroughly on the quality (!!) of housing available to poor, single parents, immigrants. Even 1930's ribbon development, or those rows of terrace houses you see leaving any main-line station had a pocket-handkerchief garden, or a yard. Enough to dry the washing, have a sandpit and even a rabbit hutch. Here, although in a town, I have a lovely terrace, town streets and squares have trees and well thought-out flowers, the river and super walks are 5 minutes away. I had not thought till this blog how your own space is a luxury. Seerightly, now you've started, keep right on. xx

Leah Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 11:15am

I agree with Molly's comments, Gardener you really live life to the fullest despite setbacks.
I am thinking about this topic as I am 60 in over 6 months time.
Dont like a big fuss and being centre of attention.
Children say what do you want and then do what they think I should have. I was going to write a blog until I saw yours. Take care xx

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 11:55am

Leah - I know many people who don't like a big 'fuss'. But, more and more, I find people's children WANT to acknowledge their parents, give them a treat, however simple, to say 'thank you for having us'. Let the kids rip, and enjoy the consequences

Cyndi Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 1:50pm

Thank you for your blog! How timely. Milestones for me, are important. Even growing up I never thought I would live past 35. I do not know where that number came up, but that was it. I thankfully and blessedly was married at 34. Marriage has kept me going through some horrendous bouts of Mental Illness. We had a big party when I turned 50, and last week we had an even bigger one since my husband and I are both 60 for a month. (I turned 60 on June 21st and he turns 61 on July 21). It is a BIG deal. We had a wonderful celebration with friends and family (over 70!)! (It was a "no Gift" affair, so I have limited "thank you's" to do). I am proud to make it to 60, though have my aches and pains, LOL. Celebrate your milestones for there may be no tomorrow is my motto.

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 5:45pm

I have rose-coloured glasses about birthdays when I was a child. We always had tea at the 'OLd Mill House' (now under the M3). It is the day after mid-summer day, and the sun always seemed to shine. Doubtful, BUT my parents, whose marriage was grim, always 'buried the hatchet' for Christmas and my birthday, and the fact that the day was peaceful probably made me feel it was sunny.

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:19pm

Having survived the day (quite hairy) returned to blog. For Mr G's 70th I wanted a street party - mayor agreed - family protest, all the drunks would gate-crash. Forebore to say most of them would be there already. Had dinner in school canteen, kids played in playground. Youngest grand-son, adorable 5 year old, came to say that his current love, the fetching baker's daughter, blonde, with bunches, would not speak to him. Different language, of course. About 2 a.m I felt sorry for staff dealing with buffet and drinks, and the accordionist, 75+, so I closed proceedings. Those still game collected the half-empty wine bottles and made for their hotel. Meanly, hotels had taken tables and chairs in. So, the crowd sat on the kerb, drinking and singing the blues. Nobody was run in, and we still seem to be OK in the town.

The Gardener Sat, Jul 1st 2017 @ 7:48pm

Last word, France Musique playing joyous music, and I have a grouse. I am forbidden fireworks. I've never killed anybody or set fire to anything (not with fireworks, anyway), most unfair. Thanks to all who shared their memories, enlivened the day no end.

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