As my mother often tells me, “One thing you can rely on in this life, is that nothing stays the same.”
She has a point.
Oh mothers are wise creatures, are they not? Well, they’ve lived this life longer than us, they’ve experienced more than us, and so I’m inclined to agree with my mum on this one.
The world we live in is a changing place.
Not just the obvious things such as technology, and inflation. But circumstances, and therefore people can change.
I’m not saying people completely change, our traits and habits are hard to break. It’s circumstances which can alter our way of thinking, and so the changes commence.
Sometimes change can be positive.
Unfortunately, when unpleasant situations occur we feel let down by life and we try to protect ourselves. People can become cynical, perhaps less tolerant. And as a result, friends can become strangers.
I’m reaching another milestone next year. My 40’s are creeping up on me. They are rudely poking their way into my future horizon.
Some days I think it’s fine, bring ‘em on! For once in my life I’m content. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin. I’ve learnt by my mistakes and I’ve also learnt to really appreciate many wonderful things I may once have taken for granted.
Other days I think, oh no, am I ready for this?! Do I really want to celebrate the fact I’m older than my friends and husband? (I have a husband now dear readers, another unbelievably happy change.)
Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, becoming 40 equals I’m maybe half way, more or less, through my life!
Last week I was celebrating husband’s friend’s birthday, and I let slip to my audience the big four o is fast approaching.
“You can’t be that old! You don’t look that old!” I was told. Thanks. But then I immediately wished I hadn’t confessed as the vain part of me thought, perhaps now they will look closer at my face and realise, yes I do have a few lines, sneaky tell tale signs. And yes I may wear my hair in a long, young fashion, and I may wear what I like to consider ‘quirky’ clothes. But now will they silently think that I should dress in an appropriate manner, and is that style and hem line suitable for a nearly 40 year old?!
Oh bugger it, you’re as old as you feel. And I don’t feel old!
Yet am I ready for balloons and banners displaying my age, and cards mocking my birth date?
So I’m wondering if a party is really the way forward? Would it be safer for husband and I to visit one of those famous fine dining restaurants I’ve always wanted to sample, and a hotel I thought I could never afford?
There is another reason, dear readers.
My 30th was a completely different kettle of fish. What a strange expression. Fancy owning a silver, polished, kettle full of stinky little fish. Who is responsible for this catch phrase? It really doesn’t make sense. But I diverse.
On my 30th my friends were responsible for providing me with my best birthday ever. They’d listened and remembered that I’d admitted I’d never visited a health spa, but wouldn’t that be nice.
I did not actually know I was about to visit a health spa. They kept the location a secret. They bundled me in a car and during my journey pointed out pictures of me stuck on lampposts and traffic lights, with the words, “Happy 30th Nikki!” for all to see. I was touched. I was grinning and cheering. I was excited that I was the first friend to celebrate her 30th birthday.
We reached the health spa, where the thoughtful occasion fell into place, and my hotel room was decorated with balloons and banners. One friend had spent hours baking and adorning a cake, with a picture of myself and George Michael on the perfect icing. As you know by now, I’ve always been a huge George Michael fan, and how funny of my friends to remind me on my birthday cake!
We indulged in facials and massages and lazed around in white fluffy dressing gowns, when we weren’t splashing in the pool and sipping healthy drinks.
I was showered with gifts, we munched our way through a posh meal, and we stayed over night at the luxurious accommodation, merrily, giggling away, into the tiny hours. Or rather, we giggled away until one friend vomited red wine EVERYWHERE and operation clean up and sober up began. We did not wish to be charged for any damage, or for our friend to continue guzzling burgandy liquid at our peril.
But we all got on!
The girly gang, I used to call us. 6 solid friends who played important, poignant parts in all of our lives.
I thought we’d always be friends together.
We all did.
I would like to add here that I am still friends with every single one of the girls mentioned. Alas, the friendships ties which held us all together have been forever severed.
Circumstances have altered, and certain friends are no longer on speaking terms with each other. I’ve tried to be the peace maker, but you also have to respect other’s opinions and points of view.
We’ve all had our fair share of up’s and down’s. Some more than others. Between us we’ve suffered 3 marriage break downs and personal, private stuff which I won’t go into detail about, but it has changed the way we were.
Certain friends have moved miles away, geography has also changed the time we can spend in each other's company.
But one thing’s for sure, we’ve made incredible memories together. We’ve laughed and cried, and all the bits in between.
Life has nearly broken few of us. Health issues and family matters have chipped away and left a sour taste in a once sweet, innocent life.
I would truly love for the 6 of us to all be together again. Just the 6 of us. The original girly gang, all together, in the same room.
I am ever the romantic.
Imagine if we could all return to the health spa, raise a glass of champagne to this long and twisted road we've travelled on. The redundancies, death and debt we've faced, and let’s not forget the seven beautiful, precious, children which have been made along the way.
But it aint gonna happen.
Yep, things have really altered.
I’m grateful that they're all still a valuable part of my life, individually. This is a blessing that I’m thankful for.
So my next mile stone could be a safe, plush restaurant and swish hotel with husband.
Or maybe a party could still be on the cards?
The originals would all receive invites to the party, and could all be in the same room, and I hope, I’m sure, I know, it would all be amicable. We are all grown ups and we know how to behave. They’d now be other people to fill the room. Other friends I have met in the years that followed my 30th. Other friends they could mingle with, and it would not be so apparent that we are no longer the girly gang.
Sadly, as my mum often tells me, “One thing you can rely on in this life is that nothing stays the same.”
Sometimes this is a good thing.
Yet over times, I really wish it wasn’t true.