Alive at Forty-Five

I have always loved birthdays, and in fact I believe I was one of the originators of the Birthday Festival, which extends the celebration of one’s birth out to include the entire month. I love having all my people around me, going to lunches and dinners and parties and eating cakes. I’m not ashamed to say, I love it all!

Birthdays have become especially meaningful for me since my diagnosis. Every birthday I get is a gift (but I still expect presents). This Friday I turn 45; it will be my second birthday since finding out I had breast cancer. Last year my 44th birthday also marked three months since completion of treatment, and my first taste of alcohol in almost a year. I’m not really much of a drinker at the best of times, but this occasion really called for some serious social lubricant. Hence, I had my party at a pub, where my friends kept a steady supply of drinks up to me for the duration.

The drinks looked like this:


And by the end of the evening, I looked like this:

julie pissed

I didn’t get a photo with all of my friends, because earlier on in the day when I was sober and sensible, I was too busy enjoying everyone’s company to remember photos. But here are some shots of some of the most amazing people in the universe and a one-boobed chick.

Me and my husband. Look at the love on my face! Sure, some of it is attributable to Cointreau, but it’s mostly because of the man who lets me rest on his shoulder whenever I want:

Julie and Dave

My best buddies in the world. The one on the left of the photo flew almost 900 kms to surprise me at this party. I cannot tell you how bloody special that made me feel! The one on the right is The Wind Beneath My Wings.

kylie, julie, karin

My dear friend, whose life has rolled out at the polar opposite to mine (eg she was 17 when she had her first baby, I was 38) but who loves me, and gets me, and warms any room with the wattage of her personality. One day we will write a book together. Check me out clutching my non-existent pearls and braying like a donkey:

julie and katrina

My friend from uni, who I met in 1987. That’s nearly 30 years people!! She sewed me scarves when I was bald, one of them was made out of a beautiful purple fabric that made me feel a bit less like a pirate when I wore it:

julie and susie

This delightful lass and I met at work, and then spent many an evening with as two single 30-somethings watching crappy television and lamenting the lack of eligible men in our respective lounge rooms. Then I found love, and she found love! Then I had a baby boy, and she had a baby boy! She’s definitely not getting cancer though, I will take one for the team in that regard:

julie and kristin

Taking a risk in this shot and leaning over in a v-necked top – the boob out of the box might at any minute land in someone’s drink. The lady on the left I met when we were both about 7 – her parents lived next door to my aunt and uncle. Fast forward 35 years and we work in adjacent offices. During my 8 months off work she regularly emailed me pictures of other people using my beloved coffee mug, just to keep things real. The gorgeous girl in white I used to work with many years ago – she introduced me to the saying ‘I could eat a shit sandwich, but only if the bread was fresh’:

toni, julie and sue

At this point, all of the people who went home before I got the camera out are thinking thank fuck for that.

This Friday I will be in Sydney for my birthday, on a 5-day holiday with my boys and my two best buddies. I cannot tell you how fabulous it was to be 44, and how equally fabulous it will be to turn 45.

future meme

Happy Birthday to me!


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