So here you are. Your last two hours of being Thirty-Two.
You beat the odds, three-hundred billion to one (or whatever they are) of being conceived and born in the first place.
You won the biggest lottery of all.
But here, tonight, specifically we celebrate and ponder on what was Thirty-Two.
How do you measure a successful year? What did you do?
Well you got an amazing new job, that you never in a million years thought you’d even be considered for, it just seemed that perfect, that unobtainable. Here you are now, you’ve almost made it through your first year.
Do you remember your work this time last year? Did it make your heart burst with joy and excitement every day? Did your words start racing a million miles an hour, and your cheeks flush and eyes beam, and your hands fly all over the place as you expressed yourself, and then, when you finally ran out of words, you’ve got to pause and catch your breath because you forgot to exhale that entire time because of all the FEELINGS? You didn’t back then. But you do now.
That’s a secret to life happiness, that you’ve found, right there.
You cracked it. Remember how you were always so worried about never having that passion in your career, never seeing a way to combine what you love, with a way to pay the bills? However long this lasts, wherever you end up in the future, don’t forget that feeling and philosophy. You really CAN have it all. You’ve proved it.
In fact it’s a philosophy you can apply to everything you do:
Only give yourself to people and things that leave you breathless and giddy and a heart so full you think it might just explode in glittery wonder.
Never settle for less.
On that subject…I know what else you’re thinking about this year. The flipside to that professional victory and joy.
The part of the year that jabs you right in the gut and still stings the eyes.
That heart of yours, it got hurt.
Whilst every logical, self-help studying, part of you knows that the legacy of a Love is about the moments that were shared, the memories made, the journey you travelled, and that, well, no matter how good your times were, sometimes life just has to move on. Sometimes, some people, no matter how much you love them, have to leave your story, because your trains are on different tracks.
As philosophical as that all is…It still just fucking sucks. It sucks the most out of anything. It sucks so much that there’s not any elegant or romantic phrasing for it. To give it the dignity of that would undermine the shittiness of it all. So you just gotta say it sucks.
Let’s be real here, at Midnight, you’re going to shed a tear and wish that things could have been different. That they were still there to pull you close, kiss you, and say “Happy birthday, beloved, I love you so much”. So let’s not pretend that’s not how you’re going to feel.
But you’re going to be great. You’re both are. In fact, you’l be better than great, because you had that most special thing of all, that’s just yours and you wouldn’t be where you are now, if it weren’t for it. No one can ever change that.
So don’t go striking this up as a defeat in this little end of year movie montage that you have going on in your head right now. It’s not a sad Coldplay soundtrack that’s playing right now. It’s Prince!
You were both winners in that regard. And you wouldn’t change a thing. That’s the final outcome here.
And despite everything, you’re still an Optimistic Romantic. Your biggest fear has always been becoming so jaded that you become cynical and a non-believer in love. You’re not there yet. Take comfort in that.
And, well, what else?
We your hair is a evolving into the Kate Bush mane of your dreams, and you haven’t fucked about with the colour in the last three – I think that means you’ve found peace with your identity.
And you know what else you’ve stopped fucking around with? Your body. That nasty habit of crash diets, tormenting and hating your poor body seems to have died along with your twenties. This is probably responsible for so much of the current inner-peace you feel. And 60% of your Instagram likes. Be proud of this.
Oh and remember how you took up the cello? That’s bonkers, but incredibly great and brave. I know you think that your tutor thinks you’re a useless moron, but you’re there and that’s what counts. Think how far along you’ll be when you’re writing this to yourself in another years time! You might even be able to play something other than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!
I think what I’m trying to say, what you hopefully know, is that you’ve done okay. You made it. When you look around you, are there people you’re envious of, and wish you could be more like? Are there things you wish you could change about yourself or your life? Sure. But would you want to be anyone else? Never. Not in a million years.
So, on that note. With an hour of this year left to go. Take that gratitude, passion, romance, optimism, and spirit, tuck it into your heart, and let it burn bright into your soul, as you sail into the next twelve months.
The crazy, baffling, scary, amazing, exciting, terrifying thing is that you will never be able to guess where you’ll be in a year. So don’t even try. Just march forward blindly, kindly and always with sparkle and passion and you’ll be just fine.
And this last hour? We know what happens now. It’s what you always do on these significant moments spent alone – you’re a stickler for creating personal tradition;
1. Line up some amazing songs – probably heavy on the Jarvis Cocker – and stare, wistfully, at your gazillion fairy lights
2. Finish that bottle of wine
3 Then you go pour a scotch
4. Take yourself outside and perch on your back doorstep
5. Light a cigarillo
6. Gaze up at the moon, and the stars, as you smoke and sip. With every puff of smoke into the freezing air, you make a little wish and send a little message out to the universe for the coming year. You pray to the vague concept of a God that you will never believe in
Until it’s four minutes to midnight.
7. Get inside
8. Pour another glass
9. Cue up the one song that has seen you through every midnight of every Birthday and New Year for the last few years, the best few years:
Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s your song.
10. Midnight strikes
11. Hit play
12. For 5 minutes 35 seconds dance your heart out. Banish every thought and feeling and care and just dance dance dance. As hard as you can
Welcome to Thirty-Three.
You don’t know what it will bring. But it feels good.
It feels right and you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
But you’re gonna be alright.
You are enough.
Happy Birthday, beloved.