I am feeling quite grown-up this year: for the first time ever, I have come to work on my birthday. It's kind of nice. I have eaten cake for breakfast (a lot of it; I actually feel slightly sick as I type this - lovely) and there will be a lunchtime excursion to the pub.
Of course, this is related to the fact that this is the first birthday when I have lived alone. I feel genuinely empowered by this fact lately; in honour of this, I'm having an actual house party on Saturday night, for the first time in years. This morning I woke up luxuriously in bed and took my grandmother's advice to look in the mirror, smile and say 'it's my birthday and I am the best!'.
Last year, I spent much of my birthday alone drinking wine in an art gallery in Hastings, being ignored by French people (long story). My book was two days away from being published. That all seems a very long time ago indeed.
Instead, today, I find myself thinking more of birthdays long ago - my sixteenth birthday in the middle of my GCSEs, still in school uniform and spent with my friend Rachael and maybe the last real birthday of my childhood; the following year was a whirling, drunken, technicolour swirl with a million friends and a new short haircut. I feel closer to that person now than I do to some of my more adult selves. My fifteenth birthday, wearing a long skirt and a Red or Dead T-shirt that I bought in Selfridges and thought was the coolest thing ever - I can scarcely believe that was 20 years ago today.
Fortuitously, this morning I read this brilliant interview with the wonderful Bat for Lashes. I have loved her since I first saw her at Glastonbury around the time Fur and Gold came out. She is one of those artists I have always felt very close to - I have always had the sense that she *could* be my friend, even though she isn't. Every album she has released so far has somehow reflected my own thoughts and concerns about myself and the world. In this interview, she has basically read my mind and articulated pretty much my exact feelings on turning 35. I feel like she's a celestial big sister, just a really cool and famous one who I've never actually met..!
For some reason, yesterday I thought of this song - which again I hadn't listened to for about 20 years. It really made me laugh. I really think that everything's going to be OK.