I hadn’t known the birthday girl long. As she pointed out in her speech that could barely be heard above the excited chatter. Apart from six people (yes, one of those was me), she had known the other thirty or so ladies in the room forever. Some since school days, some from work, some she had looked after as kids and watched them grow up…and when you’re celebrating your 70th birthday, then that’s a very long time.
These friends had been friends for years and years and years. And you could tell. There was a relaxed abandon in the room that I had never encountered before. This was an Afternoon Tea with a difference. These women were out to have a good time and to celebrate the life of one special lady with flamboyance and exuberance.
The birthday girl was adorned in green velvet as the Statue of Liberty. Standing tall. Standing proud. Overflowing with confidence and an unmistakable zest for life. Thanking all her friends for all the years. And naming her daughter as her best friend of all.
Inevitably, this overflowing joy (and a little too much alcohol, truth be told) led me to reflect on my life in twenty years. Is this what I will be like? Is this that I will have?
I hope so. I really hope so.
With friends like these, I would feel free to be myself.
With friends like these, I would feel a million dollars.
With friends like these, I would be able to let my hair down.
With friends like these, I would have no need to impress.
With friends like these, I would feel loved and appreciated.
With friends like these, I would feel that age is just a number.
With friends like these, I would be guaranteed a good time.
With friends like these, I would not have to watch what I said or did.
With friends like these, I would be truly happy.
With friends like these, I would laugh and laugh and laugh.
I think this is how our fabulous birthday girl felt. It certainly seemed that way.
And if this is what I want, if this is what any of us want, then I have to start now.
The way I am living now is preparing me for how I will live in twenty years’ time.
For what my 70th birthday party will look like.