So, as this is my Self Indulgent Thingamibobber, I figured what’s more self-indulgent than writing a post all about it being my birthday?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
You may now shower me with attention, birthday wishes and gifts. Please and thank you.
On the 17th October 1978 a big, giant-headed baby finally made her slightly forced entry into the world (I still have a forceps dent in my head, but I’m sure the war wounds my mum has are worse) after putting her poor mother through 3 million hours of labour.
For those of you who don’t know, 1978 was the year of 3 Popes (this is relevant, bear with me). They kept dying or something. I wonder if that’s because they always pick old ones? That’s a bit of design flaw really in Popes. Surely if they picked a younger one, they might last longer. Isn’t that just common sense? I’m not sure what the criteria are for becoming Pope. I’m assuming you need to be Catholic and a man (grrr… girls could totally be Popes too if they were allowed), but do they have to be old? Make them a bit younger and you'll get your moneys worth. Or is that considered age discrimination? I should totally be in charge of Pope recruitment. Anyway, we’re not Catholic so I’m not sure why I’m labouring (do you like what I did there?) the point about the ins and outs of Pope recruitment, but legend has it, while my poor mum was going through the hideous event that is labour, my dad came in and announced that we had a new Pope... I’m sure he was just trying to lighten the mood as everyone had been waiting for a while for the right smoke in The Vatican and this big old baby to arrive in Northwick Park Hospital, but that was literally the last thing my mum cared about.
So, John Paul II was Pope and all that was left was for this giant baby to make an appearance. Finally, I did at 1:52 pm all 8lb 12.5oz of me (fun fact: Chad Logan was also born at 1:52 pm and Brad Logan was 8lb 12.5oz when he was born). Kirsty Velk was in the house! Whoop whoop!
You’ll be pleased to know I’m not now going to do a full day by day run down of my life so far but I thought you might be interested (or not) to know where it all began for Saint John Paul II and me. I am yet to be sainted as he has been. I think you have to be dead to be sainted so this is probably a good thing. I am pretty sure once I pop my clogs though I'll be next in line for a Sainthood or whatever they're called. St Kirsty, Patron Saint of Dr Martens.
When I was a child, like everyone else, I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up. I wanted to be able to wear high heels, makeup, earrings and have all the freedom to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. Turns out I wear high heels possibly once a year (if that) and there’s not really any such thing as having all the freedom to do whatever you want when you're allegedly a grown-up and have children. I do wear makeup. All of the makeup in fact (although not so much over the past 7 months!) and I have a couple of earrings here and there so 50% of the dream isn’t bad.
The first time I remember thinking that growing up may not be such a good thing was when my mum had “the chat” with me about periods. I don’t know how old I was, but I remember so clearly her sitting me down in my bedroom saying she needed to tell me about something. I’m sure some kids have a bit of awareness beforehand of the general theme when they have this chat, but I had literally NO IDEA. Like none. I was horrified and burst into tears. Clearly, if this terrible thing was going to happen to me every month, growing up was going to be hideous! I don’t think I’ve ever talked to my mum about that day since and maybe she doesn’t even remember but I was really, really upset. I remember her looking around my room at the posters on my wall probably desperately trying to think of something reassuring to say while she gave me a cuddle and suddenly said: “It’s ok, even Kylie Minogue gets periods”. Suddenly things felt a bit better. I really did love Kylie and if it meant I was going to be like her I was down with those trumpets.
As it happens, I was right to be hysterical about periods. I mean what even is that? There’s no need for such drama every month. Obviously, I understand the scientific need, but you know what I mean. I do not care if even Kylie gets them, they are rubbish.
Moving on... So, being a grown-up, whatever that is, is a bit overrated. I remember turning 20 and feeling so old. Mr D and I moved in together when I was 20 and looking back that was way too young. I’m amazed neither of my parents (and by neither of my parents I mean my mum because my dad would have been less likely to say anything) said more about it at the time. There were other family shenanigans going on then so maybe that was at the forefront of their minds and they realised that actually, 20 is a grown-up so there’s not much they could have done. Looking back though I wasn’t a grown-up at all. I really wish we had heeded Mr D’s Nan’s advice to get a mortgage rather than rent. We’d have nearly paid it off by now rather than being 3 years into a 25-year term. Anyway, we thought we knew better so there you are.
I then had a couple more birthdays and suddenly I was 29 and about to turn 30. That TOTALLY snuck up on me. I was not happy about being 30 at all. I didn’t want a party or a fuss or anything. It was just another day. Looking back, I think it was because I didn’t really feel like I had a lot to show for my 30 years. I had a full-time job that I enjoyed well enough I guess but I didn’t have children (and wasn’t even sure I was that fussed about having them, how wrong was I?) and we were STILL renting. I didn’t particularly feel like I had achieved much.
But by the time I turned 40, it all felt a bit different. I didn’t feel the same kind of meh/dread about turning 40 that I had at 30 and I think there are a few reasons for that. First of all, the boys… I was the proud owner of those two scallywags Chad and Brad by then and we all know they are the best things ever. Mr D and I had FINALLY got a mortgage… How weird is it that saddling yourself with £200k worth of debt is a good thing? I was doing a job I loved at a company I loved, and I really felt as if I was making a difference. Most of all though, I think I had just become more grateful for my life. I’ve talked before about my friends Vicky and Maryanne passing away way too young and, amongst other things, it’s made me realise how fortunate I am to have made it to this age. We’re not guaranteed any length of life and I think most people, myself included, take it for granted that we wake up each morning.
So, luckily for everyone, I have continued to wake up each morning for the past 2 years… A lot earlier than I want to most days (including today) thanks to Chad Logan, his inability to sleep past 6 am and his secondary inability to not wake me up to tell me he’s awake. The last couple of years have been ok in the main and then not so ok starting with redundancy nearly a year ago and then the madness that has been 2020. Have a word with yourself 2020. What do you think you are playing at? Things are starting to get better though and everything will be ok again. This too shall pass and all that.
Today I am 42 which feels strange if I really think about it. I very clearly remember my parents turning 40 and me thinking they were SO OLD. They looked like they had it all together and knew what they were doing. Now I’m past that age and I still feel like I’m 18 or 19 (because it’s 1997, right?) and I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m very much winging it. I wonder whether my parents felt like that too and because I’m their child I didn’t realise. I wonder whether Chad and Brad think I have my shiz together. Maybe if I stop shouting “OMG I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING, I CAN’T DO THIS” every 5 seconds they might.
Famously, according to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (which I've never read so have no real right to use this quote), 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything”, which sounds very exciting and enlightening. Hopefully, that applies to the age of 42 as well but we will see. Perhaps everything will start to make sense soon. As long as I keep waking up every morning (a bit later than 6 am please Chad) and my family and friends stay safe and well then that’s all that really matters, isn't it? I don’t really need any further answers to big questions unless it's “what’s your favourite kind of cheese?".