Today, 8th October 2023 is my 50th birthday and I’m spending it in London with Ian, Poppy and her boyfriend Oliver. (Harry’s back at university).
I wrote and scheduled this post in late September. As I write, I’m filled with a host of different emotions. Happiness and excitement of course. Gratitude for everyone and everything in my life. But overwhelmingly, I have a sense of relief and also fear, because it’s been the hardest five months our family has ever faced. My wonderful, amazing mum was diagnosed with cancer in May. Since then she’s had four rounds of brutal chemotherapy and major, and I mean major, surgery. At this stage, the outcome of the surgery looks very positive although she’s dealing with a few post-op sequelae currently. Throughout, she has been positive, stoical and unbelievably brave. She’s also been terrified, vulnerable and very, very poorly.
As a family, we’ve been overwhelmed with the love, kindness and support from family, friends, workmates and neighbours. The NHS has been utterly brilliant; she has received exemplary care from day one. She won’t won’t me to dwell on this so I won’t, but I do want to dedicate this blog post to her as a thank you for bringing me into the world and for loving and supporting me for half a century. I’m certain both her and my dad cannot believe they have a 50 year-old child.
A Life-Changing Decade
A lot has happened over the last decade. It really has been life-changing. I met and married the love of my life. I moved house. Twice. I went back into optometric practice and found a job in the best place with the best team I’ve ever worked with. My work outstde of practice has been wide and varied. The work I do with Stepper, MAC Eyewear and Optometry Today all came about in the last few years and I love each and every facet of my career and the people I work with.
Poppy and Harry are in their twenties. Poppy is a Durham University graduate and Harry a Durham undergraduate. My youngest brother and his wife had two little girls- one was born here and one in New Zealand where they now live. Ian and I had the joy of crossing to the other side of the world to stay with them back in March.
A Photo Per Decade
I’m happier in my own skin than ever before- I have the love of an amazing man to thank for that. I’m more confident in myself in every way and I’m much stronger than I was when I turned forty. I do however feel more mortal- partly because of my mum’s illness; life has never felt so precious.
So as I enter this new half century, the strongest of all my emotions right now is hope along with gratitude for everybody that loves and cares for my family and for me.
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