It has been ages since I last sat down to write, and I do mean ages. I was a mere thirty-something typing out my last blog and before I knew it, I had entered into a new decade. Not that it was by any means a surprise, I mean I have been heading towards forty for at least the last forty years. I guess something inside me was hoping that when I hit that wall I would ricochet back into my mid thirties, complete with that mid thirties elasticity that I seem to have misplaced. Suddenly I find myself in a new decade, a decade in which facial expressions must be kept to a minimum to minimize the ageing process which is already swinging from my cheekbones. To pour salt in the wrinkles, I actually received L'Oreal moisturizer for men as a gift. And not just one version, two. Sent from Holland. Am I that far gone? A shadow of the man I once hoped to be?
As if that wasn't enough, CNN had an article about thirty-nine being middle-aged. Thirty-Nine. I had to pull a Cher Horowitz and scream out "as if!" I spent all last year being middle-aged and didn't even know it. I wasted it. I didn't have so much a a single nervous breakdown or torrid almost love affair with someone half my age, buy a sports car or get hair plugs (not that I need them, I still have all my original strands, thank you very much). Nope, middle-age passed me by while I was looking the other way, perhaps even in the mirror scrutinizing my face for laugh lines and other signs that I have basically turned twenty for the second time. It pains me to say this as it sounds like the cliché-est of clichés, but I still feel, no, envision myself as a twenty something. I don't feel any different. Perhaps the forties are the new twenties. That would actually make sense as the fifties are the new thirties according to Oprah.
I had resigned myself to have a quiet birthday, slipping quietly on the prune into my twilight years, avoiding the fanfare and fuss when I received a message from Danielle asking what I would be doing. When I told her I had absolutely no plans, she took matters into her own expertly manicured hands and before I knew it, we had reservations at Seville and a guest list.
Seville is a most unique restaurant at the Claridges hotel. Walking into Seville is to be transported to another place. The restaurant is basically outdoors and a lighted creek snakes through the grounds, winding its way under small bridges and white-draped, glass bottom bungalows. There is one room upstairs that overlooks the grounds and that was the room Danielle had reserved for the ten or so of us. Normally I would not consider the view of a restaurant note-worthy, but this was amazing. Not like being in a restaurant at all. It is more how I imagine an evening at the end of the five-star safari day or a rigorous day of diving in the Maldives.
Before long everyone had arrived and cocktails were in full swing. I have a new favorite one which is a Karfini (Lemon grass infused vodka, coriander, lime and sugar) and managed to keep a constant flow of them heading my direction. I was almost tempted away by the blackberry Mojitos but stuck to my guns. Sacrifices had to be made and so I decided to save them for another visit.
As the evening got to within a few minutes of midnight and forty started banging on the door, the bubbles and birthday cake arrived. I can't remember the last time I had an actual birthday cake. If my hazy memory serves me correctly, I was a teenager. Young. Innocent. Virginal. But there it was, my very own incredibly moist and decadent chocolate birthday cake with two candles. I love the discretion Anjali and Danielle showed when it came to the candles. And a good thing as well. I had a hard enough time blowing out two candles in one breath, can't imagine what would have happened had there been forty. And the cake wasn't really big enough to support that size population of candles.
It was really an amazing evening and it makes me smile every time I think about it. I have thanked them already, but I would like to thank Danielle and Anjali for such an unforgettable night. It was the best 40th birthday I have ever had.