I had a ‘significant’ birthday yesterday. It was fine and weird as many significant things are. The ‘proper’ celebration will be at the end of March, when another trip up to London is required. Hotel, restaurants, maybe some retail therapy you can’t do here in the boonies after an appointment on the first day.

We had two storms last week: Dudley (I think that’s right) hit Wednesday and Eunice Friday.

Thursday was eerily calm – like nothing moved, literally nothing — just waiting to see what would happen next. My yoga teacher talked of full moons and their affects.

Friday … it was mad here, utterly and completely and totally loopy. Gales all day, rain on and off. I spent a lot of time standing at the back of the house watching the eucalyptus tree in the garden behind sway this way and that, asking Mother Nature to keep it in place (she appears to have listened).

I saw one of my neighbours yesterday who commented that she been very worried the tree would come down on my house (that would be both of us).

Then, it all moved east and Saturday morning was once again eerily still and sunny, with a very pale blue sky that looked like it didn’t belong in any normal world.

Anyway, that birthday. Friends had sent parcels which I’d piled on the kitchen table. I had bought picnic food on the somewhat settled Thursday (brie, prosciutto, olives, bread) because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get out Saturday. I had settled on buying a box of really fancy chocolates by William Curley and a piece of brownie with nuts, marshmallows and something else from Sara’s as sweet for the day. Oh, and I’d bought the makings of cream tea for breakfast. I can no longer drink alcohol so I got fizzy water and rose lemonade in.

Woke Saturday morning, ate breakfast, opened gifts, wrote thank you emails. Looked at the damage in the back garden. The small compost bin was across the lawn, but otherwise the damage was minimal: lots of branches down but no trees. Took the dog to walk in the village, where there was also minimal damage: only saw one house where a tree came down and someone was out with a chainsaw.

Raised my direct debit amount for my monthly contribution to the local food bank. Started my new book, the most recent in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald. Bought a new pair of jeans, some of the serum I love because the website had given me a 15% off voucher as a bday gift. Went to the garden centre to buy a plant a new pot, among other things. Bought some more wood to see me through early March.

It all sound very quiet and restrained – almost banal, if the movement around the sun can ever be banal. And that was mostly ok because I was trying to get my head round feeling like I’d stepped over some sort of invisible line and was now looking at a different sort of being – but what sort I haven’t yet fully deciphered. Unfettered. That’s what I feel like.

I had a back and forth with a friend about taking some of the tax free portion of my pension now (she laughed and said [she’s younger than I am] that she’d already done that so they could do work on the house). That left me a bit flummoxed — I had the ‘what am I waiting for feeling’ one gets when you’ve been doing something needlessly for reasons you can’t quite define.

At 6 AM this morning I woke from one of the strangest dreams I’ve ever had. Quite literally up there in a handful of ‘oh, my, oh, wow, that was … I don’t know what that was’.

It started with me and my son on a bus in London and I’d taken along my pillow and duvet. At some point we both got off, I lost my pillow and duvet, and when I got on another bus he wasn’t on it. When I got off that second bus, I was in Brooklyn, near where you get the A train in the downtown area. I tried to message my son but none of my electronics worked.

Then, I woke up and it literally took two hours and a dog walk before I felt normal.

So, if you have interpretations of that I am open to any ideas.

I’ve been wearing very small sprays of Lutens Arabie for the past week, as its cumin-spiciness feels grounding when the world around has been swaying and shifting. Also, Arabie counters well the weird ozonic smell that’s been around.

Yes, there you go. What about you? Have you had a birthday after which you’ve felt like you crossed some kind of line? What was that like and what did you do?

  • Dina C. says:

    Happy Birthday Cinnamon! Your birthday treats looked delicious! That’s crazy about your wacky weather. Ours has been doing the temperature roller-coaster lately. Spring-like then utterly freezing. I can’t adjust. Hard to know what kind of perfume fits this weather. I need something calming.

    • cinnamon says:

      Thank you. the food was very nice, except the Devon brie, which was way too salty. Who makes brie too salty??? Indeed, weather now seems to veer all over the place in very unsettling and inappropriate ways.

  • Maggiecat says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve recently retired and am still trying to figure out what my life should look like now. Goid luck to you! And waiting on the next winter ice storm here (after temps around 80 today. Gotta love North Texas….)

    • cinnamon says:

      Ice storm in Texas? Really? I hope the grid holds this time. I veer between not thinking at all and making myself sit down and look carefully at things.

  • Tom says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I know what you mean about a significant one- I just had one and it was weird- it the ways it hit me and didn’t. It hit because it’s a number that says forthrightly there are far fewer years left than came before (unless I live a freaking long time) but odd that I really don’t feel any different.

    I’m glad your tree made it- eucalyptus here are frowned upon, especially in the hills: they are explosive when they burn and a real hazard. But so beautiful.

    I remember those days before a real storm from growing up in New England- that almost glassy quiet, like even a bird chirping could shatter it and bring on the apocalypse.

    I hope you will tell all about your celebration in the big city when it happens!

    • cinnamon says:

      Tx. No, not going there on number of years. Just can’t. Too unsettling (that seems my word of the moment: unsettling). Part of all this is I really do need to learn to think differently about life — in all sorts of ways. Totally banal and def not food for a post. But, I expect the trip in late March will offer a few amuse-bouche.

  • March says:

    Happy birthday! I’m so glad your gorgeous tree stayed up, the goodies look delicious, and Arabie sounds like the perfect solution to that weird ozonic smell. I share your feeling on dreams — I often have that flustered “dream hangover” if it’s been vivid and somewhat disturbing, as mine often are (nothing terrible, just weird.) There are some fascinating theories and insights about dreaming in the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker if that’s of any interest to you. It made me feel a lot better about mine.

    • cinnamon says:

      Tx on bday. I had all kinds of plans about having to go round to neighbours and ask about their insurance. thankfully, didn’t have to go that direction. I don’t often wake feeling like I did after that dream. I dream a lot but that one was unusual. Will look for the book. Love things that tell me what my dreams are trying to say.

  • AnnieA says:

    All righty, going to have a shot at the dream even though dreams can be very personal – and they can also be very unsubtle despite outlandish details, even to the point of being a groan-inducing pun.The duvet and pillow might mean the loss of some form of comfort, and the whole bus/phone part might mean that you are trying to make a connection/communicate with your son. Hope this is of help…

  • Musette says:

    Happy EPIC Birthday, Cinnamon! I am still coming to grips with being a Certified Senior Citizen – but I’m dealing with it in dribs and drabs. Mostly I’m just trying to live my life, since it’s the only one I (so far) have.

    Just… Just. Do. You.

    and give that Lab a smooch for me!


    • cinnamon says:

      Yeah, yeah, on doing me. Just have to figure out what that really means.

      Doggle just had all clear at 3-month scan. I am very relieved — and very tired. Might need some chocolate…

  • Portia says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Cinnamon.
    I love eucalypts but they are famously widow makers. We had a few crash down or drop branches in our street growing up. Quite often they do it as a natural defence against parasitic plants.
    Your birthday sounds perfect. I love that you bought all the foods you wanted and made it all about your faves. HEAVEN.
    Arabie is beautiful. It’s the first in my Lutens line up (alphabetical) so it gets a spritz regularly.
    At 35 I had my Mid Life Crisis. It was a very strange birthday and year. Really like I’d stepped across a line of no return. It all worked out OK though. Hopefully yours will too.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      I keep forgetting to say thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes, so will pop it in here. Huge thank you.

      So far, the tree is holding up. I send good tree thoughts to it. It was a fine birthday (beyond our weird weather) — plus I have the second set of celebrations to look forward to.

      I’ve yet to have a life crisis, but I feel like right now I’ve got the headspace to to actually think about how I want to be. So far, not gotten very far.

  • Tara C says:

    First of all, Happy Birthday! Glad you survived the storms unscathed. I turned 55 last year and it was a big blow psychologically, from which I haven’t fully recovered yet. Hitting that age plus all the changes brought by the pandemic made me feel like my previous life was basically over and I would have to seriously take stock of what remained. I am still in that process.

    • cinnamon says:

      Oh, we’re in storm number 3 right now. Winds supposed to wind down later today (please). I’m with you on all that taking stock.

  • filomena813 says:

    Happy Significant 55th Birthday Cinnamon! I had a more “significant” birthday last August and I still cannot get over it and even can’t say it out loud or type the number! However, we must enjoy each day and every moment and not worry about the number. It beats the alternative. Carpe Diem!

    • cinnamon says:

      I don’t know how we ended up with 55 — I am certainly older than that. This new number flummoxes me. I need to do some things like look at new bus and train cards.

  • SpringPansy says:

    Yes, I’ve had a significant birthday, even more significant than my 55th. I’m still debating when to retire fully, but am part-time for now which made a huge difference to my quality of life. Life is short and I want to live it fully — but that can still mean (and I hope it does mean) full of lots of normal little details like shopping for veggies at the farmers’ market, going for long walks, laughing with friends, sniffing amazing perfume. Those birthdays are, if nothing else, thought-provoking.

    • SpringPansy says:

      And happy birthday to you, Cinnamon!

    • cinnamon says:

      This birthday was definitely post 55 🙂 I’m not ready to stop working completely but I am trying to get my head round how I want to live now. So far no fast answers.

  • Alityke says:

    Happy Belated Significant Birthday!
    Hmmm… now we have Storm Franklyn blowing up. Flooding is becoming significant here in Yorkshire after yesterdays snow & the constant 5 days of heavy rain.

    It took me sometime to adjust after my 55th birthday. My most significant ever. I made a huge lifestyle change. No more work. Took the lump sum. Took the annuity. Lost the 6am alarm, lost the stress inducing manager, lost the unhealthy organisation, lost the grim outlook. Lost my qualification. Got a dog.

    Took MONTHS to adjust! Boy though was it worth it!

    • SpringPansy says:

      Love this!! And hurray for a furry companion.

    • cinnamon says:

      I really hope this all stops soon. Not as bad here so far as up where you are.

      That sounds like such a sanity-inducing change to life. It is taking me a while to get my head round the fact that I can live differently. As to dog, they are such great companions — get you out of your own head, make you exercise, and are so comforting.

      • Alityke says:

        Looks like my post started the 55th rumour. Sorry ?
        Guys, 55 was my significant birthday!
        Yep the fur child is a blessing & one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

        • cinnamon says:

          No worries. I was just a bit perplexed that a number of people had focused on that number. Indeed, dogs are the best (well, some of them). Joe the lab is a blessing (and a pain). And it’s interesting (I guess there’s probably a better word) to start to think through the ‘what next’.