Time does funny things when you quit drinking.
Initially, it grinds to a shuddering halt. Every hour feels like a day. It seems like the film of your life has switched to slow-motion. You have to take a day at a time, because each day lasts a lifetime.
Then, time starts speeding up again, and the better you feel the faster it goes.
The really great days, the ones you want to hang on to, slip through your fingers like sand, whereas the difficult ones you wade through like mud.
The year before last was the longest one ever. I gave up drinking, then, just as I started motoring away happily again, I got hit with breast cancer.
There's nothing that slows time more than waiting for test results which will tell you how close you are to death.
(To read my cancer story, click here)
But I've speeded past the last year so fast that I can't even see it in the rear view mirror. Whoosh. Gone. And suddenly, it's my birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!
And, so far, it's a perfect day.
Birthdays used to be about big stuff - huge parties, grand gestures and monumental hangovers, but now I realise that it's a combination of little things that really makes you happy.
Today started with breakfast in bed. We all had breakfast in my bed (including the dog). Then Mr SM did the school run - isn't that the best present ever?
Well, actually, it's not, because I was given the best present ever....
For the last year, every time anyone in the family has had a birthday I've painted them a plate. It has their name on (large) and an animal that represents them, then round the outside I paint about forty adjectives that describe them.
For the last few months, every time we've had a family meal I lay out all the 'special' plates, and I sit there in front of my ordinary one.
Then today they gave me my own plate. They'd designed it and painted it in exactly the same style as the ones I'd made them.
In the middle is my favourite animal (a warthog. Any more warthog aficionados out there, or is it just me?), and the words round the outside include:
HAPPY, GENEROUS, HELPFUL, FUN, OPTIMIST, BLOGGER, FIVE STAR CHEF, HOUSE-FAIRY, MUSICAL, LOVING, PERFECT, CUDDLER, CLEVER
I cried. Obvs.
Now, however rotten my day has been, I can sit down for family supper and feel blessed.
As for the rest of the day, I have a hairdressing appointment booked which means that not only will I have great hair for the day, but I'll also get to spend TWO HOURS reading Grazia and finding out what's new with Brad and Angelina.
Then, dinner somewhere posh with Mr SM.
Love to you all,