I'm sitting here writing this on the evening of my 50th Birthday.
I keep thinking that's a typo. 50? I can't be 50! I don't feel 50, I certainly don't act 50, not sure if I look it....the kids say I do, but overall it's a little bit like an out of body experience.
And once you get over the initial mortification of people knowing - my offspring have derived great pleasure in telling anyone who will listen that their ma is 50 - it's actually not so bad.
To be honest I feel pretty bloody grateful that I've made it this far. Birthdays should be celebrated, whatever the age, not lamented. We're not a year older, we're being given the opportunity to spend another year on this planet, when so many others haven't been so lucky.
And right now I feel unbelievably lucky. For the first time ever I got to spend my birthday in the sun, watching the sun go down on the beach.
Then we looked at old photos and instead of me thinking 'Oh I wish I was still that young/thin/pretty/stupid!' I smiled and thought that I've been blessed with great family and friends and have some amazing memories to cherish forever.
But one must be realistic as well! I'm no spring chicken anymore and that, apparently requires some sort of commitment from me, according to my children, to improve my lifestyle so that I get to the next big one. So whilst being watched like a hawk by my loved ones, tonight I smoked my last cigarette, 2 actually, as that was what was left in the pack.
This development will require regular updates, I can't promise anything but I will do my best and keep you posted. They tentatively suggested that while I was at it, I might give up wine too but I think they knew that was never going to happen.
'Do you think I look 50?' I asked The Eldest, fishing for compliments. 'Put it this way, you don't look 60!' he replied. 'Seriously?!' I screeched. 'Messin, messin, all my friends think you look great for an oul one!' That's probably the best I can hope for.
So as I sit here watching the sun go down, marking my half a century, I feel nothing but happiness and gratitude for the people in my life, those gone and those still here, for making me the person I am - the good, the bad and the ugly!
Normal service will resume next week when the Birthday euphoria wears off.