Just prior to my birthday on Saturday one friend kindly sent me a link for the website You’re Getting Old, which helpfully confirmed that I was 18,262 days old, that the total number of birthday candles on all of my birthday cakes so far is 1,275 and that the moon has orbited the Earth 668 times since I was born. To make things worse the introduction of prohibition in the United States in 1920 was closer to my actual day of birth than my 50th birthday.
I’m not going to lie, that made me feel pretty old, as did the social media posting by @turn50today on Twitter which shared the happy birthday news with a photograph taken nearly two decades ago.
Nicola Sturgeon cheekily wished me a happy birthday with a tweet saying it’s “always good to be reminded that you’re soooo much older than me”. She should be careful given how fast time seems to pass. It won’t take long to speed through the next ten months until the First Minister catches up.
What I will say from my big weekend, is that it was actually painless and really enjoyable. If you can’t have a big party for your 50th, when can you have one?
My wife Jen has always been great at organising social events so a birthday bash at Summerhall by the Meadows was a huge success. Not many people are lucky enough to have a live musical performance from Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, live poetry performed by Michael Pedersen and Hollie McNish and an ace DJ set by Stuart Cosgrove. It was a joy to be joined by relatives and friends from near and far. I’m hugely grateful to them all, performers and participants alike.
My 50th year already brought the best present imaginable with young Saoirse, my daughter who was born 14 weeks ago. Whether it was good planning or just happenstance, we organised her baptism to take place on Sunday only hours after the birthday bash, so friends and family could attend both events. Commendations to Deacon Peter at St Mary’s Catholic Cathedral who conducted the baptism, not just for ourselves, but a second family at the same time. It was a wonderful experience.
Baby Saoirse made it very easy for us all, she slept through the whole ceremony, even at the baptismal font. We were blessed to have so many family and friends present as well as Saoirse’s godparents Kevin and Lucy.
Turning 50 was a great excuse for a party and using the same weekend for the baptism was a stroke of genius. It was the perfect way to spend precious time with nearest and dearest. The only problem is going to be to match it in future years.
What I do look forward to, with the help of advances in medical science and my often postponed fitness programme, is being able to organise a weekend party in five decades’ time where I’d like to have a joint birthday celebration for my century and Saoirse’s half century. Now that will be an amazing party.