It’s my 53rd birthday today – I’m ten years older than I used to be. And potentially ten years younger than I’m going to be. I don’t know if that makes me young or old – I think it just makes me 53.

After my recent rough week, I’m feeling better. My most cathartic tool is writing things out and by sharing the angst and lows, I can claw myself back out. So I’ve dug my claws in and started climbing.

I feel manic – sleep deprivation pushes me into excessive energy (how does that make sense?!) I meet my new psychiatrist for the first time tomorrow so we can discuss my recent roller coaster week. I have mixed feelings about my current medications but will be as open as possible and see where that leads me.

Recent birthdays have been difficult events, but this year was a delight. My family shared a meal with me last night. I spent time with a good friend yesterday, and had champagne, lunch and an afternoon swim with another friend today. The sun shone. I have new silk pyjamas. And I’m once again focused on getting my writing on track and book ready for the workshop in a few weeks.

Birthdays are interesting – they’ve always been a big deal to me. A time to reflect on all life has been and might one day be. And all it has not been and can never become. Fifty-three is a very uninteresting number. I look at where I’ve been – particularly recent years – and struggle to reconcile all the amazing memories and opportunities from the past, with all the dreams that passed me by, and all the damage I’ve done to myself in a misdirected attempt to control overwhelming emotions.

I don’t struggle with the amazing people in my life – they hold me together and save my life. Without these connections I wouldn’t be who I am. There’s just no other word aside from blessed – I am truly blessed with the beautiful friendships that have supported me for 30 years. Amazing women who’ve taught me more about myself and how to navigate life than anyone could wish for. I’m married to an intensely loyal man who stands by me through thick and thin. And I have three and half adult children who’ve gifted me unconditional love and life purpose as often as they’ve driven me up the proverbial garden wall and made question my sanity.

This birthday is not one I planned to see and yet here I am. It’s a reminder on shit days that better ones come along. And as always, a reminder to never make permanent decisions while experiencing temporary emotions.

My day of champagne and swimming, cake and gin, old friends and new, has been absolutely delightful. It began and ended with a kiss and good wishes from my husband. Life is full of swings and roundabouts. As I try and get my playground equipment under control, I will endeavour to focus as much on all that is good, as all that drags me down.