When I turned 40, it was a really big deal. Unfortunately for me, the people around me did not think the same way, and so my 40th birthday came and went without any fanfare at all. I guess when you are in the middle of Peru, surrounded by students and constrained by activities relating to the mission in which I am involved, it is pretty hard to organise something big.
A couple of eggs smashed on my head, which seems to be a customary thing for those with birthdays in Peru, and a card signed by a handful of friends were about the only reminders that this was actually one of the biggest days of my life.
The age of forty for me was one of the greatest milestones in my life. It brought with it many discoveries both about who I was and where I was going that caused both conflict and serious growth during this time. To have celebrated it in some big way would have helped me pass through this process at the time.
Now it does not matter anymore. Of course it did at the time, but it was one of those things that after a year it was no longer important. Now I am turning 41. This seems hardly significant at all, as most of my struggles relating to this new age are now over.
Turning 40 was like the entry into adulthood, it was the turning of a corner in life that revealed that I could not remain young forever. Perhaps for others this happens at 30 or another age. For me it happened at 40.
So when my birthday comes and goes it is no longer matters greatly to me. Sure, celebrating with good friends or doing something nice on the day is always great, but it is no longer a necessity. I can relate now to my late grandmother who saw every birthday the same as any other day.
Apart from some eats (as seen in the pic) for presents, there was nothing more to identify my birthday this time. No big party, no phone calls outside of family (maybe everyone is too used to me being overseas), no expensive presents, no anything. Yet somehow it seemed right. This time… I liked it like that.
This was the first birthday I have celebrated in Australia for over ten years… and the quietest one too.
More photos after the break…
Getting egged for my 40th birthday in Peru
Celebrating my 40th birthday quietly in a pub in Peru with a friend.