So I am 40 today. People have helpfully asked if that is my waist measurement or suggested that I have in fact been 40 since I was 19. I don't feel much different than I did ten years ago - albeit thicker round the middle and even thinner on top maybe.
The whole 'middle-age' thing can be very literal - I could well be half way through my life, this year could be the pivot around which things rotate. Certainly, this year so far has felt pivotal and seen the extreme ups and downs of life's seesaw ride.
Fran and I are overjoyed that her pregnancy is going well so far. This is a huge high after the low of miscarriage in the Spring. We hope to have our first child just before Xmas just after we move into a new house. We are delighted by the good wishes people send.
In the last few weeks though we have been coming to terms with my Mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer. My beloved Mother is the very embodiment of vitality, determination, love and kindness. She is a fizzing bundle of energy who lightens every room she enters. My father's tragic, sudden early death means I literally owe her everything. Outwardly she still appears remarkably well. She has fought off cancer six times in the last 20 years. I am enormously grateful to family, friends, colleagues even clients who have been so supportive over the turbulent last few weeks as we have ploughed through the awful diagnosis period.
We now know what confronts us and are resolute on the course we have set. Mother starts palliative chemotherapy in a couple of days. It's a terrible shock but our small family beset by so many untimely deaths over the years is rallying together. The tragedies we have confronted together have made us strong.
Sadly of course these things don't balance each other out, but mean much up and down, like a seesaw on its pivot. But with the support of some wonderful people, life goes on.