I have no idea why I'm feeling a little melancholy about my birthday on Monday.
As a kid, my birthday was never a really big deal. Being born in December, when school had already broken up, usually put a kibosh on over-the-top celebrations.
Maybe my mother would make a cake. Perhaps a few kids from the neighbourhood would come over, without even realising it was my birthday, and we'd eat cake and play some street cricket till the sun went down.
Still, they were happy days.
They were happy days, too, once the kids were old enough to start making their own cards. I didn't need a gift. Just something made by their pudgy little hands.
I still have most of these beautiful creations. Folded pieces of card with scrawls and little drawings and messages of their undying love. Stuck with glitter and pieces of felt and the occasional pipe cleaner.
My favourite one reads "Mummy, you are the beast". An extra "a", making all the difference.
Even now the pair of them still manage to write a nice message. It's the best part of the year.
I know they feel that way all year round, but it's still nice to see it written down. Words matter.
We catch up for dinner. Put up the Christmas tree. The three of us together.
But that won't happen this year. My daughter left town on Saturday to seek out a white Christmas with her friends.
The tree is already up. Lord, it went up in November, much to my disdain, but it was the only free date we could find.
I'm sure I'll be able to convince the lad to come over if I make my own cake. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach and all.
While missing family is part of it, I'm also starting to contemplate turning 60.
Sure, I have three years to go, so no real need to panic just yet.
Turning 50 didn't seem to bother me at all. If anything, I revelled in it. It signified a fresh start in oh so many ways.
Remember when I got my kit off pretty much at every opportunity? Those were the days.
At 50 I felt strong and confident and had kind of made it through a life upheaval relatively intact. I was in a relatively good place.
But I've realised, as 60 approaches, I don't want to be where I was at 50. I want to be in a much better place.
In many ways I've spent the best part of seven years spinning in circles. Or at least that's how it feels sometimes.
Sure I've survived a pandemic, come out the other side and travelled a bit and moved home and watched the kids turn into perfectly respectable adults. These things are no small achievements.
But I know there's a few things I need to do to be closer to living my best life by the time I'm 60.
I just wish I could work out what they are.
You know me. We've been friends for a while now. Apparently last week was my 34th anniversary here. Yes, I was 11 when I first started.
Part of getting my groove back revolves around getting organised again. Structure, routine, following the rules I set myself. The number of times I've written out the rules this year. Again and again.
But part of this whole melancholy has something to do with the fact I'm having trouble identifying where it is I actually want to be.
Is it pointless spending too much time thinking about what you don't want to do, where you don't want to be? Maybe I need to work harder on defining what it is I do want, where I do want to be, what needs to be done.
And then bloody doing it.
It's kind of hit me that by the time I reach 60 I'll be extremely lucky if I have another 20 years left on this planet. And I've been asking myself: how do I want to spend those 20 years?
Sure, a lot depends on how my knees hold out but I want to wring everything I can from those remaining years. I want more travel, I want more adventure, I want more time with friends and family, I want to go out with a bang.
I've got three years to get in that right headspace.
Now I'll go blow out that candle, or two. Eat me some cake. Even if I've made it myself.