The blog of photographer Kim Ayres

Turning 51

At school, my birthday almost always fell during the October break, allowing me to escape the bumps, thumps to the arm and any other unpleasantness dreamed up by sadistic bullies. As an adult for most of my birthdays, outside of advance education, I was unemployed until I became self employed. The upshot of this is it's been very rare for me to actually have to work on the 25th of October.

A wonderful benefit to all this is on my birthday I'm able to completely let go of feeling I need to be doing something else. It is the only day of the year other than Christmas where all the voices in my head telling me of all the things I need to do, go quiet.

Over the years they have learned that on this day I am not going to work. This is my day, prioritised for me, and not for anyone else.

And I relax.

I genuinely, truly, unwind and lose any feelings of the burdens of responsibility.

It is wonderful.

And so rare.

Also, hitting 51 didn't seem anything like as scary as turning 50. So no big party like last year - just a gentle, relaxed day.

The sun made a rare appearance in the morning. I've been needing a new profile pic for my photography business so I took a shot of myself at the window with the sun behind me.

Needing a pic where I look friendly and approachable

Maggie made up a picnic and then we took Meg with us down to Carrick beach to lob stones into the sea.

Me and Meg on a windy beach

Then it was off to Cream o' Galloway for ice cream.

Later in the afternoon, Meg took me for the best mocha in 100 miles, at one of my favourite places, In House Chocolates.

Meg treats me to a coffee with thick chocolate in it.

My stepdaughter, Holly, came round for dinner, bringing my 4 month old grandson with her.

My grandson with the birthday card he made me (with help from his mum).

And Maggie made my favourite kind of birthday cake - one which is all filling and no cake. This year it was a chocolate biscuit base, with a thick layer of chocolate, smooth peanut butter and mascarpone cheese, topped with an equally thick layer of chocolate ganache.

Basically, a thick chocolate peanut butter cheesecake covered in thick chocolate

I was stuffed to bursting!

The evening was spent replying to birthday wishes on social media, and watching a movie in front of the fire.

It was a really lovely day.

Today, however, I can feel all the tensions of responsibility creeping back in...


maurcheen said...

Happy Birthday and everything, but that grandson of yours just steals the show. I need to hug that kid! The cutest! :)

hope said...

I'm glad you had a wonderful day...that cake looks WONDERFUL!

This year for your birthday, give yourself the gift of "Guilt Free" hours every week. Even if it's only one. Otherwise, you might turn into a girl...we don't know HOW to turn off that voice, filled with lists. :)

Kim Ayres said...

Maurcheen - thank you - and yes, he does - babies have a way of putting everyone else in the shade. He was even sitting on my lap when I blew my candles out :)

Hope - the cake was amazing and I ate far too much of it!
I have no real idea how to create "guilt free" hours. One of the things about being self employed is you never really have time off. Whatever you are doing, there is always a nagging voice in the background questioning whether your time should be spent doing something else more productive.
The real trick would be to find a way to convince those voices that relaxing IS productive! :)

Ponita in Real Life said...

Happy Birthday, Kim... and that cake looks amazing!!!! Great shot of yourself. Sometimes it is tough to get a good selfie, eh! ;-) Glad you had a lovely day.

savannah said...

I know I wished you a happy day on that other social media site, but I have to leave one here because here is where we met! xoxox from your friends across the pond! MITM& savannah

Kim Ayres said...

Ponita - thank you! And yes, that came was amazing :)

Savannah - birthday wishes are always appreciated where ever they come from :)

neena maiya said...

Reading this reminds me of how tense I can get trying to get things done. And the funny thing is, no matter how I worry, everything tends to work out just fine.

So now I'm thinking, what if every day we made a small space, even for an hour, to relax, take a deep breath......

I always learn so much from you, Kim.

Kim Ayres said...

Neena - My Dad used to say "90% of stuff we worry about, never happens. And the other 10% wouldn't have been changed by us worrying about it." However, while it makes sense on paper, I've never been able to properly adopt it in reality...
However, finding a space every day - even for 15 minutes - is definitely a good thing :)

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