On turning 40

The early mornings are dark at this time of the year. I know this because I tend to wake up early on my birthday. One of my first memories is bombing through the dark of the landing to my parents’ room as very little lad, and finding lots of miniature toy aeroplanes for me to play with or, a few year later, waking up to a pair of new football boots, a sign that I was becoming a bigger boy, ready to start playing the game more seriously.

As I turn 40, today feels like one of those birthdays, rather than the nonchalant “It’s just another day” of my 20s and 30s. Waking up at 5:20am (exactly the same time as I was born),  I reflected on those past four decades: from first days at school, to discovering clubs and acid house, to Hillsborough, Spike Island, Arsenal winning the League right in front of me, university, DJing, London, journalism, marriage and a thousand other places and people on the way. All of them to lead to this, to today. I’m surprised I’ve fitted it all in.

There’s no better – or more poignant – reminder of who really cares about you than the cards you get on your birthday, and there’s a fair few on the Habitat bookcase, including three from my mum, whose words make me well up every time I read them. More than money, more than success, the thing that matters most is love – the knowledge someone is actually interested in your welfare. And, as the sky lightens, and I wait for the calls from parents and friends, the accumulation of that emotion, whether it's in the form of kisses from my wife, words of encouragement from my parents or handshakes from my mates, is the best reward I can have from my time so far on this beautiful little planet.

I like the feel of this next decade already.


  1. Is that a microwave on your desk? Clearly gadget mad even then!


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