Slightly Bald Teacher
24 Hour Party People x
I've seen lots of people talking about growth and how like vegetables or bread they have grown and improved as human beings, teachers or whatever they give their hearts to. Obviously, I hope that I have grown over the years, both anatomically (definitely) and mentally. But I thought, as I passed another birthday, how could I chart my progress as I enter my sixth decade on this planet?
Partying!! That's how.
So, here is a quick developmental recap of my partying over substantial birthdays in my life. Now as I look back, things get a little blurry but one thing I have noticed is that at these momentous times in my life, friends and families have stood strong and stepped up to the partying oche.
So how have I grown as a party animal? Well, in maths terms, I feel as though my partying has developed in a very pronounced bell curve. From the bottles of Strongbow in the local park, to the excesses of dancing on college dorm roofs at graduation, a pub-crawl in 18-30 territory, waking up in flower beds, leading whole PGCE courses in a Whigfield - Saturday Night routine, to sedate afternoons on the decking, frantically knocking up gin cocktails ( 1 for you, 2 for me!). The journey has been very up and down but the growth has now maybe been flattened
Now, my 21st was a strange one. I'm a twin and we had a lovely family and friends' bash. All very well behaved and sensible. Unfortunately, my older brothers had other ideas. Not for my twin sister, but for me. I woke up in football boots and kit in the toilet at 8 am with the neighbours peering through the door with my mother recounting my exploits. I still can't remember what I ended up doing.
So we move on swiftly to the next big milestone. My 30th. Now in comparison with 9 years, earlier this was rather more sedate, if not a little surreal. I was a teacher, in my third year, and a friend talked me into being a nanny for the Easter holidays. Not just anywhere but in Val De Sere in the French Alps. By day I babysat posh kids in expensive ski suit and by nights apres-ski kicked in. But on my 30th we sat in a bar at the top of the mountain, snow falling, and sipping on expensive cocktails. Real growth in my partying.
Now at that point, I thought my partying would go on forever, although never on a school night. Actually, that happened only once but I won't go into that! Now, and for all those young people out there this is a real positive, my 40th was the pinnacle of partying. 4 weeks of sun, sea and the odd tipple. Just recently Facebook threw up a picture of a group of revellers, moshing to a U2 tribute band. I think I was buried in the middle? I even had two young kids at this point.
So we fast track to yesterday, bypassing my 50th, which was messy and painful, and reflect on my Lockdown birthday and the levels of partying. Well, as you can imagine, with 4 kids and the lack of family and friends, it lacked a little of the frenetic antics of previous years but was it a joy? Was it a success? Yes, it was quiet, sedentary, but it filled my heart with love and warmth. My cacoon of a family wrapped me in celebration and attention and I pottered, sat and drank. I also shared things with my online world which has become a part of my everyday life this past year. So have I grown in the ways I party?
Let's say, sometimes the mind is still willing but the body is less than able, but I look back to the last time I really partied, which was at New Year, and I can see that the antics and silliness have subsided but the things that mattered were more prevalent. Good food, good drink, good music and a sprinkle of good friends and family to welcome the new dawn.
So as we enter the fourth week of lockdown (I think?), I think as a nation we have all grown as party animals. We have adapted, we have been inventive and I think, most of all, we have realised that the love and laughter of our close ones are the most valuable commodity in the world. You don't have to be in a club in Ibiza, in a luxury hotel, in a crowded restaurant to party. Give me Zoom, a quiz and a bottle of something cold and I feel the love grow.