Birthdays, hey? They come around with alarming regularity as one gets older. Little Miss asks me every day when she is going to be four, and the wait seems to be interminable for her. I advise her not to wish her life away, but I remember as a kid just BUSTING to be bigger.
So - there's another one on the approach, and people have started asking me what I want. Images flash through my mind - I have many wants. Many. Deciding to rid myself of the extraneous, the unused, the clutter has not yet trained my mind not to want new shiny things. Certainly, it wants with less force and with more selectivity than previously, and certainly, it can convince itself that these things are never going to be mine, but it still wants.
But how often have wants that seemed so desperate and so NECESSARY turned, after time, into things that have been left to sit on the shelf or in the cupboard? As much as I felt that I really had to have them, and as much as I loved them when they first turned up in my life, so many have fallen by the wayside. So - it is with difficulty that I reply, "Nothing." Sometimes, I say, "Cash" as I have a camera lens that needs fixing, so I can finally use my beautiful and much loved SLR again to take photos - a favourite pastime - and my twenty year old suitcase is falling apart. And other times, I say, "Please donate some money to your favourite charity" because there are millions of others who have needs. Real needs. Food, shelter, clean water, medicine. Not a copy of The Female Eunuch to reread.
So, although I do have wants, I am really hoping on my birthday I receive nothing. Or an email telling me that money has been sent to help educate girls. Or a handmade card in the post. Or a phone call. Or an invitation to spend time with a dear friend over lunch or brunch or dinner. Gifts such as these can show me the love and thoughtfulness of those I hold dear with no dusting required.