Yesterday, as we were watching the final soccer trials, I moved from chatting to conversation with a woman I would count amongst my Abu Dhabi friends, though I don’t know her all that well. One thing led to another, as it does, and we were discussing fortieth birthdays. She is approaching hers and, as you know, for I am fairly certain I have acquired no new readers in the last three years, I had my 40th not so long ago.
‘Did you find it difficult?’ she asked. ‘Turning forty?’
And here is where I found another sign that my state of mind is greatly improved because I felt no need whatsoever to tell her of everything that happened in the year or so leading up to my fortieth birthday. What details I did tell her, I chose carefully and consciously with absolute awareness. As I spoke I was seeking no particular reaction or response and needed nothing from her.
This time last year, I would not have thought twice about what I told her. This happened, and then this happened, and then this and this and this and before I knew it I was living in Abu Dabi, I would have said. Confession was a compulsion. I have no idea what this compulsion was supposed to achieve, but there it was, all ready at the slightest hint of an audience.
My life, or at least my focus, has expanded.
The mister must have noticed things have changed, because last night, when he came home and I said, how was your day, he said, ‘You know, so-so.’
I don’t remember the last time he told me he’d had a bad day. Or perhaps I don’t remember the last time I heard.