It’s been my birthday since my last blog… another year on the clock and another year closer to the big Five 0 (I’m now 47).
As a woman working in television, age is a tricky subject. Sadly, it’s still the case that older men are a much more common sight on our screens than older women (I’m glad to see QVC is an exception to that rule!), so most women I know who work in TV tend to avoid admitting their age.
In fact one fabulous ex-colleague of mine was 37 on every single birthday for many years!
I used to be like that. But now I celebrate every birthday with wild abandon, completely thrilled to be another year older, to have lived another 365 days and to be able to rejoice in that fact with my friends and family.
In an earlier blog I told you about my large (well, huge, enormous!) family and showed you a picture of me with my four sisters. What I didn’t say was that that picture is very precious, because the five of us will never be photographed together again.
In the early hours of 30th May 2010, I was on a night shift at ITN in London, preparing to read the ITV National News bulletin at 5.30am. Then I got a call that would change my life forever. My sister Deborah (pictured with me above) had collapsed with a massive and previously undiagnosed brain aneurysm, and was on life support in a hospital in the west of Ireland where she lived.
I made it from London, via two long drives and a horribly delayed flight, by early afternoon, a couple of hours before she died. My sister was 39 and had three children – a five month old baby and two older girls. I think about her and miss her every single day.
My husband and I have also lost three friends over the past seven years, two to cancer and one to complications of diabetes – all young, all with small children. It all makes you very aware of how short and precious life is, and how birthdays are not things to be dreaded and moaned about, but to be thrilled about.
So happy birthday to me, and to anyone else who has a birthday this week. Remember, as somebody once said: “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”
Have a great week.
Love Jackie xx