A few more weeks and then I can add another year to my age. I’m turning 36. It’s not a ‘big’ ‘ending in zero’ birthday, but it has made me stop and pause. It feels like a tipping point between the early thirties and the big 4 oh that suddenly seems to be not that far away. I’m someone who thinks it’s great to grow older (and hopefully wiser!), but when I let the two numbers go through my head, I suddenly feel like everything is going really fast. Time to stand still.
I think back to the gift I received when I reached the memorable 30. I have to say, I don’t like to present someone nicer than it actually is. If something does not go so well, it needs to be said. And, it doesn’t always have to be perfect. But what I’m going to tell you now may sound like a fairy tale. And to be honest, it was.
A flashback to an everything-but-regular Tuesday in May, six years ago…
Less than a week ago, thirty beautiful pink roses were glorious in their vase in the living room. That in itself was a wonderful gift to me, since my other half can sometimes forget a birthday. He just doesn’t have much to do with it, he says. But this year it was different. The roses on their own were already a big surprise, but a small card was hidden between them. I opened it and saw all kinds of sweet words. But there was one sentence that stood out. As if he had written it in bold letters. ‘Next Monday we fly to St. Tropez for three days’.
After I had overcome the first emotion, a light started to burn. During our last trip we’d talked about our ‘bucket list’.
Although I’d spent summer holidays on the Côte d’Azur all my life, a helicopter flight from Nice to St. Tropez was still high on my list and I’d waxed lyrical about this to him. Of course there was a practical reason: to get to this picturesque place there is almost always a traffic jam, so that the journey there can easily take several hours. But, with a helicopter you can be there in no time! And not only that, I would experience my lifelong fantasy of flying high above the Mediterranean. If this is what he was thinking, he didn’t let the grass grow under his feet!
When we walked from the gate at Nice Airport, it seemed that I was right (yes! until this moment he’d kept this a secret from me). Our names are written on a paper held by a Frenchman dressed up in a smart suit. Suddenly I also understood why I was only allowed to carry hand luggage. Before I knew it, we were on the other side of the landing strip waiting to be picked up. In the distance I saw a helicopter descending and within seconds it was practically in front of me. A big smile on my face and goosebumps on my arms betrayed how I felt. Wow, this was really happening!
And now I am lying here in the serene garden of our hotel in the warm spring sun and I am quietly reviewing the experience of yesterday. The twenty-minute helicopter flight was amazing, even better than I could have imagined. But the landing really exceeded all expectations. The pilot landed the helicopter on a small lawn behind the white beach of Pampelonne, next to one of the beautiful vineyards. And to top it all, a private driver was waiting for us there, who brought us to this fine boutique hotel in his chic car.
If turning 30 was such a party, then I can’t wait for all the wonderful experiences that await me this year. Bring on the big 4 oh … now what about that remaining bucket list …..