It’s my birthday and someone put a man in my canoe.

I turned 33 years old today! That’s Big Girl Panties status by anyone’s standards. I have ADORED my thirties so far. My twenties were a confusing casserole of bad food, bad decisions, and terrible self-image. My thirties have been nothing but adventure, laughter, and self-discovery, interspersed with the odd chin hair. I’ve holidayed in seven countries, driven a race car, quit my job, shaved my head, eaten a Slim Jim, become vegan, and learnt how to apply liquid eyeliner without wanting to stab myself in the throat with the applicator. I’ve been so grown-up and balanced and in complete command of my world, so it’s hardly surprising that now is the time for a thing with a penis to waltz in and fuck it all up.

Enter Nic, stage right. There are a handful of beloved people in my life who were washed into my canoe precisely when I needed someone to help me steer. They left me with ideas, tools, and experiences that brought me to the place I am today, and continue to paddle beside me and give me a push whenever I need one. Nic, on the other hand, launched in like a deranged blonde torpedo, capsized the canoe, lost the oars, and suggested we take the train instead. He came in like a wrecking ball – at least, that’s how I originally saw it.

Fun experiment: go find yourself a cat. Preferably a cat that’s been single for eight years, living  a smug, self-satisfied life completely devoid of compromise or complications. Then prepare a lovely bath. A perfectly hot, steaming bath, with fragrant bubbles, aromatherapy oils, soy candles, and maybe some Enya on the stereo. Now toss the cat in the bath. An experience that should otherwise be enjoyable and rejuvenating is nothing but confused horror and bitey terror for a feline. For those bemused by my laboured metaphor, I am the cat and the bath is a healthy, mutually supportive relationship. Inga did not want to take a goddamn bath.

Luckily for both of us, Nic’s an astute fellow and knows how to defuse a woman who likens relationships to drowning cats and watercraft accidents. He’s also decidedly more than a thing with a penis, and to my endless astonishment, is currently doing the opposite of destroying everything I hold dear. He’s been an inspiring, calm addition to my world, and while my future is looking vastly different to anything I’d imagined a year ago, I’m much less likely to scratch and piss uncontrollably because of it. Like I said, I have this grown-up thing totally sorted now I’m 33.

This brings me back to my birthday. My birthdays are usually extended affairs, because I’m a narcissistic birthday fiend and require the world to revolve around me for much longer than a mere 24 hours. They always begin with GOF calling me gleefully at some unholy hour of the morning to remind me that I’m aging every bit as quickly as he is. Last night, Nic took me to see The Lion King musical, because I mentioned I’d never seen the movie. He also booked us into a gorgeous boutique hotel with an odd predilection for confectionery themed furniture, fed me breakfast, and refused to take me to work until lunch time. Tomorrow I’m going birthday trampolining (yes, that’s what it sounds like; yes, I swear I’m 33), followed by birthday brunch, followed by birthday drinking, and another hotel stay in Melbourne courtesy of one of my beloved canoeists and general troublemaker, Nikki. I’m a spoilt brat of a woman, and I wouldn’t change a damned thing. Happy Birthday to me!

Lolly cushion is not as delicious as it looks. Trust me.

Lolly cushion is not as delicious as it looks. Trust me.

Liquorice allsorts stool, because why the hell not?

Liquorice allsorts stool, because why the hell not?

This is what happens when you arrive at work late on your birthday.

This is what happens when you arrive at work late on your birthday.