Three days into my thirties and so far so good. Aside from the inevitable hangover left over from the weekend celebrations I haven’t noticed any new wrinkles or additional grey hairs. To me, thirty actually sounds quite cool and sophisticated, carrying with it a vague promise that people might start taking you seriously. I like the idea that I could just consciously choose to leave my insecurities back in my twenties, a distant memory. Obviously I don’t actually feel any different (other than possibly a little bit fatter and more tired) but somehow it seems like a hopeful decade.

What I do feel however, quite keenly, is a huge sense of gratitude for all the people in my life who I have made a connection with over the years. Say what you will about birthdays, but they have a wonderful way of bringing people together. Creating contact between people whose lives were once closely intertwined but now, for various reasons, have more distance between them, but no less fondness.

I spent Sunday celebrating with family. It’s an unspoken prerogative of birthdays with a zero on the end, that you can gather people together at your whim and they must enjoy themselves. I may be speaking out of turn, but it really did feel like a joyful day; when lunch lasts eight hours it’s usually implies that people are having fun.

Which has got me thinking about the nature of families and friends and what brings us all together. All the encounters that we have with others, long or short, positive or negative, shape us in some way. When we consider the vastness of the universe, there can be no coincidences in the connections we make and the people we meet.

There’s a quote people use about friendship which implies that you can pick your friends but not your family. Well I’ve decided that I disagree. Being adopted, as I have grown up, I have become totally convinced that there is no coincidence that these people, though not tied to me by blood, are very much my family. I have come to believe that, when viewed from the perspective of eternity, we have known each other for many lifetimes and that this is just one chapter in a wonderful, continually unravelling story.