Happy birthday to me

It's my birthday today. But for the past 19 years the day has belonged to my son.

On November 9, 1993 at 5.17am, after 24 hours of labour, my oldest child was born a month earlier than scheduled. Of all the days available in a year he chose mine. It is such a special gift to share your birthday with your child. My friend Johanna Pigott also shares her special day with one of her sons. We both feel fortunate.

Last year my son turned 18 the week after he finished his HSC. He was in Noosa on the day. I arranged a surprise birthday dinner at a restaurant on the beach up there and his seven mates ensured that he got there to celebrate. It was the first time since he was born that the focus of my birthday wasn't on someone else and I didn't like it.

The older I get, the more delighted I am that I have a son to take the full brunt of the birthday. But I'm not shy about my age and won't hesitate to reveal it. I'm 47 today and feel fortunate that I am not working in an era or an industry where I have to pretend to be younger.

One of my closest girlfriends is the same age. We met at Uni during our undergraduate degrees and then completed our MBAs together. During group work at a final year MBA residential one of our classmates asked us our age. At the precise moment that I said, "37", my friend said "27". We were both shocked. I was surprised that she lied about her age. I didn't know that about her. She was annoyed that I had told the truth. Maybe she didn't know that about me.

Only moments earlier I had shared that I was the mother of a nine-year-old. My friend was single and child-free so she could get away with being 27. Me, not so much.

When I was single, child-free and a journalist for The Daily Mirror I discovered that a work colleague shared my birthday. I'm not sure what it is about birthdays but they seem to draw people together. Perhaps we would have become friends anyway but there is something bonding about that fact. We just assumed we had a lot in common as a result and he has been like a big brother to me ever since. Twenty five years later we are still friends so perhaps we were right. My brother Darren Wick turns 50 today. I hope his colleagues at Channel Nine, where he is the director of News and Current Affairs, force him away from his desk to celebrate the milestone.

Rather than try to hide behind my son today, I have decided to indulge my senses on my special day too. I will be celebrating part of my day with a 90-minute muscle melt hot stone spa treatment, a gift from a wonderful group of women. That will be followed by dinner at The Fish Shop with my family. It will be a great day.

Happy birthday to my son, my friend and also (now with reduced reluctance) to me! Life is too short not to enjoy it.

Enjoy your day too.

Marina Go

Marina Go is Chair of the Wests Tigers NRL Club, a non-executive director of Autosports Group and author of the business book for women, Break Through: 20 Success Strategies for Female Leaders. She was previously GM of Hearst Australia at Bauer Media. Boss magazine named her as one of 20 True Leaders of 2016.  Marina has over 25 years of leadership experience in the media industry, having started her career as a journalist. She was appointed Editor of Dolly magazine at the age of 23, before spending the next decade editing a number of leading women's magazines. She has held senior leadership roles at Fairfax, Pacific, Emap, Bauer and Private Media, where she was CEO and founder of the career website Women’s Agenda.  

She is a director of digital startup Daily Siren, and also a member of the Advisory Boards of the Walkley Foundation, The Australian Republican Movement and Women’s Agenda. She is a former director of Netball Australia, Odyssey House,  Sydney Symphony Vanguard and The Apparel Group. She lectures on digital media at the University of Technology, Sydney, is a Mentor with the Women In Media and NRL Women programs and a UNSW Alumni Leader and Ambassador. She has an MBA from The Australian Graduate School of Management, a BA (Mass Communications) from Macquarie University and is a member of the AICD. She is a mother of two young men and passionate about diversity and equality. 

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