I've been to countless 40th birthdays and several 50ths and a couple of 80ths, but last night was my first 70th - and it was for a friend, not a relative. Such is the age bracket I now move in.
Most of the other people at the party were over 60 or at least over 50 and Olle was the only child there.
Quite late on in the party, after the cake, I was standing on my own near a woman I know (G) who was talking to the husband (B) of another woman I know and I heard her say the name of my psychoanalyst (R). At which I remembered that G is a counsellor and I had heard that B is a psychologist.
Without thinking, I moved forward and said to them, "The woman-you've-just-mentioned is my analyst". [Yes, somewhat Woody Allenesque.]
G is not psychoanalytically oriented in her own work, but she received this news with interest and asked how long I'd been going to see R, to which I gave a slightly evasive reply. I now had to work out how to handle my spontaneous launch into the middle of their conversation. I could see that B had a small look of alarm in his eyes - as he clearly didn't recognise me (we've only been introduced once before, at another party), for all he knew I was about to spill some inappropriate beans or ask them for inside information about R.
G, who talks quickly and a lot, told a couple of (non-identifying) anecdotes about some of her clients, which increased the look of alarm in B's eyes. B then said to me, "R has been a dear friend and colleague of mine for many years" and moved away. With that, I understood that he is also a psychoanalytic therapist.
G told me that she had met R at a psychology seminar. "You are very very lucky to have her", she said. I know that I am.
R has been an enormous part of my life for many years but is invisible to everyone else in my life (except co-parent and Olle). Maybe I could use the analogy of the Internet or blogosphere and how unseen that part of our mental lives is to the people we interact with in the real world - but that doesn't come close to describing the fundamental importance for me of my relationship with R.
I haven't kept notes about it though, so I doubt I'll ever be writing about it in any lengthy way. I read this book many years ago, one of the few to attempt to write about the process from the analysand's point of view, but it was quite sketchy. Worth reading if you can find it, though.