I'M A self-confessed social media fiend, so this should come as no surprise, but I love the Facebook memory feature. Every day I get my posts from previous years flashing up. My favourites are seeing my boys when they were younger.
A sweet video popped up recently with my eldest, at the age of three, saying "this is the best birthday ever". Well, we have some competition. Getting a Labour-Green-NZ First Government as an early birthday present was an incredible treat.
The night before my birthday, I was one of the nearly 150 Green Party delegates on a video conference receiving a confidential briefing on the Labour-Green deal then voting on whether to accept it or not.
The call was scheduled to kick-off at 7pm and many of us had registered early, only discovering while waiting to start that Winston Peters was due to make his announcement. Needless to say, there was a heap of hooting and hollering when he made the decision. It was great to be together to share in the news, even if it was a virtual gathering.
Now the details are out - keeping all the good news secret was hard while walking on sunshine - I can share my favourite achievements. "Significantly" increasing conservation funding and having an experienced conservationist in Eugenie Sage as Minister of Conservation is right up there. It's time for DOC to get a decent boost to take care of our wildlife.
Introducing an assessment of climate impacts in new legislation and establishing a Green Investment Fund of $100 million is fantastic, as is winding back subsidies for expanding irrigation. Having James Shaw as Minister of Climate Change must be a dream come true for him.
He's also achieved a commitment to develop a comprehensive set of environmental, social and economic sustainability indicators - this is the first step away from reliance on the current GDP system that values expenditure associated with a heart attack or car accident in the same way as the value from creating a new meaningful job.
I was so pleased to see PM Jacinda Ardern repeat Labour's commitment to double the refugee policy - I think this fits under her comment that she intends to "bring kindness back". I also like the positive attention being applied to increasing openness and transparency around official information - this has slipped in recent years.
But my number one favourite is the Greens getting a serious step towards stopping seabed mining off our coast with the agreement to look to establish a Taranaki blue whale sanctuary.
Okay, it's not there yet but I have faith that this is only a matter of time.
There are also a bunch of highlights in the Labour-NZ First agreement that I'm excited about too, including re-establishing the Mental Health Commission and increasing funding for family violence networks. Both agreements are easy to read, short and clear, so worth finding the source documents online if you want to know more. It's great to see a focus on policy and a shift towards collaborative politics.
And, of course, the gold card lives another day.
I attended a gold card birthday dinner for a dear friend this week. We ended up swapping life highlight stories, many of which revolved around the ocean and adrenalin fixes.
These recollections of adventure sit snugly alongside the more domestic memories - time with family, eating ice creams, walking on beaches, dining with friends.
It is a short life - the only one we get. Finding that balance between the highs of new experiences, the security of loving relationships, and the satisfaction of making a difference is not a bad challenge. I'm grateful to have it.
■Nicola Patrick is a councillor at Horizons Regional Council, works for Te Kaahui o Rauru and is exploring a social enterprise hub for Whanganui. A mum of two boys, she has a science degree and is a Green Party member.