Tag Archives: birthday

That Was The Decade That Was

happy 40thOn the eve of my foray into my forties, I’m indulging myself by looking back on the last decade.

This time ten years ago, I had no real idea which direction my life was taking. My twenties had been a whirlwind of travelling, angsty, late-night discussions in dark cellar bars, falling in and out of love and The Teenager (The Baby?) who made a late, messy and noisy arrival eight days after I turned 26.

I swapped crisp white shirts and hours spent lingering over black coffee and Gitanes for years of finger-painting, wet wipes and traipsing round the local parks. At 32, after four years of study, I qualified as a homeopath (or psychopath, as The Child proudly told his school teacher and anyone else who would listen). My clinic took off and I adored my work until the recession brought it to a sudden halt. I switched my attention to a degree course in health and social care, laying careful plans for the future.

The years passed. Endless sleepovers, fish fingers, day trips, gold star stickers, football magazines and scooters. Rugby kits and shoes got bigger and dirtier each year, those tiny baby slippers a ‘was he ever that small?’ distant memory. As he got older, I could even have friends over for girlie nights in without the fear of a near-naked child hurtling at top speed down the stairs, entirely decorated in felt-tip pen and a Superman cape. And now he’s suddenly a full-blown Teenager. All six foot of him. I adore him, even when he grunts, raids the fridge and holds his hand out for yet more money.

MS dominated my late thirties, turned everything upside down and we’re still picking our way through the aftermath. Career plans have changed as have priorities. I was unceremoniously sacked from my job, I fought back, I moved on.

MS certainly isn’t the best method for working out what’s important in life, but it’s helped. Everything is more in focus now and I take nothing for granted. So how were my thirties? Probably the decade where life shifted on its axis. The dreams and expectations I had at the start of them are long-gone. In its place is the realisation is that anything is possible. I just need to get out there and make it happen….

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It’s Only A Number. Isn’t It?

Oh joy. I will be forty 39 plus 1 in less than half a year. I won’t be celebrating, but rather I shall be holding a memorial service to my first 40 years, along with lashings of wine and copious amounts of cake.

To help me feel even more inadequate than usual, The Sunday Times Style magazine thoughtfully published a list of ’40 Things To Do Before You’re 40.’Here’s some of the ones I haven’t done and have no hope of doing before August:

  • Get an accountant – ha ha thud. That’s me laughing my head off.
  • Bin all your tights and replace the lot with Falke – unfashionable me has no idea what/who Falke is. Hopeless.
  • Have a kinky dream about a colleague – the builder? Seriously?
  • Go to Glastonbury – nope.
  • Host an afterparty that people still talk about years later – what the heck’s an afterparty and why have I never been to one?
  • Stop wearing lycra – never.
  • Spend a year with an incredibly flat stomach – and give up Maltesers and toast? Crazy.
  • Unwrap a diamond – not unless it’s a Diamond White cider party pack.
  • Grow your hair so long that it covers your nipples – one word – why?

But here’s some I have done:

  • Decide whether you want children – yup, I’m keeping the Teenager.
  • Be able to order wine confidently – ‘Cheapest bottle of your house white, and make it snappy, my good man.’
  • Pull an all-nighter, drink sambuca, dance on the tables, then go straight to work – too many times to mention.
  • Live abroad long enough to get a taste for the local breakfast – those were the days. Sigh.
  • Witness a birth – I was definitely there when The Teenager was born.
  • Perfect your signature roast chicken – Waitrose, I love you.

Don’t you just hate these lists? Here’s my kind of list – recently-announced top 5 snacks in the UK (drum roll….) bacon butties came out top, no doubt helped along by my recent alarming consumption of them. They were closely followed by cheese on toast, sausage rolls, Cornish pasties and Scotch eggs. Now that’s a list you can get your teeth into…

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