Those of you who’ve known me – on here or in real life – for a while, and have good memories, will be aware that it’s my birthday next weekend. And because I made a big fuss of my 40th birthday party two years’ ago, the vast majority will know exactly which birthday 😛
I have slightly mixed feelings about my birthday this year. I’ve never really thought about and visualised being over 40. As I think back, I realise that all my goals and wishes when I was growing up involved things I was going to be or achieve before I was 35. Some of you will no doubt be ever so slightly surprised that I am not trying to take a few year’s off the real total. I assure you, in case you’re concerned, that I’m not at all claiming a lack of vanity here. It’s just that I have never worked out the advantages of doing that.
For one, I’d rather people think I look kind of OK for 41 (or more accurately, almost 42) than seeing me as a rather worn, old-looking 35. And having not made huge progress at work for some time, I would have to knock an awful lot of years off for anyone to even fleetingly think I’d been incredibly successful very quickly.
And I’d rather challenge people’s perceptions about what it’s like to be 40-something than to simply try to pretend to be younger in the first place. (For some reason the Sex & The City episode with Charlotte lying about her age just drifted into my mind right then. After all, it didn’t really work out for her). Hope you’re not here for anything intellectual 😉
And I have a hunch that it’s only worth pretending to be younger if you can convincingly knock at least 10 years’ off – after all a 21 year old will still probably equate me with their parents’ generation even if they think I’m 37.
But most of all, I don’t think I actually want to be younger – naturally I’d rather like some of the attributes, I mean who would say no to magically firmer boobs, razor sharp cheek bones or better-toned thighs (although I have a sneaking suspicion that getting to the gym more often could be just as effective for the thighs as a magic de-ageing process)?
After all, where we are now is a culmination of all the experiences, thoughts and observations of the life we’ve lived to date, the things we’ve learned, the people we’ve met, the time spent with good friends. To actually become younger would surely mean losing some of those….Of course, there’s the idea of getting to go back and re-do bits of life for a better result and to avoid making real or perceived mistakes, but we’d be the same person making those decisions, so who knows if it really would come out better. Just imagine going back and finding out that changing a couple of details meant a much worse result.
I recently read Caitlin Moran’s “How to be a Woman”. I am a huge fan of hers and love the fact that she doesn’t underrate the importance of a good haircut, although I couldn’t help reflecting on where she’s got to in life and the fact that she is so much younger than me. So maybe the wish to be younger is partly a wish to have achieved more, earlier in life. And to have more time to find out how we are – but as far as I can tell, we really only find out who we are by living, by having experiences, by building strong, meaningful friendships, and that all happens as time passes…as we age.
Thank you to all my lovely friends of various ages who bring so much to my life – you are immensely valuable 🙂