In short the answer is no different than it is to approach any other birthday, but the beginning of a new decade of figures has been given great importance and significance in our society. So, before we start not all cultures feel that 40 is a thing, a few years ago a friend of mine had to rush to plan a great 40th for her husband after learning in the UK it is supposedly a big deal as in Japan it is just not a thing. Also turning 40 is going to be different for everyone, of course it is. Yes, I may be a blogger so somewhat in a mindset that complete strangers are interested in hearing about my life but I am not so arrogant that I think you are all just the same as me, with all of the same thoughts, that would be a very scary world. I was in fact inspired to write this post by a fellow blogger Kat from Kat Got The Cream, my current hero for going back to school this year for her Masters. We were walking in Harrogate on one of the days that could be described as summer, I was rambling and she said you should totally write that as a post. So here we are.
It is safe to say I had no thoughts at all on approaching 30 apart from the fact that I was chomping at the bit. I have always had an hubristc air about me when it comes to knowledge, I suppose if you are raised in a family of intellectual snobs that can happen. So I could not wait to start prefixing sentences with “well when you are in your 30s”. My 30s were, are amazeballs. My 30s were when I truly became comfortable in my own skin, I had all the same fun I had in my 20s but I had a disposable income so I could afford a taxi home and that extra drink after a club night. I didn’t have to sleep in a dorm room or fly with Ryanair. I finally knew what clothes suited me, and better still I could afford them! I think my main issue with 40s is I am sad to see the 30s go.
I have to hand on heart say I am not having a 40 freak out but I have started to notice some significant changes in me, for example I bought both day cream and night cream for the first time ever this year. I have no idea if they do in fact stop time but I feel like I am doing something and really isn’t that the point of beauty products? It is my new approaching 40 shopping habits that have been the cause for most concern; only the other week I suggested to Joe that we spend a day searching around the shops looking for a tissue box cover, he walked out of the room silently. Looking back I support his decision. To tissue box or not to tissue box is not really the question but is it just a gateway to stronger more damaging purchases? Will I one day pick up a Cotton Traders catalogue and think, “Wow that is lovely I am going to buy one in every colour”. Most of my concerns are deeply rooted in the choices and changes in myself that may be out of my control.
We all walk around with a cocksure attitude in our youth, telling ourselves “I will always” and “I will never” and before you know it you are spitting on a tissue to ‘clean’ your child’s face and listening to Radio 1 with a look of utter disgust. Are we all heading down a road of inevitability? The truth is I already enjoy a good garden centre, vast swathes of youth culture make no sense to me, I often use the phrase ‘in my day’. Perhaps my knowledge, (a knowledge I have had since I was 18 if I am honest) of the fact that I am out of touch and uncool will be my saviour. I could never be described as trying too hard, maybe I could start a group: Hi my name is …..and I am overly self-aware of how lame I am and do not care. I often think that I had to have children just to justify my eye rolling sense of humour, as a parent that will be expected and I have a 20 year jump on most.
My journey to 40 is far from an intrepid one and I cannot decide if this is a fear of aging, a sense that I am running out of time or I just cannot be arsed to organise a party. The expectation put on the celebrations that should occur are daunting and perhaps people are happier and more settled when they hit 41 not because they have grown used to being in their 40s but that they are not organising and paying for endless parties, trips, spa days etc…
The notion of time is definitely an issue for me, for example I am probably not going to be a concert pianist and I know that, I just don’t have the time. I am probably not going to have written as many books as I would have liked largely due to the fact that getting published is tougher than people think and I have a literary agent. I want to live a 1001 lives because so many things appeal to me. The number of life changers Joe has to listen to is high; hey honey I think we should buy this finca and live off grid and I will teach classes, sod it let’s sell the house and just travel, I know I said we were having pasta for dinner but I have made jerk jackfruit instead. Okay the last one is not so big but Joe had been looking forward to that pasta all day. Those things are maybe not so much about age and time but the fact that I realise I am not getting a Nobel prize in Physics and becoming an MP whilst simultaneously writing 3 cookbooks, living off grid and recording an album. Maybe 40 will be a good learning curve for me, Nic you get one life, it can be full, it can be varied but it is just one life.
So in conclusion I have not really decided what my 40s will hold but if you see a confused woman in a Cotton Traders outfit brandishing a tissue box cover and wondering what the big deal about a flat white is please say hi.