Tag Archives: 40th

Learning To Love The Big 4-0!

I entered my 40th year last month and I have to admit I am still trying to get my head around my new age.  When I’m asked how old I am, I find myself imitating Rainman and pronouncing the number as if I’ve never heard it before “Four-T, Forre-T, Forrre-T”.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lied about my age since turning 40 and in fact I did some major celebrating for my birthday, which pretty much lasted 3 weeks and all kicked off with an amazing weekend in Palma with 9 of my closest girlfriends along with my 2 gay husbands. However, since the celebrations have ceased I am now left with the uneasy feeling of being stuck with this age!

I have been trying to rack my brain as to why I feel this way.  A lot of my friends are already into their 40s, they look fabulous on it, have embraced it and have said its their favourite decade yet.  We are told that ‘Life begins at 40’ but how can that be true when its the start of our middle age?!  So, not one to be negative and in a bid to learn how to suppress a sob whenever filling out an application form and realising I’m in the next age bracket tick box, I have decided to compile a For and Against list to see if that helps.

 

Good Things

  • I do feel more of a grown up now.  I don’t tend to sweat the small stuff as much as I did in my 30s and definitely not as much as I did in my 20s when everything was analysed over and stressed about.
  • I feel more inclined to be healthier and look after myself now.  Unfortunately, it is through necessity as I consume endless information on superfoods and healthy living blogs whilst trying not to obsess about my weight/skin/hair.  I am still holding on to my skinny jeans (which are probably best donated to a 20 year old) because you never know, those sandbags I developed on my hips from my twin pregnancy might disappear one day?
  • I achieved a great deal in my 20s and 30s. I climbed the career ladder in the profession I wanted to work in, went to fabulous places/parties/concerts, met an amazing man, married him and we had three gorgeous kids.  My goals can now be adjusted to what I want rather than what I need, although glossy thick hair as if I’m in a Pantene advert and a bank balance similar to Victoria Beckham’s might be slightly out of my reach.
  • I am happy with the simple things in life.  I’m no longer desperate to wear the latest fashion, be ahead of every trend or to always have plans for a Friday and Saturday night.  Instead I love a night in front of the TV with the hubster and a nice bottle of wine, a good book, a meal in a good restaurant or a night at the theatre/cinema.  I don’t need to be the last one standing in the club anymore (although me and the girls did stay out till 4am in Palma) and now happily opt for a bar with ‘somewhere nice to sit and chat’ instead.
  • My friends are my family and my family are my friends.  Gone are my fly by night friends of my 20s and those that are still with me from that decade are like extended members of my family.  We have been through it all together and will be in it for the long run now.  Any new friends I have made are keepers too as I can only surround myself with people I have a connection with.  My beloved parents I now regard as my friends as we holiday together, socialise together, appreciate (lots of) wine together.  They have always been my on-hand therapists but now I feel I am old enough to return the therapy when my advice is needed.

Bad Things

  • I have a lot more ailments at 40 then I did at 20.  I am basically a pin cushion for my doctor now with regular thyroid tests, we discuss pre-menopause and I am also now eligible for breast screening.  No longer are my visits to the doctor for an occasional water infection from burning the candle at both ends but instead are due to irritable bowel syndrome with my metabolism giving up the ghost.  If you have period problems in your 20s the doctors are on hand to discuss options – period problems in your 40s I am told its my age and it is to be expected and perhaps I could whip it all out if I’m fed up with it!
  • Dealing with the ageing process.  Gone is the tinted moisturiser for youthful skin and now instead I need foundation that drag queens endorse to cover those rosescia and age spots freckles and blushes.  Plus the constant control of my grey hair natural highlights without looking like Paul McCartney (a la aubergine) and what is with the chin hair?
  • I can’t do hangovers anymore.  I do love a tipple or two but literally more than two or three drinks and I’m contending with insomnia most of the night, a day spent feeling like my organs have been removed and the type of alcohol blues that make me want to start writing morose poetry.

It seems that the good things do outweigh the bad things.  I think the best way to sum it up is in the words of Lucille Ball:

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

So if anyone asks – I’m 39! Which means I can celebrate my 40th again this year!!

 

 

 

The Unexpected Hits You Between The Eyes

I am really looking forward to this weekend, I haven’t much planned, but after the stress of last Saturday I am looking forward to a sense of calm returning to my life. Last Saturday was my older brothers surprise 40th birthday party, a surprise party that had been my brainchild back in January. I was warned that it might be tricky to organise, impossible to keep secret and receive an unwelcome response from the birthday boy, oh well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

Even though his birthday wasn’t until November I wanted to get the ball rolling early on as I figured a lot of his friends would also be doing the same celebrations for their 40th’s. I recruited the help of my sister-in-law and his two closest friends as my co-conspirators for the guest list. I scoured his Facebook friend list for clues of who he was in contact with from school, then looked at my Facebook friends list and reasoned that you probably wouldn’t want to invite half the people on there, as the last time you spoke was in Chemistry class and that was a vague memory. Luckily, my co-conspirators were able to advise me on who would be welcome and who would be just a bit random. As one of them pointed out, the last thing my brother would want would be a rubbish school reunion by resurrecting the ex-school friends who he was glad to see the back of. After much deliberation we had a guest list; a chosen few school friends, a group of lads from Basingstoke he hadn’t seen for a long time but were greatly missed in his life and our close friends and family. My parents were providing their mental/physical/financial help with the organising and we decided on our local football club as a venue to go with the ruse of ‘my son’s football fundraising party’ that would be our cover. Things were shaping up, invitations were sent with a heavily stated ‘keep quiet’ approach and we were receiving lots of keen acceptances.

The venue with a bar was booked, guest list sorted, next was decor, catering and music. I would be lying if I didn’t admit how much I was enjoying the organisation of it all, I hadn’t yet resorted to wearing a hands free phone kit on my ear and carrying a clipboard, but I was quite tempted to. The venue had a speaker system that would give us the option of bringing in our own music to save on a DJ. The moment I found this out I could feel my inner control freak stretching its hand out screaming ‘me, me!’. This was what all those years of mixed tapes had been leading up to, the hours spent recording the top 40 on my cassette deck my finger poised over the pause button, timing it just right to avoid any speaking between the delectable sounds of Bros and Wham!

Perfecting the mixed tape

Obviously recording music is a bit more straightforward these days with IPods and downloads, but I still became a bit too obsessed with the task of creating my playlist. I figured I needed 4 hours of music, so I divided each hour into how I thought the music would be received; first hour would be guests arriving/my brothers ta-da surprise, second hour would be mingling/chatting/catching up, third hour would be eating/drinking/getting merry, with the fourth and final hour bringing dancing round handbags/tearful goodbyes. I refused any help and when hubby assisted me with some of the downloads, I was incensed when he inserted a few of his own suggestions such as Dennis Waterman ‘I could be so good to you’, apparently this ‘sing the theme tune’ is a classic sing-a-long for lads, I wasn’t convinced but let it go with the promise he would own up to it on the night if questioned.

The day drew nearer, my parents and sister-in-law had the hardest job of getting my brother to the fake event without him finding out the truth. My sister-in-law explained that whenever he discussed the night she made a cup of tea and only spoke from the kitchen so he couldn’t read her expression. There were some minor hiccups on the run-up, bizarrely there was a shortage of helium in our local area so I had to source a balloon creator from out of the area to come and decorate our venue. I’m not sure if our local youths have been using our helium up as I can’t say I’ve heard highly pitched youngsters hanging around the high street lately.

The night arrived, all the guests were in place, it now felt like a military operation with my sister-in-law sending me coded messages while we all stood in the dark waiting their arrival. Finally, the door opened, the light came on and my brother, although visually shocked, casually removed his jacket and waved at the room as if it happened every week. But thankfully he was pleased, he was definitely surprised but he was happy to have the party thrown in his honour.

Film themed birthday cake

The party was a success, everyone was pleased to mingle, lots of drink and food was consumed. My music list was, as expected, not appreciated and I had to physically stop myself from asking people to pay attention to the smooth links of each hand-picked track. Even Dennis Waterman received a good, as well as confused, reaction. The night ended with my brother and his mates with arms around shoulders shouting along to Chas N Dave, with my brother looking happy. Mission accomplished. I am now available for hire; weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, I’m very reasonable and I do a wicked playlist!