On Christmas Eve, I was sitting in a restaurant with the family, having an early tea (with the addition of a couple of glasses of prosecco) and I started pondering my birthday, which was happening the following day. OK, I admit it, for a good few minutes, I couldn’t actually remember how old I was going to be.
What is it about getting older that makes you forget?
But I counted on my fingers – I’m not even joking – and worked out that if I was born in 1978, I was about to turn 36. Oh God. 36. That’s on the downward slope to 40. Which is old. You might be 40 and reading this now, and be feeling a bit offended that I just said that, but honestly? To a 36 year old, 40 is OLD. Just like, when I was 26, the thought of turning 30 made me want to sob into my Bacardi Breezer a little, and pick up my Nokia 3210 and play Snakes to numb the pain.
The thing is, I don’t FEEL like a 36-year-old. I laugh at smutty jokes, I sing Frozen songs with my daughter at top volume in the kitchen while we skid around the floor in our socks pretending we’re on ice skates, I get excited about watching the new Hunger Games movie, I wear neon pink and orange Nikes to the gym.
Aren’t 36-year-olds meant to be responsible? We’re supposed to wear nice dresses with sensible shoes (me = silly bobble hats), read intelligent books (me = chick lit) and keep up to date with current affairs (does the Daily Mail sidebar of shame count?)
We’re rewriting what it means to be in our thirties or forties all the time. When my parents were 36, they didn’t go to festivals, or shop in Topshop, or palm me and my brother off on our grandparents for the night so that they could have a boozy night out at their favourite pub. They were proper grown ups at my age. Not like us. We don’t even have an EXTENDABLE DINING TABLE ferchrissakes, we just have a tiny dining table we bought from Ikea, ten years ago.
So I’m guessing that by the time I hit 40 (sob) it will absolutely, definitely be the new 30. Which is the new 21. We’re all basically refusing to grow up and in fifty years time, there will be a whole generation of 86-year-olds doing the Gangnam Style dance in mini skirts and doing shots of tequila as they go. Actually, who am I kidding, I bet if you search for that on YouTube, you’d find at least one video.
But on Christmas Eve, I made a decision. I’m going to take a leaf out of Geri Halliwell’s book. The Spice Girl famously knocked a few *cough* years off her age when the band hit the big time in 1996, and I think she had the right idea. Thinking about it, I quite liked being 32. I had recovered from the shock of turning 30, and had realised that (sssshh I’m whispering this in case any twenty somethings are reading this) your thirties are actually loads better than your 20s.
32. It’s a nice age, isn’t it?
So if anyone asks, from now on, I’m 32. I reckon I could get away with being 32 for at least another four years, by which time, I’ll be 40 and won’t mind admitting it because there will be a huge party in it for me. Here goes a little practice…. “Hi, I’m Alison. I’m 32” YES, that feels good.
So, this is just between me, you and Geri Halliwell OK? Don’t tell anyone…