I have been 40 now for, oooh, two months. I snuck into my forties without so much as a party popper or a hangover. I know the thing these days is to have a big do whatever the occasion. I’m leaving! Let’s have a party. I’m 30! Let’s have a party! I’m getting married! Let’s have a super expensive hen & stag do, an outrageously costly wedding and a great party! I’m 50! 60! 70! 75! 80! 90! 100! Leeeeetttt’s ppppaaaaarty!
I suppose I’m a little shy about these things. For my wedding I was all for going to Chelsea registry office, having confetti thrown over us on the big brown stone steps and going with few friends and family to a room in a pub afterwards to get hideously drunk, but my (now) husband wanted the big shebang.
A hundred guests and a country hotel later, I was absolutely wracked with nerves beforehand. The thought of waiting to go down the aisle and everyone turning to stare at me filled me with dread. I had anxious dreams where I decided to just wear a silk nightie with my hair up in a greasy pony tail as I thought it’d look fine, then realising that it absolutely wouldn’t look at all fine just as the music for ‘Here Comes the Bride’ started. Cue waking up in a cold sweat.
As it was, I absolutely loved my wedding day. Yes, my knees were knocking when I was waiting at the top of the aisle but luckily I was wearing a fancy wedding dress and had invested in a hair and make up lady so the greasy pony tail/nightie combo had been avoided. I adored having all my friends and family in one place celebrating our marriage and I still managed to get hideously drunk. I sobbed the day after my wedding. Not because I thought I’d made a terrible mistake, but because I didn’t want to throw up in a service station toilet on the way back down from Harrogate to London. Damn you alcohol.
However, I suppose I wasn’t sure being 40 was something I really wanted to celebrate. Not that I have a thing about age, because I couldn’t give two hoots that I’m 40. It’s that same old feeling creeping in again of everyone being somewhere just for you. Once you’ve lived in various places and you have a variety of extended families and age ranges, it becomes a bit of a logistical nightmare sorting out where people will stay if they come, asking them to spend money on hotels, then finding a venue, oh and the big ‘to buffet or not to buffet’, that is the question? Plus, it costs a bloody fortune. So in the end, I took the easy way out and did nothing. Bah humbug old me.
Instead I shall enjoy all my friends birthdays who turn 40 this year, will eat their buffets, gaze longingly at their photos from Paris, New York and Vegas because Facebook and Instagram allow that nose pressed against the window looking into someone else’s life feeling and I’ll sit with my squished nose and think to myself, I’ll do something really special one day. Maybe my 43rd? That number has a nice ring to it….