So in exactly 12 hours I shall be 40 – apparently I was born at ten past two in the morning. Seems as good a time as any. I have to admit that at the moment – and that is key – I am rather enjoying this “turning 40” malarkey. My husband and I held a big 40th birthday party on Saturday evening – enormous fun and proved all the important things to me such as I am not too old to drink ridiculous amounts, to dance all night, to stay up until 3.30am and not be desperate for my bed (this final one was, I feel, my greatest achievement as increasingly I do find myself nodding off at an embarrassingly early time in the evening – usually with the first bongs of the 10 o’clock news (am I the only one who finds these incredibly soporific?))
However, it is all too easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when partying hard at our age – you can still drink, you can still dance, you can still do really stupid things (like on Saturday evening, paddling in the pond at 2am and downing shots) but you can’t handle the next morning and the hangover. It is all too easy to blame it on the kids – have to get up early, have to get breakfast and try to function as a parent – but this is just rubbish – in fact, the truth is, you can’t handle the hangover because you are no longer 21 and your body is not designed to withstand the pressures of a night for a 21 year old. Nature is so cruel – she lets you believe you can still do it, you swan around feeling omnipotent and invincible (helped along by numerous glasses of whatever your tipple is) and then it all comes crashing down the next day. Not only do you have to suffer the physical effects of your excesses but also the humiliating realisation that things that you thought were hilarious the night before are actually not that befitting of someone approaching middle age. There really isn’t anything that would make a group of young people cringe more than the sight of fifty odd people in their late thirties, forties and fifties doing the “gangnam style” dance. It seems to me that it is crucial at 40 to only have still photography at any party where you are in danger of thinking that dancing in a certain way is cool or hysterically amusing because the idea of having such poor taste on film is really too much to bear.
It reminds me of when I was picking the music for my party and my friend’s son was helping with the “technical side” – my friend and I got slightly carried away by a rerun of 80s and 90s classics such as “Pump up the Jam” and “Ride on Time”. My friend’s son watched in horror at the demented dancing of his mother and her equally demented friend and shook his head in disbelief as I tried to explain how this music was the forerunner of what he listens to today and it was mould-breaking etc. I could tell he wasn’t buying my philosophical approach to the impact of 80s and 90s music on the substance of the music of today’s youth. I guess the only consolation is that in 30 years time, I’m sure he will be having a similar conversation with his children about how innovative and ground-breaking the music of 2012 was. Anyway, regardless of his horror and complete incomprehension, I am not embarrassed to say that both those tracks were played on Saturday night and were floor-fillers!
So next time I write, I shall be 40…I am not expecting much to change except perhaps a sense of relief that the waiting is over!