Somehow, somewhere between painstakingly applying nail varnish flowers to my Doc Marten boots, crying about being cruelly dumped on my 16th birthday (true story) and hard discussions about the best way to get your kids school shirt as white as it can be, I blinked and realised I was pushing 40. This week in fact. Ouch, I said it out loud. I say pushing, I should say approaching with caution. Now 30 was just fine, I breezed through that one with barely a thought. 40 though seems like the age where you're supposed to have all your life in order and start acting responsibly - you're just "supposed" to be grown up. I talked about it back in August in this post but somehow along the way I seem to have embraced the very thing that I was so nervous of. 40 now feels "OK". Short of lying about my age for the foreseeable future, which is going to be tricky as many friends will read this and realise my deception, I'm going for it. Bring. It. On.
So with that in mind, I have been creating a bucket list of sorts. I have obviously been faffing around far too much to do the "40 things to do before you're 40" and unless I can stall time (now that would be an impressive thing for the bucket list....) I'm going to just have to go for this.......
1. Stop caring about my age. It doesn't matter, no-one cares and there's nothing I can do about it. Therefore, buy the eye cream and deal with it.
2. Run 10k. I managed 5k a little while ago, so only twice the pain right?
3. Lift some heavy weights. Like really heavy. And make it look good without making a face like a dying rat.
4. Climb something high. Not the kitchen stool when I can't reach the Tupperware cupboard (another true story...) but something really high. Perhaps not Everest though.
5. Read / re-read the classics. Create a list of an achievable amount to read in a year and do it.
6. Write. The. Book. Or at least coax it out a little more. Come on, I know you're in there.
7. Try a new drink or food previously unknown. I can confirm this year I have finally enjoyed an olive or two. The food world is now my oyster as it were. Not them though. Ewww.
8. Crochet a blanket. A few years ago I "took up" crochet. I made a scarf and more than a few attempts at garments that spectacularly unravelled and faced the rest of their woolly lives in the bottom of the craft basket. I have a granny square blanket in my head that is going to be beautiful. One day.
9. Watch more bands / live music. One of my absolute favourite things to do and one I don't do nearly enough. I've seen bands and acts over the years as diverse as Janet Jackson to PJ and Duncan. (Yes, really) More please.
10. Dig out my Nan's cookbook and cook something from it. As long as it doesn't involve lard. (Why did so many include lard??!)
11. Learn to swim properly. I am an expert at doing the doggie paddle whilst pulling the aforementioned rat face. This needs to change.
12. Learn how to say something more than "Can I have a beer please?" in a foreign language. Like "Can I have a Prosecco please?"
13. Dance. Really dance. Everyone watching Strictly at the moment is thinking this I'm sure but how cool would it be to rock up at a party and be able to actually do the American Smooth?? Which brings me nicely to.....
14. Perfect a party trick. Something classy obviously, I'm not talking about being able to neck a pint of ale in less than 5 seconds. Although that would be pretty cool. Drink responsibly my friends....
15. Go to a really cool music festival. Glastonbury is and always has been on my hitlist but then I discovered the ones in countries that may actually have more than a chance in hell of a warm day.
16. Say "yes" more. Not as in "have you had an accident at work" but leave myself open a little more to new opportunities that I would normally make up some terrible excuse to get out of.
17. Embrace my own company. Go to the cinema alone, a spa day alone - I'm talking about a bit of "me time". With my constant friend by my side - a large Americano coffee. (My MacBook just autocorrected that as having some "me" time with a large American. Which would be a very different option on the bucket list......)
18. Be able to grow something plant or vegetable-like without condemning it to an early death. Or without planting it in the garden and then forgetting where I put it because I forgot to put the little name tags next to it. Or without planting it and then it getting obliterated by a small boy with a football.
19. Build a snowman. My son has seen snow here in the U.K only once in his lifetime and we just don't ever seem to have enough of the cold white stuff to make a decent big snowman. With a carrot nose and coal eyes - old school stuff.
20. Drive a truck. A massive one. I've wanted to do this since the days of watching Long Distance Clara on Pigeon Street (Now there's a throwback for you...) I want to go to a race track or somewhere where I'm in no danger of meeting any other traffic (God forbid) and just drive. Perhaps toot the horn a bit to show I mean business.
21. Learn how to do the splits. I've done yoga for a year now and I'm still no closer. Or should that be further apart. One day legs, one day.
22. Learn how to put air in my tyres or be able to perform any other car maintenance task other than just sticking some petrol in my car.
23. Go to the Edinburgh Festival. Again, it's been on the hitlist for far too long, next year maybe?
24. See the Northern Lights. Preferably in one of those glass igloos whilst sipping some sort of crazy liqueur that fights away the cold temperatures. And whilst looking fabulous in a (fake) fur coat, obvs.
25. Swim with dolphins. Admittedly I may need to crack number 11 before I attempt this one.
26. Go Zorbing. Kind of like a huge hamster ball that you are zipped into and then pushed down a hill. Ridiculous? Yes. On the list? Yes.
27. Go on the Orient Express. I've wanted to do this ever since I was a kid. And sip a Gin and Tonic whilst I'm on it. (That was not on the list when I was a kid, honest.)
28. Write my will. That's a proper grown up aim surely? Someone needs to know who gets the coffee machine and handbags after all.
29. This is a biggie. Get my degree. I didn't go to University. I regret it. Not sure what degree yet but one day gadget, one day....
30. Quit the paranoia. I'm the kind of person who worries constantly about what people think of me. Stop caring, I'm not going to be liked by everyone, that's normal and that's fine. Those who do, do and I love them for it. Those that don't? Not on my radar anymore.
31. Celebrate with a big cake / glass of prosecco / great big coffee / new skinny jeans when I hit 40 blog posts. I never thought I'd be brave enough to post one let alone 40. I'm over halfway there, perhaps by then I'll have reached my next goal?.....
32. Get a crazy amount of likes on a blog post. Go "viral" maybe! Turn this crazy hobby into something more.
33. Set up a monthly donation to charity. I don't need to explain why, everyone could do this.
34. Adopt an animal. Husband, if you're reading this, the animal does not have to live with us. Honest.
35. Sing. I am not a good singer. I do not care.
36. Learn how not to be a total technophobe. I might be from the generation that barely learned how to use a computer at school but I should really be able to do more than switch it off and on again.
37. Learn how to play the piano. I nailed the recorder, attempted the clarinet, made a passable attempt at the saxophone. Piano - you're next.
38. Wear the dress / top / jewellery that you keep for "best". Any day can and should be "best."
39. Make jam. Make like I'm in the WI (again, not on the bucket list, sorry Mum) and make a few little jars of something passable to throw on toast.
40. Live the cliches. The really cheesy ones. Live Love Laugh? Dance in the rain like no-one is watching because you just need to keep calm and carry on? Yeah those. All of those.
I feel like I should end this longest blog ever with some meaningful words. A quote from one of the greats perhaps.
"You better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime."
So yes, come at me 40. I'm ready to lose myself, own it and give it a shot. Or is that down a shot?.......