Coral skies wrapped around my shivering body, blanketing me on the cold summer’s evening. A warm, fuzzy feeling fluttered inside. I felt excited. “Tonight is going to be a good night!” I smiled to myself, brushing passed a huddle of people, laughing and dragging on cigarettes. “Excuse me!” I whispered quietly, and swiftly darted towards the pizzeria. I approached the steps of the glassed building. The sound of a hundred muffled conversations echoed from within. As I pushed through the revolving doors, my nostrils were awoken by the aroma of freshly stone-baked delights. I paused and scanned the crowded room for familiar faces. In between happy couples playing footsie under tables and families with excitable children, I finally caught sight of my friends. There they sat, in the corner of the restaurant, looking the picture of sophistication. Are these the same friends I once scraped from the sticky floors of seedy nightclubs in the early hours?
“Amanda!”, they fussed, getting up from their chairs and welcoming me into open arms. It had been awhile since I saw these ‘busy ladies’, so I was excited about how the night would unfold. I quietly wondered if we would get ridiculously drunk and re-enact days gone by (or in other words, make a complete and utter TIT out of ourselves!) ‘A large glass of wine, please!” I chirped, to a waiter so young he looked ‘fresh out of the womb.’ My ability to put ‘age to face’, yet again, was way off the radar. The poor guy was in his early twenties.
My bubble of reminiscence soon burst as another familiar – and slightly flustered – face came rushing over to our table. Behind her, stood her 8-year-old son, too engrossed in his computer game to divert his gaze.
My excitement fizzled like the bubbles in my wineglass. “Who brings their child to a girl’s pizza and wine night?” I thought, disguising my disenchantment.
I sighed deeply.
This was going to turn into another one of those yawn-stifling evenings where everyone takes turns to discuss the mundanities of their everyday existence. I wasn’t wrong. As conversations about day jobs, declining health and – other things too boring to mention – circled the dining table, my ‘inner youth’ slumped down in her chair and rolled her eyes, petulantly. What the heck had happened to us? And when did we become so boring?
Once upon a time, sexual antics and penis size dominated our discussions. Fast forward 10 years and we are talking mortgages and, dare I say it, hanging baskets! You heard me correctly, hanging baskets!
I mean, I might be teetering on the verge of thirty, but that doesn’t mean that I care to discuss crochet patterns and organic living.
As the conversation continued, I discreetly caught my yawns into the cup of my hand. “I was up late last night with the kids!” I lied, rather than unleash my true feelings;
“You guys are boring me to freaken tears!”
“We really need a night out!” A friend suggested, “Just like old times!” She continued.
Alas!” I thought. A girl’s night out! My “inner youth” is jumping on the table at the mere thought. No children, no husbands and absolutely no yawn-stifling chit-chat! We can let our hair down and GO NUTS! Everyone agreed eagerly. “It’s been too long!” another squeaked, slipping her hand into her handbag and pulling out a diary.
“When should we go out?” I asked. My “inner youth” composed her excitement and listened attentively.
“Next weekend?” I asked. Everyone stopped in their tracks and glared over at me in horror.
“Too soon? Maybe in a few weeks’ time?” I suggested.
“I’ve got to go to an antique fair that weekend”, one friend exclaimed.
“Yeah, that’s not a good weekend for me, either. I’ve got a christening to attend!” said another.
“Okay, how about next month?” I suggested.
“Yeah, October isn’t good for me. I’m moving house!” One friend explained.
“Yes, and Steve’s got to have his operation!” Another added.
“November?” I asked, an impatience growing in my voice.
“I’d better run that by my husband!” Another person quipped.
The excuses continued to roll off the tongue until we got to December.
“Yay! It’s going to be amazing!” We all gushed enthusiastically.
It wasn’t amazing.
It wasn’t even mediocre.
It was SHIT!
I mean, what was I thinking? A crazy night out at my age!
After 6 months of waiting for schedules to clear, three last minute cancellations and generally losing the will to live, I began to wonder if it was even worth it. I spent the majority of the night shouting over loud music, cursing people for stepping on my toes and knocking back drinks too quickly because I felt so socially awkward (and completely passed it, in all honesty. We were surrounded by school kids!) <~ again, my ability to put ‘age to face’ failed me, these “school kids” were legally adult.
I peaked prematurely and plummeted too soon. After ‘strategically’ puking under a table, pulling a muscle on the dance-floor and accidentally peeing on my dress, I made my excuses and left.
“I’ve got to be up early!” I lied and then hailed a taxi.
My ‘inner youth’ looked at the time and then glared at me. “You have got to be kidding me?” She tutted, rolling her eyes in disapproval. She was right. It was merely quarter to 12, and I was ready to go home, pull my flannelette pyjamas on and hop into bed.
Once the life and soul of the party, I had become ‘the disappearing party-goer’ who snuck out the back exit when nobody was looking.
What had become of me?
And then it dawned on me – as I watched adolescents stumbling drunkenly, shouting “YOLO!” into the darken skies – that I, too, was creeping up the hill of no return. I, too, had become one of those people who – before the night had even ended – was thinking “I’m going to have the hangover from hell tomorrow!”
The joys of being an almost thirty year old . . .
“I’m not thirty, I’m 18 with 12 years life experience!”
“Thir…ty!” it almost pains me to say it. As soon as the letters start to roll off my tongue, they come to an abrupt halt, think “screw this!”, and dive straight back down my oesophagus. What wimps they are!
What a wimp I am!
I expect all of you over 30’s want to take a baseball bat to my head right now. Or perhaps a slippery fish to my face? I can’t say I blame you. My fear of ageing is somewhat laughable. I mean, it’s inevitable. It’s written in the stars. No matter how much I fight it, it’s going to happen. I am going to get…oooo…oooollll…. Nope, I just can’t say it!
On the contrary, when I was younger I couldn’t wait to grow up. I couldn’t wait to walk in the shoes of a fully-grown adult and do all the “adulty” things of my dreams. But then reality fell on me like a ton of responsibly, and suddenly, I realised that this ‘adult business’ really wasn’t all I envisaged it to be.
It wasn’t the ‘wining, fine dining and travelling the world’ I had in mind. It was hard. Really hard! With adulthood came stress, heartbreak and sleepless nights… and by ‘sleepless night’, I don’t mean pulling an all-nighter!
Growing old. I didn’t think too much about it until my 27th birthday. That is when reality slapped me hard across the face and I caught sight of a … dare I say it . . . WRINKLE (okay, okay . . . maybe it was just a fine line!) sprouting out of my left eye. As I frantically trawled the Internet in search of a cure (<~ Haha! How naive I was! ) anyone would have thought I had completely lost the plot. I began to spend a small fortune on anti-ageing products. From shop-bought lotions and potions to the darker corners of the Internet (It’s true, I once bought a “miracle concoction” lovingly made from the contents of some random hippy’s store cupboard. Needless to say, it didn’t work!) there was no way of reversing the effects of ageing. It was happening. No matter how hard I rubbed wrinkle cream into my facial creases or slept with duct tape between my brows, there was no turning back the hands of time.
But was I the only one becoming increasingly anxious with every year that ticked by? I mean, everyone else seemed comfortably complacent with the idea of getting older, or so it seemed.
In fact, this “settling down” phenomenon was spreading all around me like a wildfire getting out of control. Wherever I looked, there was friend walking down the aisle, signing the deeds to a new home or popping out a baby. And if they weren’t doing any of the above, you’d be sure to find them on the brink of orgasm as they bought the last potted geranium at the gardening centre.
Orgasms aside, the majority of the guys I went to school with are now the not so proud owners of expanding waistbands and receding hairlines. I find myself doing a double take when I bump into them in the supermarket. Like, “what the f*** happened?”
Ah yes, we aren’t so young anymore. Shock, horror!
What’s that? Can you say that again? My hearing isn’t what it used to be. Oh right, I’m not so young anymore. And cue the mental breakdown in the meat aisle . . .
The thing is, I still feel like a teenager. Or maybe I just think I feel like a teenager?
The truth is…
I’m getting too old for this sh*t!
“I can’t handle my alcohol like I used to.”
When I was a whippersnapper (<~ Oh dear God, did I just say that?) I would go out on the town three or four nights a week and wake up feeling as fresh as a daisy. That’s right, not a hangover in sight! I’d pop a little Pro Plus, drink some Red Bull and I’d do it all over again . . . and again . . . and again! (You can see where I’m going with this!)
I wake up with the hangover from hell, questioning “why, oh why, did I think that £5 bottle of Pinot Grigio was a good idea? Yes! A £5 bottle was “good shit” back in the day, but as I clutch hold of my intestines and feel the sweet angel death hover over my sorry self, I realise that it was a bad idea. A very bad idea.
Note to self: Cheap alcohol = 3-day hangover. Expensive alcohol: 1.5-day hangover. No alcohol = you do the maths!
“I can’t pull shapes like I used to.”
Back in the day, I used to have moves like Beyoncé. I owned that dance floor… (Well, in my head. I owned it in my head!) Forget milkshake, my ‘dance moves’ brought ALL the boys to the yard! Well, that was until I pulled out the famous caterpillar and face-planted the floor.
It’s one thing trying to “drop it likes it’s hot!” when you can barely “drop it like it’s warm!”, but quite the other, forgetting that your body is no longer as elastic band flexible as it once was. No matter how much my ’17-year-old self’ thinks I can, my body just can’t, correction, WON’T, move that way anymore. It’s time to face the truth: doing the splits will only ever result in two things: tears and split trousers!
Note to self: Choose a different party trick before you give yourself a hernia!
“I can’t eat junk food the way I used to.”
You know the saying, “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” I never really got this until I hit my late twenties. Once upon a time, I was the first hand in the bread basket. My metabolism was a blessing that allowed me to eat and drink whenever I pleased. Pizza at the crack of dawn? Hell yeah! Pic ‘n mix on my lunch break? Of course! McDonald’s drive thru for dinner? I thought you’d never ask! Extra cheese? Yes, please! Fast forward ten years and it’s now a sluggish curse that sends every calorie eaten straight to my thighs.
Note to self: Step away from the bread basket!
“I can’t PULL like I used to.”
Now, I’m not blowing my own trumpet but “way back when…” I was a bit of a head turner. I could barely cross the road without receiving an almighty HONKKKKKKK from some middle-aged ‘white van man’ on his way to work. I mean, what an inconvenience for me; jumping out my skin and an almost having a heart attack, and all because the driver liked my arse.
It’s a fact of life; as we get older, we begin to fade into the background. I mean, how can we compete with these gorgeous “teenyboppers” with skin as pure as silk and not an eye bag in sight? The answer: We can’t.
But we can damn well try!
…But let’s face it, even my leather jacket (<- As badass and hip as it is!) doesn’t stop the fact that I’m knocking on 30.
I pretend that it doesn’t bother me. I’m married, what do I care? But there’s no disguising the sheer glee I receive as the supermarket assistant – who isn’t old and thinks everyone is seventeen – asks me for ID. Yep, that my friends, is me getting all my Christmases’ at once. Except the last one, you can keep that!
Lesson to be learned: Don’t Fret! Relish in the fact that overweight van drivers are no longer staring at your arse! *Shudder*
“I’m not as horny as I used to be.”
Do you remember the Energiser bunny? It went on and on for hours, and it didn’t even break into a sweat. Yep, that was me, a long time ago. Y’know, before I had children and became constantly too tired. Oh, the fun I had… * the mind begins to wander*
But yeah, I’ll say no more. My mum might be reading this!
There’s nothing dirty about being thirty, well, apart from the pile of dishes collecting in the sink. Gone with the days of “You want to put it in what hole?” Nowadays, we’re lucky if the socks come off.
Yep, somewhere along the line my batteries ran low. The Energiser bunny became the “Can I just catch my breath a moment!” bunny. The “Let’s get it on!” became the “Let’s get it on …tomorrow night!” and the “Let’s get it on tomorrow night!” became the “Yeah, maybe tomorrow!”
It’s good that, because tomorrow never comes! *Evil laugh*
Lesson to be learned: For the love of your husbands testicles, recharge your batteries!
“I’m not as carefree as I used to be.”
I used to be as carefree as the wind. I didn’t give a … you fill in the blank! No really, I didn’t. The “My body is a temple” mantra went straight in one ear and out of the other. In fact, I treated my body like a rubbish bin. I filled it with crap and then wondered why it didn’t look like the Taj Mahal. Late nights, too much booze, a diet of strictly junk food… yep, my ‘rubbish bin’ body was ready to sprout legs and leave its senseless head to eat its weight in Krispy Kreme’s.
Fast food and heavy nights weren’t the only things I overindulged in, I also use to bake FRY myself in the sun until I resembled that of a lobster. OUCH!
These days, I treat my body like the holy temple it is. I genuinely care about what I’m putting in it. In fact, I’ve swung the other way. I worry for the sake of worrying. “Will I have enough milk to last me until tomorrow?”. Heaven forbid, I run out of milk before then. I mean, what will I do? How would I make tea? What will I put in my cereal? *Starts hyperventilating*
And furthermore, every pain or small lump is now CANCER. I’m going to die of cancer, I know it. My dad died of cancer. I’m next!
And sunbathing… forget it! When the sun comes out, so does my factor 100, and I don’t just rub it into those sticking out bits, I MARINATE my ENTIRE body!
I now think before I eat and generally avoid all things alcoholic. In fact, the most carefree I go is not shaving my legs for two weeks or – and I’m being really naughty now – spending an extra tenner on a swinging basket. Yep, living on the edge!
Note to self: Make sure the fridge is stocked with milk at all times.
“I’m no longer down with the street kids!”
Me: *Glances at the mirror* “I am on fleeeeeeek!”
My daughter: *GASPS in horror* Mum! Never use that word again…EVER!
My daughter leaves briskly with her hands over her face, quietly muttering “I’m so ashamed!”
You see, my daughter doesn’t think I have a life outside of… well, being a mum and a housewife. She seems to think that this is ALL I do. But she doesn’t know how cool I really am. Underneath these cartoon dog flannelette PJ’s, lurks the coolest… umm, wait. She’s probably right. I’m pretty passed it!
Lesson to be learned: Never try to be cool. You are NOT “cool”, “on fleek”, “dope” … <- Okay, I’m just showing off now, and you definitely SHOULD NOT be singing along to Justin Bieber in the car with the windows rolled down!
Let’s wrap this up …. in a cosy warm blanket!
But what’s this? Life doesn’t stop at 30? That’s right! You have heard me correctly. Just because we groan when we step out of bed, doesn’t mean we don’t twerk when no one is watching. Just because we pant a little as we attempt a hill climb, doesn’t mean we don’t want to roll down the other side. Okay, so we might get a little aroused by the colour charts in B&Q, but that doesn’t mean that we choose paint over our sex lives. And so what if falling asleep in front of the TV is our favourite hobby, we also like to stay up past our bedtimes … *Coughs* watching gripping period dramas! Yes, maybe we did get a bit overexcited when we purchased that new tumble dryer, but heck! We wouldn’t change it for the world.
The slippers are out and there’s no way in hell you can drag me from my comfy recliner. I’m “comfortably complacent”, and I’m staying in and relishing in a more relaxed way of life.
Screw you, youngens! I think I’m ready to embrace my thirties!
Until I sprout a wrinkle from the other eye, that is…
“In every old person, there is a young person wondering what the FUCK happened!”