188 – on this, the eve of my birthday

I am sitting on the couch in the lounge while the little Dutchmen are in the dining room making birthday cards for me – that I had to text their father to get them to make because I knew he wouldn’t remember otherwise. It’s my birthday tomorrow. This is one of our rituals. The GD forgets stuff (read EVERYTHING) and I remind him and generally I have a pretty great bday as long as he sticks to the list and evening entertainment demands.

Normally my birthday is something I look forward to – after all I will take any excuse for a new piece of jewelry or great shoes – even if I have to drive the GD to the shop, walk him to the counter and hand him MY card to pay for them (I think I’ve mentioned before that the man doesn’t like spending money). It’s an excuse to see friends, hang with family and maybe get a babysitter for the night and spend time with my husband.

And the number hasn’t meant much in the past – after all – it’s about how you FEEL eh? EH? You’re only as young as the woman you feel. Or if you are not being a sexist old man in an age-inappropriate relationship – ‘It’s not how OLD you are – it’s HOW you are old’.

I’ve always felt like I was in my early twenties. Really and truly. It doesn’t suck as much in my thirties being 20 in my head – after all I have the income and impulse control to live more to the ideal in my head than I did in my actual twenties. And all that stuff is true I think about you appreciating your body and getting some perspective as to your worth – my self-esteem is double what is was in my twenties which is ironic because it was SO tied up in my weight when I was young and I DEF weigh more now (‘cos I’m a grown up who MADE PEOPLE WITH MY BODY and that is pretty fucking amazing). But I still get excited about stuff that I suspect is aimed at the yoof’.

I suspect – as I cruise undercut hair styles on the interwebs, change my nose stud out for a ring and wear my big black boots with giant coats in this colder weather – that I may be subconsciously rebelling just a little bit against the number that is looming on the horizon. Maybe?

I don’t know what it is about this birthday but it feels MUCH much closer to 40. And I don’t feel anywhere near close to 40 in my head. 40 year olds have mortgages, and sensible cars/shoes/haircuts and wear more beige than me. They don’t have tattoos or listen to Kendrick Lamar or embarrass their kids regularly with their outfits for work. Or do they? Am I the new nearly 40? Is my GD – the beer drinking, in a garage band, watching Christopher Hitchens obsessively on his iPhone while he huddles out the back in the cold smoking the new nearly 40 too?

Or – and this is more likely of course – has this always been what 40 is, but because I was young and dumb I THOUGHT it meant really old and/or boring.

This is rhetorical of course. I am going to be 37 tomorrow. Evidently this IS what someone who is nearly 40 is like. (I can hear you scoffing but 37 is significantly closer to 40 than 35 is) Nevertheless, this is only a problem in my head. The majority of my friends are over 40 and they are an interesting, stylish and damned cool bunch of women – what’s more they listen to me drivel on about feeling old without smacking me in the head and I appreciate this greatly because most of them could flatten me with one hit.

So, while I sit here with my nostril all swollen from forcing a piece of metal through it, with the front of my head pounding because I am on my third day of sugar withdrawal (yes I have been thinking about birthday cake and I don’t know what I have decided yet) and the sound of my still awake and highly excited children splashing water all over the bathroom as they play Lego in the sink (after being asked not to of course because they are SO obedient), I am feeling old.

But I am excited. Mostly because I am shallow and  I am going halves with the GD in a really cool NZ designed necklace for my birthday (I managed to sell a bunch of shoes and clothes to get my half of the money – out with the old and unworn and in with the new!), I am going to see Magic Mike XXL with a couple of grrlfriends and then lunch AND thanks to my mum taking the little horrors for the night – I actually get to go out somewhere with my grumpy old man! Yay!

And I still want an undercut.

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