I’m not sure how I feel about birthdays. The pressure you apply to being one year older, one step closer to realising your full potential. If my life was judged against expected age-related milestones you might say I’m having as much success as Victoria Beckham in a pie-eating contest.
At 41 I’m unmarried, with no kids and have decided a career in advertising is no longer for me. Even the house, the car and designer jeans are taking a back seat for a while. Does this make me a failure or could it be the key to my eternal happiness?
If happiness is a key measure of success, then I’m doing OK in my book. I may be ‘temporarily’ unemployed, homeless and unable to shop weekly in Reiss. But as I reflect on the past year I’m going to celebrate some alternative milestones in my life. Stuff that’s made me smile:
- Move to the big city on your own and brave the tube post 10 pm
- Convince yourself that the £300 pair of perfect Chelsea boots are ‘a sound investment’, and then too good to remove from their box
- Discover the flat white (skinny) and wonder how you survived so long without it
- Experience Rod Stewart live and dance like he’s a 20 something rock god
- Suffer from prosecco poisoning and swear never to touch it again, until next week
- Cry at an Olly Murs concert because your nephew is having so much fun
- Only work for half of the year and be better off for it
- Have your new ‘bob’ hairstyle be mistaken for a ‘spaced themed wig’ at the work Christmas party
- Walk with pride in the St Patricks Day parade because you’re a quarter Irish
- Complete the C2C cycle ride with a class of 10 years old and feel overwhelmed by their awesomeness
- Go clubbing in your swimwear at Ocean Beach and vow to be more toned next time
- Consider yourself totally cultured because you visited 9 different countries this year
- Finally accept the fate of your beloved football team, whilst secretly believing they’ll come back stronger
- Party like it’s 1999, EVERY TIME, with your crazy family
- Grudgingly accept you’re going to have to do something about your bingo wings
And so, with these in mind, I set about creating a new list of alternative life defining milestones in my 42nd year.