5000 hours in Bali

One year older, and non the wiser

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:

  1. Move to the big city on your own and brave the tube post 10 pm
  2. Convince yourself that the £300 pair of perfect Chelsea boots are ‘a sound investment’, and then too good to remove from their box
  3. Discover the flat white (skinny) and wonder how you survived so long without it
  4. Experience Rod Stewart live and dance like he’s a 20 something rock god
  5. Suffer from prosecco poisoning and swear never to touch it again, until next week
  6. Cry at an Olly Murs concert because your nephew is having so much fun
  7. Only work for half of the year and be better off for it
  8. Have your new ‘bob’ hairstyle be mistaken for a ‘spaced themed wig’ at the work Christmas party
  9. Walk with pride in the St Patricks Day parade because you’re a quarter Irish
  10. Complete the C2C cycle ride with a class of 10 years old and feel overwhelmed by their awesomeness
  11. Go clubbing in your swimwear at Ocean Beach and vow to be more toned next time
  12. Consider yourself totally cultured because you visited 9 different countries this year
  13. Finally accept the fate of your beloved football team, whilst secretly believing they’ll come back stronger
  14. Party like it’s 1999, EVERY TIME, with your crazy family
  15. 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.

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