I can’t believe it, but I’ve done the maths and apparently it’s true. I’m 40 today. It seems outrageous. 40 is an age for grown-ups, surely I’m still – I don’t know – 15? But, no. I’m 40. (40!) Having just read that book of celebrities’ letters to their 16-year-old selves, I thought I’d write some tips to my past self. And I thought I’d write 40. Because I’m, you know, 40. (40!) So here, in no particular order, are 40 tips to the former me:
2. There are better ways to check if a nappy is dirty than sticking your finger in it.
3. Your hair is curly. Let it be curly.
4. Your eyebrows are blonde. Invest in eyebrow pencil.
6. When you look into your baby’s eyes for the first time, you won’t be thinking about the profundity and beauty of the moment, you’ll be thinking “Well that was f***ing awful!”
7. People tell you not to hang your bag off the back of your chair in a restaurant for a reason. Listen to them.
9. Eleanor Roosevelt was right – no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Stop consenting, eh?
10. Wear sunscreen. Seriously. (And, when you can, get hold of some Clarins Radiance-Plus self-tanning moisturiser.)
11. Don’t bother seeing Vanilla Sky. Life is long, but 136 wasted minutes is not nothin’.
12. Everyone makes a tit of themselves when drunk – don’t beat yourself up about it.
14. While we’re on the subject of boys… you’re wasting your time with George Michael. And Michael Jackson.
15. Don’t take your parents for granted – they won’t be around for as long as you think.
17. Don’t bother with the lottery. Or, if you must, FFS don’t play the same numbers every week.
18. Take more photos with your parents (and the rest of your family, for that matter).
20. People who slag you off or take the piss out of you before saying, “I’m only joking / messing / winding you up!” are, you know, tools.
21. Posh people say “loo” not “toilet” and “stool” instead of “poo.” They may also vote Tory – do not be surprised by this.
23. Enjoy that hot sandwich from FT5K – soon the shop will close and you won’t remember what was on it. (Probably for the best though. Can’t imagine it was anything approaching healthy.)
24. Dream holiday in America? Worry less, enjoy it more.
26. The “pleather” trousers in Top Shop, Ealing Broadway? No.
I know they’re reduced from £40 to £15. No.
I appreciate that they’re a size 10 and yet they actually fit (just). No.
27. Two glasses of wine is plenty. Plenty!
28. When you get the chance to see Wham! live – take it. Bucks Fizz really won’t care whether you go or not.
30. Another word for a condom is a sheath, not a sheaf. Remember this and your review of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat will not make you cringe 20 years from now.
31. Don’t bother making up boyfriends or holiday romances. No one will believe you anyway.
32. Having children will improve your life immeasurably. Stop fretting about it.
34. You’re never going to be as thin as Geri Halliwell, no matter how many photos you stick to the fridge.
35. Your skin does not accept tan. Accept this fact.
36. Thinking you’re too fat is not a good reason not to do something. (Also? You’ll always think you’re too fat and no one cares anyway.)
38. Enjoy trampolining. Once you’ve had a baby, it will no longer be possible (unless you WANT to wet yourself. You don’t, do you?).
39. That friend of Susan and Sarah’s who doesn’t speak? He’s shy, not rude. And he’ll make you very happy. I know, I was surprised too. (But he’s totally lying about how many books he reads.)
40. By the time you get to 40, your life will be pretty amazing. Promise.