Here’s a step-by-step guide to having a midlife crisis:
1. Tell everyone as early as possible in the year that you’re going to have a big 40th birthday party. Go on, talk it up. It’s going to be epic, or whatever the young people call things when they’re totally mintox.
2. A month before your party, realise that at least eight interstate friends have already bought airline tickets to come to your allegedly ‘epic’ party.
5. Print at least 80 invitations and make sure you hand them all out.
6. Count the number of RSVPs you’ve received and realise your party is now officially bigger than your wedding and your house is a fifth of the size of your wedding venue. Epic.
7. Realise that all chance of turning 40 by curling up in a quiet corner with a litre bottle of vodka and a straw has passed you by. Yep, you’ve blown that option completely.
8. Panic a little more.
9. To make yourself feel better, go to the dentist so you can be presented with a $1000 bill. Make sure you end up crying in reception because you’re having to spend money on your dental health instead of, say, your epic party.
10. Get a cold sore.
11. Even though you’ve asked everyone to bring a bottle, send your husband to Dan Murphy’s to buy the “supplementary” alcohol. Have a paper bag ready to breathe into when he comes back with his credit card maxed and a carload of this:
12. Realise a few days before your party that you’ve completely failed to look for and find the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in and that turning 40 in the perfect pair of red shoes has suddenly become inexplicably – and yet vitally – important to you.
13. Instead of, say, cleaning your house for the party or making beds for your interstate guests, go on a last minute shopping trip to find the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in.
14. Find and buy the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in, using money you really don’t have.
15. Realise that said perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in do not actually match the perfect dress to turn 40 in.
16. Also realise that the party fairies totally failed to tidy the house or make the beds for the guests while you were shopping for shoes.
17. While attempting to put a fresh cover on your king-sized quilt for your guests, put the quilt in the wrong way and end up have a full-blown panic attack with a doona cover on your head. When your husband finds you and remarks “You’re really enjoying your party so far!”, burst into tears and say you don’t know why you’ve spent so much money just so over a hundred people can come and stare at you and your cold sore and your ill-matching shoes and your messy-frickin’-fuckin’ house with its doona covers that you can never frickin-fuckin’ fit properly the first time because the tag on the side of the quilt and not on the bottom and that is frickin’-fuckin’ counter-intuitive and, if you hadn’t already spent all your money on your dental-fucking-health and so-called supplementary alcohol, you’d, like, totally be seeking legal counsel and suing the quilt tag off somebody somewhere instead of sitting on your bed sobbing like a baby wearing the wrong pair of red shoes.
18. Listen to your husband when he wisely tells you “If you’re going to do these things, you’ve got to do them properly. You only turn 40 once and we’ve got the rest of our lives to pay it off.”
19. Both know, in your heart of hearts, that it will take the rest of your lives to pay it off.
20. Prepare to party.
Tomorrow, I am turning 40 – in case you haven’t guessed.