Posts Tagged ‘turning forty’

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.

4. Panic.

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.

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The other day, I rang my husband at work.

“Let’s pretend for a moment that one of my aims before I turned 40 was to get quoted in the Australian Women’s Weekly,” I said. “You know, instead of getting a book published or becoming a syndicated columnist for a major print and/or online publication…”

“Uh, ok-ay,” my husband said slowly.

“Well, guess what?!” I enthused. “I was quoted in this month’s Australian Women’s Weekly and I’m turning 40 next week! Yay, me!”

“Yay you!” my husband said. “That magazine has a circulation of about two million, you know.”

“Well then guess how many people have already searched for ‘Not Drowning, Mothering’ today probably as a direct result of that article?” I asked.

“How many?”

“Three!” I exclaimed. I think I might have punched the air as I said it.

“Quick, let’s monetize them before they read any more of your blog and and you lose them forever!” my husband replied, no doubt with dollar signs in his eyes.

I’m not sure if monetizing those three readers is going on my ‘bucket list’ for turning 40. And if you don’t know what a ‘bucket list’ you can either accept my definition of it as being a list of those things you hope to achieve before you drink champagne out of a bucket at your 40th birthday party or you can click here.

Somewhat predictably, my list is getting less and less ambitious the closer my fortieth birthday gets. Of course, quite a few have been ticked off  – e.g. convince someone to marry me, convince someone (preferably the same person) to have kids with me… But gone are all hopes of, say, a lucrative book deal, spending six months drinking wine in the south of France or even finding the perfect pair of red shoes to turn 40 in.

At the moment only three things on the list, with one week left to achieve them. They are:

1. AVOID GASTRO “LIKE THE PLAGUE”: Every time anyone mentions the word ‘gastro’ in my presence, I physically jump back a metre from them. One woman I saw at the shops, pointed at her son (who was wrestling with my Tiddles McGee at the time) and told me he’d been firing out both ends for nine days. Nine days. It was all I could do to pick Tiddles up, throw him over my shoulder and run from the building screaming. If I’m going to spend my fortieth dealing with vomit I want it to the be excessive-alcohol-induced variety. Just sayin’.

2. BE COLDSORE-FREE: Just two days ago, my top lip suddenly exploded into song, that song having something to do with the fact that the lip had herpes.

I rang my dear friend KT, a fellow HVP-1 sufferer, and she helped me do the maths.

“You have ten sleeps until your party,” she said. “You’ll be fine. Your coldsore couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Uh, my coldsore might have thought about coming after my party. Nobody wants to go to a party with the birthday girl looking like this:3. MOUSTACHE-BE-GONE: The volume of dark hairs on my upper lip has been causing strangers on the street some gender confusion lately. Getting rid of it is easier said than done, of course, because it’s currently sharing the same real estate as the cold sore and I’m afraid the anti-moustache lotion that I bought might anger the cold sore unnecessarily and cause it to stage some kind of hostile invasion of my entire mouth and then I won’t even have my moustache to help conceal it. It’s a bad situation.


Of course I realise that, now I’ve blogged about these things, I’ve totally jinxed myself. Which is why I’m now planning to wear a bucket on my head on my 40th birthday. Not only will it hid my coldsore and my moustache from the world, but it will come into its own when the gastro hits.

I may even decorate it with the pages from ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly’ article I was quoted in, just to show people I’m not a total loser.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do so love it when a plan comes together…

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My life right now is just like one long spin-off of ‘The Big Chill’, but without the infidelity, the drugs, the corpse or the ‘six times platinum’ soundtrack. Yes, just like it.

I think it may have something to do with turning 40 this year. Increasingly, I’ve found myself having frank and open conversations with old friends about our shared capital H ‘History’. This is of course is made easy because most of the things we are being frank and open about happened so long ago they may as well have happened to other people. Nice.

I suspect a lot of this has been an attempt to purge myself of some of my more inglorious moments – you know, those kind of moments that your mind likes to replay to you like some kind of PowerPoint presentation in the middle of the night instead of, say, letting you get some sleep or something crazy like that. The moments that make you go ‘Ouch!’ or just shudder with the embarrassment of it all. The moments that make you go ‘Eurggggghhhhh’.

One of the highlights of my own personal PowerPoint presentation is the tryst I unexpectedly found myself in  with a boy that my bestest Uni friend ‘verycleveralias’ liked at the time. My friendship with verycleveralias, which had been closer than close, subsequently cooled a little and, a few months later, I left Perth, ostensibly forever. I have blushed from head to toe every time I have thought of that gross error of judgment. Eurgggghhhhhhh.

Recently, I was having brunch with VCA  when she spontaneously confessed to me that she had long since felt responsible that we’d drifted apart at that time because, knowing I was leaving, she had deliberately distanced herself.

“But I thought it was because of me having [insert embarrassing details of encounter with boy here]!” I blurted out.

“You did that?” she laughed. “What were you thinking?”

“Well, obviously I wasn’t thinking about you because you liked him,” I said.

“Did I?” she said. “I don’t remember that at all.”

So basically I’d been beating myself up about something for almost twenty years without due cause. Doh! My PowerPoint presentation was now one slide shorter – in fact, I thought, I could probably go delete a whole heap more and live the rest of my life virtually guilt-free!

But then I caught up with my friend Some Guy In Paris. Over the course of many bottles of wine (he and my friend Mistress M were drinking Aldi cleanskins which, according to Mistress M, cost $9 for a case of six. Them’s $1.50 per bottle, people!), we ended up having another round of ‘Big Chill’-style confessions.

Some Guy In Paris reminded me of an incident. Someone once told him I’d said something Not Very Nice about him and he’d harboured that hurt for a number of years before he and I had met up again and managed to sort the whole thing out. Of course I hadn’t said that Not Very Nice thing about him at all – in fact I can’t remember even thinking it let alone saying it – but I began to worry about what I actually did say that had caused that Someone to report such a thing. I mean, l’ve said a whole lot of things in my life, some flippantly, some in anger, many more under the influence of alcohol. And I guess I can never know what people will choose to grab hold of and hang their own shit on for years and years.

And I realised that for all those things I’ve been beating myself up about over the years which I needn’t have, there’s probably at least as many things which I should be beating myself up about which I don’t necessarily know about.

Which is just great, if you think about it.

Which is why I think I’m going to go have to buy a whole truck load of those Aldi cleanskins so that I never have to think again.

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