I turned 40 last week, and have somberly honoured the occasion with some deep reflection about the direction of my life and my place in the universe. I have arrived at some life-altering conclusions that are so profound that I have Deepak Chopra and the Dalai Lama quaking in their sandles. I envisage a book deal, a Hollywood movie and the launch of a range of perfume, such is the significance of my idea. (I may call the perfume hint of menopause or eau de oestrogen ... it's a work in progress)
I have decided that the term middle-aged is superfluous to needs.
I can make qualified, executive decisions like these now that I am 40, without fear of argument or ridicule.
I have observed that people become a little scared of you when you lurch into your forties. I think they expect you to be cranky, in an eccentric, mad-old-lady sort of way, and fear that you may set your twenty eight cats on them for suggesting that the 80's retro look is as hideous now as it was first time around, or for questioning your opinion that global warming is a direct result of jedward's over- reliance on hairspray. Or basically for disagreeing you on any random matter.
A few days ago on a radio report I heard a 56 year old man being described as middle-aged. Despite being a little perplexed as to how they know he's not going to check out until he's 112, I was quite pleased at this description. Working on this perfectly sound logic, and factoring in my decision that I'm not ever going to die anyway, I will never need to apply the term middle-aged to myself. So I have removed that term from my mental dictionary. And people are too scared to disagree with me in case I make then listen to stories of my miserable existence on a God-forsaken rock off the coast of Kerry until their ears bleed....
....or am I, in my advancing years, confusing reality with Peig again?? (for those of you who didn't complete the Irish Leaving Certificate in the last 200 years, the story of Peig Sayers, arguably the most miserable old bag in existence, was inflicted on thousands of school kids who really only wanted to drink cider and snog their best friend's big brother. I sometimes wonder if Peig wasn't some Darwinian experiment designed to weed out the less mentally robust of us, as she broke the spirit of many. Oh, and to make it worse, the entire feckin book was in Irish) .
I am having the longest (and best) birthday in my unreliable memory. My 10 year old daughter got the party started by giving me a fairy snow globe (I really like snow globes...another eccentricity I don't have to feel embarrassed about in my dotage) about a week early because she couldn't contain her excitement any longer. She's really into the whole 40 thing, but I've noticed that she's started making me cups of tea and patting the back of my hand a lot. Still, I won't worry until I find copies of my will, or nursing home brochures strewn about the house.
Then my lovely husband took me for a rare weekend away to the Bettystown Court Hotel, where the staff, the accommodation and the food were top class. I had two full, uninterrupted night's sleep which hasn't happened since our last trip away together three years ago (you can get your fiddles out and weep now). To feel that relaxed and rested was weird, but the kind of weird I could get used to.
But, seeing as though I am now a cranky old lady, I have two complaints to make.
Firstly, upon arrival there was a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us. There's nothing too heinous about that, but as we already had a few glasses of wine we were feeling a bit sleepy so we elected not to drink it immediately. Think about this for a horrible moment. Reminders that we are too old to rip open a bottle of booze and neck it down it before we can say"that was grand, now where's the bar?" are not appreciated. In future, a champagne fairy should be discreetly hiding with the fizz and crystal until I am capable of drinking it.
Fairies feature heavily in this post, and my second complaint involves them too. Bob's Dad and I went for a long walk along the beach after our breakfast, and found to my incredulous delight that the room had been cleaned in our absence by someone other than me. Clearly, the cleaning fairies had been, but being the capricious lot they are, they vanished without a trace and foiled my cunning plan to zip them into my suitcase and take them home with me. I am not pleased.
Last night I was taken out by three of my dearest pals and once again was plied with bubbles and showered with bling, and next weekend a gaggle of autie parents will descend upon the unsuspecting Carlito's in Dunleer to celebrate myself and Taz exceeding the 40mph speed limit.
It's a tough gig, and I'm beginning to wonder if you can get the bends from having fizzy blood.
It'd be a hell of a way to check out, and would make a wonderfully dramatic finale to my Hollywood blockbuster.