Tomorrow I am the birthday girl.
This does not make me want to jump and sing and dance and whoop like it used to, it makes me want to closely study my face in the mirror for hours and hours letting out a sigh every time I spy a new wrinkle or line or sag. Or spot. What the hell skin? My days of being twenty something are numbered but I’m still blighted by spots that any teenager would envy. Pur-lease.
I’m not old, not by any stretch of the imagination – I’m not. Am I? – but the thing is, I’m getting there. And I’m well past the age of not being a grown up. Twenty seven years after I arrived, all 8lb of me, five days late, I’m still always late, I’ve made friends, lost friends, had boyfriends and no boyfriend and kisses and snogs and sipped Bacardi Breezers under age. I’ve done school and college and uni and parties and mornings after and walks of shame. Days after my 25th birthday I got married. Six months before my 26th birthday I became a mummy. There’s no escaping it, my carefree days are behind me and I am most definitely a fully-fledged grown up now. And that bothers me more than age. Sotra.
I remember being 9, super excited about finally making it to a birthday that bestowed me with ‘double figures’. Because 10 is, like, so totally, like, grown up. Except, obviously, nothing changed. Nor did it when I couldn’t wait to be initiated into teenage life – like, so totally, like, grown up but I don’t even care though because age is just a number and I am, like, so totally mature anyway – and again at 16 and again 18. I spent the last of my teenage years, amongst other far more fun things, feeling in limbo, waiting for the magical age of 21; When I would finally be taken seriously, where people would respect me as a grown up. I think I took myself too seriously.
For more than a decade I wished and wished to be older and now I sit here, frowning at the way that the skin on my knees goes all crepey when I pinch it and then remembering not to frown because frown lines for the love of god, frown lines! My body is slowly but surely starting to show signs that it, if nothing else, feels grown up. No longer can I do 100 sit ups a week and boast the toned stomach of youth (why did I never appreciate it when I had it?), no longer can I stay up until the 6am sun rises above the horizon and signals the end to an awesome night. No longer can I enjoy a life free of responsibilities. Because I am a grown up.
I worry about bills and the car and bills and food shopping and why can no one in this house pick their wet towels off the floor right next to the rail and hang them up? I worry about the future and money and house prices. And my crepey knees and saggy stomach. And the lines that are etching their way into my face.
I am a wife and a mummy and people depend on me and my body reminds me every day that I am older now, but I don’t feel it in my mind. I think I’m stuck at about 19, only with about 10% of the stamina that I had then. I’m still the same silly, cheeky, sulky teenager, not afraid of dancing in public half way to the shops if the mood takes me and, like, who actually cares what people think anyway because like, people are so totally self-obsessed these days and why should we all bow down to the social, like, constraints of society anyway?
A few years ago I would not be sat watching the baby monitor out of the corner of my eye while snug beneath a throw (jayzus, I’m o-l-d) and a laptop. I would be enjoying a whole Saturday of getting ready. How did I do that? How did I find enough bits of me to ‘get ready’ that it would swallow twelve whole hours?! And then I would drink and dance and flirt and dance and laugh and amble home, carrying my shoes and still dancing while the early morning sun lit my path.
Tonight I am at home. Tomorrow I will also be at home. Preferably in bed until beyond 6am and preferably woken with a mug of tea by my two favourite people in the whole wide world – when I told the husband that is what I wanted he assumed I meant Robbie Williams and Noel Fielding. I didn’t, although now I kinda do – and their cuddles and their smiles.
Because at, almost, as I write this – I’m still eking out those final hours, twenty seven years old and almost two years into marriage and almost eighteen months into motherhood, I’m slowly adjusting. Slowly trying to be happy, trying to let go of the life that was, with its carefree fun and reckless wasted days and embrace the life that is as I sing my baby to sleep. All while I slowly become more crepey and old.
I think I might, like, totally be having a quarter life crisis, or something.