So, I turned 40 last week. I wondered how I would feel when the long-feared day came but actually “the turning” , as I like to think of it in vampiric terms came on pretty painlessly. The age 40 nowa-days is a little different, I think, then it was in my parent’s day. For one thing, my mom and dad met at the ages of 16 and 17 years respectively, married at 21 and four years later had two kids. They’re still happily married.
My trajectory was somewhat slower, but right for me. I never really invested much thought in get-ting married or thought it was particularly important. Children weren’t on the cards at all because I felt no affinity for them. Years later, when I wanted them very much with a man I did love and had married, I struggled to have them. Life’s funny that way. I’m reflecting back on the younger me, the one who felt invincible, that anything was within her grasp and who had no idea at all how life would turn out. If I could go back in time, if there was a parallel universe, I’d send her these tips to help her through the young, glaringly puzzling adult years.
* Don’t smoke so many packs of Marlboro Lights because one day your lungs won’t be as strong and you will regret it.
* You may not believe it now but clubbing all night long won’t actually be fun forever (!) so relish that dance-all-night energy and go for it.
* Drinking 12 bottles of beer in one night is not clever. It’s silly. But, you’ll have to learn that the hard way. (and please stop mixing your drinks.)
* Being on your own studying in Sheffield will be a trial by fire and also one of the best experience of your life. Savour it— even the toughest times.
* You will never ever be afraid of being alone or bored after living in England. A great gift.
* Experiment with the drugs because they won’t hold any interest for you in the future. But, you’ll be glad you experienced it.
* That guy who broke your heart, he really isn’t the one for you. You can’t see that now and you may not know it for a long time, but he really lacks character and he’s a little cruel. You made a lucky escape.
* Your mom will throw you out the house numerous times but she’ll ask you to come back. You will. She loves, supports and believes in you.
* Your dad might think you are from another planet, but he does love and support you.
* Men will come and go. You’ll write terrible poetry about them. Never show it to anyone.
* That guy isn’t just buying you a drink because he’s kind.
* Don’t lend Charlene any more money please. And please don’t travel to Cornwall with her in the stolen van.
* You will never ever be so thin. Wear a bikini for heaven’s sake.
* Be better to your body. It’s not as resilient as you think.
* You may not do exactly what you set out to do in your career, but you’ll meet some incredible people, have some lovely experiences and also work on some fantastic projects.
* Rocking the corporate boat will make things harder for you, but it’s who you are. Be authentic and in the long run, the payoff will be worth it. You’ll find your place and create roles for yourself.
* You’re more imaginative then you think. Use it.
* Stop driving so fast in your flashy Toyota Conquest 16 Valve Sports. You will have some very bad accidents.
* Sometimes, you will be exploited, your work torn up, rejected and reviled. You’ll be treated revolt-ingly by people in power. Underpaid and undervalued. You’ll be grateful for it. Your self-worth will never be based on your work.
* You’ll teach yourself to write and get paid for it and you will love it.
* Don’t run after that robber guy with a gun. He’ll shoot and miss. But, it’ll be a massive trauma.
* One day you will actually want to have children. It will be one of the strangest, most arduous per-sonal journeys of your life. It’s your big lesson. Face it with courage.
* Your best friend will die in the Tsunami. You feel you might die too. You won’t. But you will miss her terribly and forever.
* Commitment will one day frighten you. You might try and run away. But, you can’t.
* Please don’t do that big wedding.
* Carry on travelling any and every chance you get.
* It really makes absolutely no difference whatsoever what anyone thinks of you. It only matters what you think of you.
* Be more forgiving please.
* Remember that it’s never personal.
* Some friendships will fall away and it’s for the best. Some won’t— the best ones.
* One day you won’t listen to CDs anymore! But, still buy the music you love, it’ll see you through it all.
* One day in the far off future, you may not buy paper books as much! Carry on collecting them because in the year 2015 your house will have a kick-ass bookshelf that makes you feel warm each time you enter your home.
* Your sense of humour is your greatest asset.
* Love won’t be easy. It’s hard work. Do it.
* Continue your spiritual practice. It is building your sense of gratitude, connectedness to this world and what’s beyond, sense of self and will always hold you in the darkest of times.
* Nothing and nobody is perfect and that’s fabulous.
* Keep your sense of the absurd. It'll serve you well.