Thursday 27 May 2010

I don't know why...

... people get upset about being 40.  It seems like one long excuse to party to me.  I first started celebrating fortieth birthdays about three years ago, mine came in the middle, my husband’s followed last week.  Our next party is in June. It’s like Four Weddings and a Funeral all over again.  I’m sad to say that I  have been to funerals too, three of people who didn’t make 45.  I think the least I can do is be grateful for being one of those who didn’t get to see the alternative to being 40.      

And nobody could claim it comes as a surprise.  There’s no cackling imp on your shoulder one morning, hissing the words to Happy Birthday before announcing that, although you thought you were 20 with no dependents, no money and no cares, the harsh reality is that you’re double that. 

I didn’t feel any different when I tipped over into the forties, save for feeling a little more special for a few days because all my lovely friends and family had made such a special effort for me, but my hair didn’t suddenly sport a grey hue, nor did, alas, my spots disappear back to my teenager years where they really should have stayed in the first place.  My dodgy hip didn’t sort itself out as a good will gesture but nor did it get worse over night.  The things I ‘hadn’t done’ at 40 I also hadn’t done at 39 and the things I have on my to-do list (ahem, getting published is up there in lights), well I’m a whole lot closer to them happening in my forties than I was two years ago.

So you see, I think it’s all a big con, an inspirational ploy by the greeting cards industry.  I propose a counter move.  I shall set up my own niche market, the Fearful Forty-Ones.  Surely 41 has the potential to be much more depressing?  When do you ever hear anybody ask more than a day in advance, ‘What are you doing for your 41st?’  or, ‘Are you planning a surprise party for [insert beloved’s name]’s 41st?  Let me know if there’s anything I can do.’  Do you ever see anybody collecting photos in a clandestine manner for an embarrassing 41st slide show?  Or having them enlarged to A2 and giggling with excitement at the result with the printer? 

No.  And this needs to be rectified.  My best selling card will be, ‘no surprises, no big presents, no bubbly...’ and as the chintzy music plays on opening, the words, ‘but we still love you all the same,’ will spring out.  Corny? Oh yes.  But if you can’t be slushy on somebody’s 41st, when can you be?

Happy Day to all of you!  (That's my second niche greetings card market idea)


PS I had one of my 'nice' rejections last week and I'm through to the third round of the Brits Unpublished.  It's good being 41, five months and two weeks old.