Inspired by the lovely Keri Stainton who made this wonderful blog post on her 40th birthday I thought I’d do the same. Actually when I read it I thought “wow that’s good, I must do that when I am 40” which is typical of my “why do today what you can put off till tomorrow” attitude to life so I went all CBT on my own ass and said “no, do it now!” So, with some trademark Zoë adjustments from the original and apologies to Keri for stealing her lovely idea and turning it into a monster- here it is.
Oh fuck, I’m 36
So today I am 36, I was born on the 8th of June 1975 in the Peterkin Maternity Unit in Dingwall Ross-Shire. I don’t share my birthday with anyone really famous and nothing of note happened on that day (unless you were one of the 35 people killed in the Munich rail crash) but I’m told the lilac trees in the village were in bloom and it was a warm, sunny day.
Everything there was to know about me
I feel old and I don’t feel old enough at times, but I feel almost old enough to proffer the following advice to my younger selves.
1-Start saving for therapy- now
2- One day you will be a grown-up and you will wear clothes that were bought just for you, that no-one else has worn first. You’ll have to wait but it will be worth it.
Me and my Mum
3- That dream you keep having- the one where you can drive, one day it will be real and you will love it as much as you did in the dream. Sadly the other dream you keep having about running down the hill outside your house and being able to fly- that dream will never come true. But you can keep dreaming.
4- You will stop feeling broody one day; you’ll just wake up and want no more babies, no more kittens or hamsters. That third child will suck the oestrogen right out of you.
5- That thing you do to control your emotions- stop doing it now or at least talk to someone about it, you don’t want to still be doing it when you’re 36.
6- That man you think you love, you don’t really but you probably love him enough for now and the short time you spend together will give you two of your three most prized possessions.
7- It doesn’t matter what your mother thinks or says- about anything, ever.
8- Stop writing stuff in the bloody diary then she won’t be able to read it, it’s quite straightforward really.
9- He has a girlfriend, he’s not interested, stop wasting your time and energy. (PS- he will grow up and marry one of your best friends, you’ll be delighted)
Me having a bath in the kitchen sink
10- If you must go out in a drunken stupor and steal hanging baskets, thereby scuppering Inverness’s chances in the 1992 Scotland in Bloom contest make sure there’s not a trail of flowers right back to your flat for the police to follow the next day.
11- You love olives, really love them, you just need to try them.
12-Try and get over your phobia of having your picture taken or you’ll end up looking like you ceased to exist after the age of 8 and you won’t have any photos of you with your children.
13- Also try and combat your fear of the dentist- before you stop qualifying for free treatment, you’ll save yourself thousands of pounds.
Me on the rocks....
14- Stock up on Rowntrees Nuttys, Texan Bars and Peanut Partners- they won’t be around forever and you’ll miss them.
15- You will remember few things as fondly as the day you made Plasticine giraffes in O-Grade biology with Kay and Mr Laidlaw.
16- You know Lynda Day in Press Gang? You know you want to be a bit like her? Well one day she’ll become a postmistress in a costume drama and you won’t want to be like her any more.
17- Music just keeps getting better and better and you will hear lots of new stuff you like but nothing will ever come close to how fab the violins sound in Whatever by Oasis.
18- The legendary “Dance Till Dawn” in the Resolis Hall will include some of your best and worst moments- notice how the best bits came before the hefty dose of mixed alcoholic beverages? Learn from this; don’t repeat it over and over again.
19- Getting beaten up daily for being too clever will make you a better parent and author of one of the best blogs on the internet.
20- That guy in the double denim who looks like he’s auditioning for a Billy Ray Cyrus tribute- one day you’ll be living with him; you’ll love him and you’ll even have a baby with him. For the most part you’ll be happy but watch him because he’s going to fuck you over big time. You’ll sort it out eventually and you will whip him into shape but you’ll wish you’d done it sooner- and you’re doing exactly the right thing in modifying his wardrobe, he’ll thank you for it one day.
21- Don’t start smoking. Don’t start smoking again after you’d stopped.
22- Yes you are in labour and yes there’s flooding and roadworks so the journey to hospital will take much longer than you expect but your stay will be brief.
23- You don’t want to be a doctor or a forensic scientist but you maybe need to think a bit more about what you do want to be, otherwise you’ll still have no idea when you’re a grown-up.
24- You’ll be really glad that you didn’t call her Pootle Babe- as will she.
Me and my Dad
25- Don’t buy that house, the minute the ink is dry on the mortgage, bits will start dropping off and you’ll have no money to stick them back on. If you want a pension, get a fucking pension.
26- You see how even now you think you’re a little bit different and a little bit mental? Well one day you will be totally mental and very different. You will literally and metaphorically go to some of the most terrifying places you’ve ever been but it’ll be OK, you’ll meet some fantastic people and discover wonderful things.
27- Scream, bite, kick, anything but try to stop your mother from cutting your hair.
28- When your little brother has chemotherapy, don’t shave your head in an act of solidarity- unusually he’s not going to lose so much as an eyelash and you will look very ugly for a long time and people will laugh.
29- Talk more to your Granny- the formidable one; she really has had a fascinating life and if you don’t talk to her you’ll only find out about it at her funeral.
Me aged seven
30- You know that Amstrad PCW8512 that you think is so amazing? You won’t believe what comes after it; it’ll blow your mind.
31- No you’re not young, naïve and idealistic- Thatcher is that bad, as are all the others who come after her.
32- When you see the post van approaching your cat on the road outside your house- look away or at least shut your eyes or something.
33- When the girl who sits opposite you in Home Economics wants to explain fisting, find something else to do in another part of the classroom and quick.
34- Nothing will ever make you laugh as hard as that day in the youth club hall with the fire extinguishers.
35- Having absolutely no money and small children to look after is horrendous but you will learn from it and you will appreciate what you do have later.
36- By the time you are 36, things will be very different and life won’t be particularly rosy but a lot of things will be better or getting better. Hang in there, you’re a fighter.
All my love
PS- Happy Birthday
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