This time last year I was still a delicate young thing, tottering on the edge of my thirties. Birthday celebrations were well underway as the big 4 0 was set to dominate a month. I was full of life and ready to charge into the next decade.
I completely forgot that 365 days later I would have to turn 41.
40 has a much younger ring to it. 41 sounds like a slippery slope to the fifties.
Yet as I denied the fact that I was going to continue aging rather than stopping at a decade mark. I did learn a few bits this year.
1. I cannot moderate – at all – having spent 40 years learning this lesson, am now at acceptance. If I like something I will love it. If I open a bag of wine gums – I won’t stop until the last chewy little taste of sugary heaven is sitting in my gullet. If I say I will do something, it is likely to always happen.
2. I don’t alcohol to be me or to be liked. This was probably my biggest learning curve, and biggest change in my lifestyle this year. 9 months and a few days without anything alcoholic to drink and life has actually never been better.
My friend unknowingly paid me an enormous life affirming compliment last week on our annual joint holiday to Cornwall.
“You are exactly the same without drinking, just as funny and just as fun.”
(She may have also called me stupid but as author I’m being creative with my words.)
3. Life without hangovers is pretty epic.
4. Food shouldn’t have emotional attachments. It has took all of my life to start to grasp my relationship with food.
And it is my relationship. My body is not the same as anyone else’s, it reacts differently to different food groups. If I reward myself with cake after a hard day I will feel the bloating for two days.
If I make a massive steak and avocado salad with a sweet potato on the side – I’ll wake up prepared to face an even harder day if needed. Food is neither a comfort or a blanket. It can fuel me to have the energy levels I desire.
In saying that – wine gums are an excellent source of fuel.
5. My weight isn’t important. It is a number on a scale, I can use it as a measuring tool when I need to. But never again can that number dictate whether I am happy or not.
6. Doing what you love with those you love should be your first priority. Sod the ironing, screw the clean floor, life is short, grab it, seize it by the balls and live the living hell out of it. Kids are little for a little time, make the most of it.
7. You haven’t got a problem if you have a problem money can solve. Words of wisdom from my father – but as I enter another year as a self employed pauper, I realise that I’ve never been happier living on less, but doing so much more.
8. I will never have a fashion sense. 40 years of trying and I am clueless. I now have a best friend who purchases most of my wardrobe. The online dating world thanks her.
9. Single parents are amazing. Those of you in this club should nod your head in agreement, doing the job of two as one should get a trophy every Christmas Day.
10. Swearing in front of your kids will not mean they have a mouth like a drunken sailor. If anything you strip the coolness right out of the word “fuck” and their interest in profanity wanes.
I know this as the parent of children who now only use the mildest of bad language leaving me to cuss and f bomb with glee.
It has been one hell of a year, personal growth being at an all time high. Lets see what 41 can offer….