Ruth Jones explains why sometimes you just have to appreciate exactly where you are right now. Or splurge on shades.
When I was 37 I had a mild midlife crisis, manifesting itself in the binge purchase of designer sunglasses. Not very rock‘n’roll I know, but the fear underlying it was no joke. I was so disturbed at the thought of turning 40, it felt claustrophobic, like I was running towards this massive unavoidable, inevitable cliff and I had no option other than to jump off. I think I would have done anything at that point to not get older.
Thankfully, several pairs of sunglasses later, the crisis passed. And I didn’t resort to surgery or buying a motorbike or getting a tattoo. In fact when 40 eventually came knocking, I had a three-day party and embraced it like a childhood friend. Yes, there WAS a cliff, but I’d discovered I could hang-glide and the view over the edge was breathtaking. Because so far, my 40s have been bloody lovely – my best decade ever.
On September 22 I turned 48 (incidentally, I’m in top company sharing my birthday with the inimitable Sue Perkins and the legendary Fay Weldon). But the thing is, I no longer dread that date like I used to and I’ll tell you for why: if I’m lucky enough to make it to eighty eight, I will look back at this year and think, “Blimey, I thought I was old back then, but I was a mere whippersnapper!” Admittedly a lot of my whipper has already snapped, my eyesight isn’t what it used to be and the menopause is winking at me across the dancefloor, but still. There’s life in this old girl yet.
I’m running 10k in October. I say that like it’s not a big deal. Or that I’m an actual runner. But I was the fat girl who didn’t get picked for the rounders team and whose only sporting achievement was coming third in the egg-and-spoon-race in 1973. And here I am, actually getting off my procrastinating arse and doing one of those ‘things’ I always said I’d never do.
So when Sept 22 came this year, it was no longer a case of, “Oh my god, I’m 48 sad face sad face” but “Oh my god, I’m ONLY 48 – that’s amazing!” Because right now, in this moment, I am the youngest I will ever be in my life.
Welsh comprehensive girl turned Warwick graduate turned drama student turned office temp turned waitress turned failed actress turned failed solicitor turned successful actress turned writer.