Right now he is just one in an apparently limitless line of achievers, queuing up from my grubby front-door to the post-office, waiting to mock me. My windows are dirty, the front sill needs painting, there's unironed washing slung over the backs of chairs in the kitchen. My hair is whispy and unkempt as well as falling out in handfuls - I moult worse than a mangy labrador - and my body too has also decided to join today's list of 'things that are rubbish because you are an underachiever'... by getting fatter and older, without me even trying.
A friend turned 50 today, and although I fully understand that we are no longer allowed to look, feel or act our age - I felt that really she ought to be able to sink back into a comfy chair and utter a sigh of relief, if only for a few hours, on her birthday. Fifty, is a bloody good age to acheive. It's a big, weighty number and it means you've done your time, earned your chops, learnt to move around the court efficiently. You might not have the energy of a 20 year old but you've got the moves and the cunning that comes with experience. Surely you can relax at 50?
Except now, I find out - we're expected to have all that and look like we're at least 10 years younger, enjoy an energetic, nightly shag off our equally youthful partner (who either matches us on the lean legged, heart-healthy gorgeousness scale or is actually 10 years younger - fuck you Demi bloody Moore) and be able to wear our original bell bottoms to our next door neighbours' retro party. BTW (fuck them too and their up-all-night-just-one-more-drum-solo live music shindigs).
A few years ago I lost the weight, squeezed into a Prada dress, and relished all day in 6" heels - demuring prettily at the cries of disbelief from younger women on hearing my actual age. Now they look at me politely and nod understandingly - even my genes have failed me in my dotage. I've not reached 50 yet but today I suspect that I will be a sore dissappointment when I do.
Time was I could look forward to my red hat and purple coat by the time I was 50, now I'll have to wait until I'm 60 and with my luck by the time I get there - it will be the preserve of 70 somethings to drag their sticks along railings and arse barge younger women out of the way in shops...
Here's a list of things I have not achieved to date ...
- a career or any sustained period of joyful, gainful employment
- a kid
- a size 10 waist
- good, even, white teeth (despite £1000s in orthodontal fees and a whitening kit off ebay)
- long legs
- needlework, crochet, knitting or patchwork (that's wearable, saleable or finshed)
- a souflet
- the ability to confidently spell soufflet
- an appreciation of slippers, curtains or opera
- inner peace
- outer peace
- the age of maturity, enlightenment or any of the seven ages of man or woman