Four Decades

Forty. It has happened. I can’t quite believe I’m this…old. (I know it’s not actually old). Nevertheless, here I am. I’ve had four whole decades of living inside my own head, which — I won’t lie — is quite an exhausting place to be, at times.

Here are ten of the most memorable things those four decades have taught me.

  1. “Volumising” shampoo is not a thing. Don’t believe the hype. If you’ve got fine, flyaway, baby hair, like I have, then I’m afraid you’re stuck with it. Pretty hairstyles, clips and pins, bubble perms, curls, braids — those are for other people. Sorry.
  2. Scones are really easy to make but disproportionately impressive. You only need three ingredients and twenty minutes, and the less you knead them, the better they are. It’s magic.
  3. If you quite like the outfit in the shop mirror, you’ll love it at home. Shop mirrors are evil things, for reasons I’ve never fathomed. If it fits and you think it’s “quite nice” in the shop, buy it.
  4. Sunscreen is as important as the song says. It really is. I knew this already but then I went to a beach in Cornwall in 2012 before putting any on, and it reinforced the lesson very painfully. This lesson applies in a lesser way to night cream: you can’t skip it after thirty.
  5. The second bottle of wine is never a good idea. It feels like a good idea when the waiter comes over to ask; the food’s delicious and you’re having a lovely time and the chit-chat is flowing. Just trust me, though. Bad plan. Another glass, max.
  6. You probably can’t rap. Just knowing all the words isn’t enough, I’m afraid. Sad but true.
  7. A really quite horrifyingly large number of people genuinely enjoyed the Fifty Shades books. Have you read even a page? Have you, though? LITERALLY AWFUL (pun intended). The fact that these books exist and were so well-liked by so many people made me question all of my life choices on a deep level between 2011 and 2015, and I even went back to university off the back of my disbelief.
  8. Sometimes you might like one of your children more than the others. This is natural. You’d be weird if you didn’t. Sometimes kids are just really annoying. They’ll all get their turn at being your secret favourite.
  9. Exercise that doesn’t make you breathless still has value. It took a pandemic to teach me this, but I wish I’d started sooner.
  10. When you find someone who loves you even when you don’t love yourself, hang on to them. This is another lesson I wish I’d learned earlier in my life, and certainly before I’d hurt people as badly as I did. Also: contentment? It is not boring. Contentment can be everything.

(First published on

Previous Post
Next Post

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *