In one weeks time I will be turning (furtively looking around, lowering voice to whisper) forty.  I’ve deliberately written that in word form rather than numbers, because it just looks too scary with that big 0 behind something bigger than a 3.  I know, I know, forty is the new thirty and all that.  But frankly I don’t look anywhere near as good as Demi Moore and I certainly don’t rate my chances at getting a hot toy boy.  Not that I’d want one, in all honesty I don’t have the energy.

So I have to admit I’m struggling with it a bit.  For me it’s the true step into middle age and a realization that I don’t have any plans for this part of my life.  It’s a life-goal dead zone for me.  In the twenties I had my career, in my thirties I planned marriage (which I did at 30, check) and kids (31 and 36, check).  But my forties?  Well apparently that’s when you start getting mammograms according to the letter that came through the post a couple of weeks ago – yeah thanks for that, you couldn’t have waited until after my actual birthday?  Oh and I may have perimenopause on the horizon too, so that’s something to look forward to.

So you see when it comes to being a woman in my forties I can’t help but think about it from a twenty year old perspective or to put it in my darling 8 year old Mo’s words.  “You’re old.  Not really, really old, just you know, old.”  So when I went to buy a swimsuit the other day, for my upcoming birthday weekend away, I had a choice.  Choice number one was the instantly slimming costume, complete with full bottom and chest coverage and ruching across the stomach.  Choice number two was a sexy halter neck that showed off my ‘pretty perky for past my thirties’ breasts.  The obvious choice for middle-aged woman was number one of course.

Except, I don’t feel old.  I still feel as uncertain, unsettled and new in my skin as I did when I turned twenty.  Ok, so I have more authority and assertiveness when dealing with difficult situations and I don’t fall over so much after a good night out on the town, but damn it I refuse to consider myself as anything but young.  So I’m having the sexy swimsuit and if anyone so much as dares to mention the words “mutton” or “lamb”, I’ll poke you in the eye with my knitting needle and crack your shins with my walking frame!

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