In just three sleeps, I’m 50.
Sorry; have I already told you that? I have been mentioning it quite a lot.
Mainly so everyone will say: “Oh, you don’t look it.”
Which they do. And it makes me feel good, even though I know it’s the only polite thing they can say.
I think 50-year-olds do deserve praise and recognition. Half a telegram from the Queen, or a certificate, should wing your way to mark the fact that you have got through five decades and are now a proper grown-up.
On the journey to my half-century I’ve learned lots of things, some important, some not. I’ve learned that having more money is lovely because it means more holidays, more meals out and the continuation of such luxuries in your dotage. With Saga.
Though I know now that you can get by with a lot less dosh than you think you can when you’re a career and possessions-fixated 25-year-old. And that people, love and loyalty make you far richer.
I have come to realise it is pointless striving to impress anyone because all it does is put them off you.
And anyway, anyone who can’t see your talents and attributes is not worth bothering with. I’ve also learned you should always try to do the things that you think you can’t. If you stay positive, life has a funny way of making it all right.
Regrets? I’ve had a few, though. I’ll mention a few. Well, you knew I would.
Here’s one; I wish I’d been able to like sport. It might have made me fitter of body and more competitive of spirit. Here’s another; I wish I’d gone to university to find out what the crack was – and what I was capable of.
My biggest, regret, though, is not realising years ago that nice men are the best. My past is littered with sweet, decent, caring nice-guys I stupidly discarded for those very reasons.
The elusive ones who kept me dangling, the players I was convinced were just waiting for the right woman (me) to emotionally rugby-tackle their feet from under them? They were just mentalists.
Tied up in that is my lament at not having had more children. The reason I didn’t is because I spent too many of my fertile years dangling on the strings of all those mentalists.
But none of the regrets are gnawing away at me. I’m happier at 50 than I was at 30, or 40.
I’ve settled into my ageing looks, too. My stomach will never be flat; my legs will always be cart-horse rather than racehorse.
But like scores of women my age, time has taught me what suits me and what doesn’t.
With the exception of red lipstick - one slick of carmine and I’m stark-raving Bette Davis in Baby Jane - make-up definitely suits me.
On days when I go without, people think I’ve got a palsy. After years of practice, I can do my entire face in 17 minutes and make it look like I’m not wearing anything.
And that’s a real art,
I have bade farewell to mini skirts, the tight, the sleeveless, the strapless or the cropped.
But you know what?
Happy birthday to me!