Fear of Forty!


I had something of a miserable childhood and adolescence for all sorts of reasons too tiresome to enumerate here but suffice to say that it was tough at the time, occasionally upsetting now but mostly I’m better than fine about the whole thing.

However, one of the things that I find hard to deal with is the fact that my grandparents who raised me in the absence of my parents brought me up to be completely lacking in any vestige of self confidence, pathologically anxious and also terrified of pretty much everything. I’m not sure why this is – they weren’t particularly nervous or neurotic people themselves but they were rather fond of Gorey like anecdotes about people, usually children or girls like myself, who had done what most folk would consider perfectly humdrum and ordinary things but somehow come to a sticky end or some other misfortune as a result. As you can imagine this had quite an effect on an impressionable mind and even though the pragmatic, rational part of my mind knows very well that it’s all a load of old tosh, there’s still a sad little voice in there that whispers ‘What if it’s true?’ whenever I gear myself up to do one of the things that I was raised to be scared of.

It’s not all bad though. After leaving home I managed to gird my loins to do plenty of things that my grandparents warned me I would either never be able to do (get a degree, make friends, be loved, have children, have my own family, have a career, get married, write books) and some that they raised me to be extremely wary about (go on a plane, have sex, take aspirin, eat raspberries, eat sushi, drink vodka, bleach my hair, use eyeliner on the waterline, give birth, own cats, use cleaning products, use the underground) so I’ve done alright really.

However, as the last birthday of my thirties approaches fast, I’ve found my mind turning with increasing frequency to a few more things that my grandparents put the fear of GOD into me about or convinced me that I wouldn’t be able to do and I’ve resolved to try to do as many of them as I can before I hit forty. I believe that having some sort of Fortieth Birthday Bucket List is considered quite traditional so I’m not claiming any originality of thought here but hopefully this should make for an interesting last year of my thirties anyway.

Suzy and I actually got the idea of setting up this blog during a conversation about our impending forties and it seems like the perfect place to chart my progress during this, my last year of my thirties as I try to do a few things that I never thought I’d be able to do.

Okay, here goes with the list! There will be more full posts about each one in time.

1. Get my driving licence.
2. Get a tattoo.
3. Get my ears pierced.
4. Go on a plane on my own.
5. Lost enough weight to get into the normal BMI range.
6. Visited America – preferably Portland but New York would be nice too.
7. Have the wedding of my dreams. Or in my case, vow renewal!
8. Learn to dive and swim underwater.
9. Publish a book to at least some acclaim.
10. Swim in the sea without fear or panic. Okay, just a little bit.
11. Learn how to make sushi.

Anyway, that’s it. I’ll remove things from the list as I do them and probably add a few more as they occur to me. I turn forty in October 2014 and hopefully will have made some headway by then! In the meantime I’ll be blogging here about my no doubt desultory progress along the way.

What do you reckon?

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