I fibbed about my age tonight.
I say fibbed, because I don't want to say lie, but I guess however I sugar coat it, I lied. There was no good reason. It just came out of my mouth. It was out before I even realised what I was doing.
'You must be about my age then?' said the chap I was talking to.
'That's depends' I said, 'How old are you?'
'37' he replied.
'Snap' I shot straight back at him, sipping my drink and looking at my shoes. (I'm a terrible liar; my nose twitches and gives me away every single time.)
The thing is, I'm not 37. I'm 41. I like to think, somewhat deluding myself, that perhaps I look about 35. The thing is, I'm not really bothered about my age, so I'm not sure why I felt the need to fib.
I mean, as everyone and everything likes to tell us, you are as old as you feel. If this is in fact true, I have cause for concern, as there are definitely days I feel ready for my pension. This is worrying, considering I am a creature of 'generation creative' and haven't got one.
But most of the time, I feel like a teenager. I often look for the grown-up to turn to, and realising I am the grown-up still shocks me to this day. I love festivals and glitter and Top Shop. I'm addicted to the American teen show Gossip Girl and often exchange updates with my 15-year-old niece about what is happening.
As much as I bang on about not being bothered about getting older ('I love it, I feel so free' I wrote on my Facebook the day of my 40th) I clearly am bothered by it, and I shouldn't be because considering how rotten my health has been over the last few years, I should be and always will be happy to be here.
The psychology of age is a funny one, isn't it? I mean, we get older, but we feel the same inside. Take my mum for instance. She is unbelievable. I still find it staggering she has three children all in our forties when she could pass for 50s herself. Inside, she often tells me, she still feels 22.
My lovely grandmother passed away at 83, after it was decided she was too old to go through chemotherapy. I remember sitting on her bed, a day or so before she died, saying to her how much it sucked that her liver had decided to pack up on her, despite the fact she had rarely drank alcohol and was still sequence dancing daily with my grandfather and generally having an ace time. 'I know' she said, matter of fact as ever - 'I mean, it's alright for them to say I'm too old for treatment, but Lorn, I still feel 16'.
It's crazy, how when we are young, we want to be older, and when we finally get older we often wish we were younger, or fib that we are.
For me, getting older is wonderful; the anxieties of my teens and twenties have passed. I know I will never look great in a bikini, but if I wanted to, I would still wear one. Maybe that is what getting older does? It gives us some perspective.
A new wave of questioning has arrived though, now I'm in my forties, unmarried and childless. The 'are you going to have a baby' questions have been replaced by either a (quite frankly appreciated) overlooking of the fact or the ever-so-helpful-why-haven't-I-thought-of that 'you could adopt' advice.
When asked why I haven't got children I usually just say 'it never happened' - but what I really want to say is 'I can't have them' and when the head tilt arrives (which it always does) and the question of why is posed I really have to fight the urge to say 'because I can't stand them'. That's a joke by the way, honest. (Is my nose twitching?)
So, with all this in mind, the fact that tonight, I wanted the bloke to think I was in my 30s is a weird one on me, because I'm proud of being 41.
I lost two friends in the last 3 years. Rebecca and Lisa. Rebecca was 30, Lisa 33 and they both died of cancer. They were wonderful girls. I mean, that really makes you think that we really have to seize the day.
So, I'm taking back what I said tonight. I'm not 37. I'm 41, and I'm cool with that. I have to tell myself that it's as young as I will ever be again and should therefore be embraced.
Also, to be fair, in the great scheme of things, it is 'just' a number, so you know, if it does occasionally change depending on who I am talking to, I may have to give myself some creative licence on that. But for now, my plan is to embrace my 40s and hopefully the many more decades to come, and enjoy every age I am blessed to reach, celebrating no doubt at a festival, covered in glitter, drinking a bright pink cocktail, because inside, despite what my face and wrinkles may say, I will always be 17.Suggest a correction