In the 1940s, The Daily Mirror asked for contributors for an article entitled: 'What Women Fear Most'. Here is my list (I am aware I am a little late for the competition deadline, but better late than never):
1. I am afraid of never finding love, and everyone else coupling off and leaving me. I mean, obviously they won't leave me all alone forever- they'll still need me to bitch about their partners, babysit their kids, housesit their lovely family home whilst they take idyllic vacations, and I'll certainly be invited to all the dinners and parties and so on, but I'll have no-one to dissect these events with, or to fetch me a glass of water the morning after. Basically, I'm worried that I will forget to pay my water bill, and my hangover will never go away. My worry is about water supply. I'm basically Bono.
2. I'm worried that I'll spend the rest of my life being 'almost successful'. And that every time I am introduced to someone new by someone I know, they will litter their introductions with caveats and enthusiastic endorsements: 'This is Lucy, she's, well, she used to, and oh she's very good, you should read her stuff. I mean, you won't have, but you really should. It's good.' Because what the hell kind of face am I going to make in response to that? Bashful? A sort of double-bluff fake modest face? I will never be able to meet a new person ever again.
3. What will happen if I'm wildly jealous of all my friends? I mean, at first they'll love this and I'll be even more popular. But after a while, I imagine having every anecdote met with a weary sigh and envious glaring frown might become a little tiresome. (I mean, naturally it would take a long while, because being envied is delicious, but I think my friends would persevere).
4. Sometimes, I worry that everyone else is making sneaky financial plans and I'm the only one who isn't. Which doesn't matter at all at the moment, when nobody I know has any money whatsoever and those who have even a few quid are forced to spend it feeding and watering their poorer friends in a 'forced and entirely grudging Robin Hood-type model', but I think will matter enormously in the future. To avoid this, I have been asking my friends about their pension and ISA plans, but everyone has been deflecting with blank stares and confused faces. Which has only made me more worried.
5. What if I have an as-yet-undiagnosed early ageing disease like Robin Williams in 'Jack'? And it only comes to light when I'm preternaturally aged in all the photos from other people's weddings? What if people think I'm the Mother of the Bride? What if I think they're asking me to be in all the photos because we're really good friends, but it's actually because they think I'm an elderly relative?
And here are some things I have never, ever worried about:
1. My kids being anything but truly, magnificently excellent. 'Don't watch 'We need to talk about Kevin', My friend told me anxiously. 'You'll panic about what you might give birth to.' 'I won't,' I replied staunchly. 'I already know exactly what my kids are going to be like. Tremendous.'
2. Not understanding new technological advances. Not understanding the point of technological advances, certainly. But I'm completely confident that I will be able to keep up. Whether I want to is an entirely different matter. (My Mother has recently joined Twitter. I am going to try to be much, much nicer to my own children).
3. Having sex as an old lady. I've been preparing for old-lady sex my entire life. It will be spectacularly effortless. I can't wait.
4. Marrying the wrong person. People seem frantically worried about this. I'm not sure why. All you need to do is find someone who is kind, thinks you're hilarious, and will always bring you a glass of water when you're hungover. In an ideal world, they would also like the other part of the chicken to you, but marriage is all about compromise. Sometimes, you simply have to buy two chickens.
5. That things won't continue to be fun. They will be. If only because we won't all be worrying so much. I imagine we will waste most of our adult lives still panicking about this, but there must come a time, when we're tucked in our futuristic beds, gnawing on post sex roast chicken with a plentiful supply of water, our angelic children asleep in their rooms, that we realise that everything's going to be OK. Well, better late than never*.
*The Daily Mirror did not accept this fact, and have asked me to stop submitting entries.*