Last weekend was my birthday, and in the lead-up to it I was a flipping nightmare.
I didn't want to turn 35 - it just seemed one inevitable, saggy step closer to 40.
However, in the beatific afterglow of a lot of red wine and the fact that I turned 35 and my face didn't immediately shrivel into a Crankies-like death mask, I have figured out there are some pretty good things about reaching roughly half your life expectancy.*
1) Your parents can no longer shout at you about your tattoos. They may look at you and sigh but they know it would be ridiculous.
2) But that doesn't mean you should get face ink.
3) You may worry about wrinkles, but you finally earn enough/spend less on going out to be able to afford an anti-ageing face cream that isn't banned in the EU.
4) There may have been few 30-something body role models in your mother's generation, but contrary to what you were worried about, your body doesn't have to go to shit in your 30s. It requires work, but you can look good, if not better than you looked in your 20s.
5) But - you also learn to let go of the fact that your body doesn't look like the fitness Amazons on Instagram. To do so requires intense sacrifice and there's other stuff you'd like to do with your day and That's Okay.
6) Wine has calories? Gasp! Well so do other food groups but I won't be giving up eating anytime soon, and the same applies to my beverages, thank you very much.
7) It's okay that you make a noise when getting up from a chair. It's nowhere near as loud as the one you'll be making when you're 40 and that's a whole five years away.
8) You become a lot more honest about what you like doing, and what you don't like doing. That includes: kids birthday parties on Sunday mornings, mid-week weddings and helping people move house.
9) Letting things go becomes easier. You've been around the block a few times and you learn that life is cyclical, and things happen in patterns, and it's not as big a deal as you first thought. This is incredibly freeing, FYI.
10) When really, really bad shit happens to you, you learn to cope. You learn that your past is not all that ever was, and your future is not all that ever will be.
11) When you tell people you don't think you want kids, and they say in a patronising voice: 'I'm sure you'll change your mind', the urge to stab them isn't as strong as it used to be. Mainly because you're getting a solid eight hours sleep.
12) You figure out that you can rewrite your own story. You may have been the flaky fool that forgot people's birthdays, always showed up to work hungover and was that person at a party, but things can change - if you let them.
13) There are some high street clothing stores that are just off limits because they don't know how to cater to your bootylicious, 35-year-old self. While you had trouble letting go of this when you turned 30, you definitely know it's time to now.
14) If bodycon was a person, it would be an asshole. Same goes for crop tops and high waisted jeans that make you look like Angela Chase's mum from My So Called Life.
15) You may spend your money on different things to millennials - good booze and a winter coat that doesn't disintegrate after one season - but you still are united by your main monthly expenditure: Uber.
16) People ask you for advice and for once you aren't bullshitting it. And they actually take it!
17) You stop worrying about the things you've missed out on, and start thinking about the things you really want to do with the time you have left.
18) Then you make a mental note not to use the phrase 'time you have left' again because it makes you sound about 70. Which is what you'll be in another 35 years!
*There are no GIFs because I'm too old. So there.Suggest a correction