In two weeks' time, I will turn 40.
This, for some reason, seems to be a much bigger deal than turning 39, even though it requires the same amount of effort on my part, ie none.
A lot of people have suddenly started asking me about my Bucket List, as if turning 40 wasn't already bad enough without also implying certain death.
So to keep them happy, I have written my List Of Things To-Do Before I Kark It.
It's quite a fun exercise, if only to make you realise how many things you can't think of that you might actually like to do, and that don't involve cake, telly or some variety of sex that would probably get you into a lot of trouble.
So, here is mine:
1. Learn Czech. My mother is Czech. Consequently I've never understood a word she says. This accounts for quite a lot, I think. Perhaps if I spoke the language, I would finally know where she has put my packed lunch. And then tell her that I never really liked cheese anyway.
2. Fly long-haul. I developed a fear of flying 10 years ago. I've been trying to patent it and sell it ever since, but uptake is disappointingly low, frankly. This year I flew again for the first time since The Fear kicked in. My arms still hurt. Long haul is my next big step towards freedom, and free peanuts.
3. Revisit the best bits of my GAP year. It was much more stylish than my M&S year, which involved a lot of nylon. But I do want to see how much some places have changed...and relive the Days Of My Youth, only this time with receding gums and mild incontinence.
4. Run a marathon. I'm a runner, and thus everyone immediately assumes that I've run 26.2 miles in one go. Because that, obviously, is what runners do. Doing this would enable me to say 'Yes yes, you are quite right. Well done you. I have run a marathon. Now leave me alone to carry on running 10kms.'
5. Learn to ballroom dance. Lifelong dream. No more to be said. I will do it. It will be beautiful. In my head.
6. Do stand-up comedy. Done! I had my first shot at stand-up this year at the Edinburgh Fringe. Nobody died, which I took to be a 5* review. I'll be back...
7. Write fiction. Or write for a newspaper, which amounts to the same thing. I am a terrible story-teller, but I'm a dreamer, so if I could JUST turn some of those dreams into words, then I would have...some words.
8. Get a tattoo saying "I love Jake" on my arm. I don't know anyone called Jake, but if I ever do, and fall in love with him, I'd like to be able to say I was there first.
9. Stop writing lists. Some work still needed on this one, clearly.
10. Get a bucket. Otherwise I'll probably just lose this list.
So....what's on YOURS?