It’s only a few sleeps until my very middle-aged birthday.
Do not give me the dumps, or I will be reduced to a bloody pulp.
I’ll take the cake, but don’t bother with candles. The quantity I require won’t fit, and my burgeoning facial hair will be set alight when I attempt to blow them out. Nobody wants to see me go up like a petrol-doused Ewok.
I have assembled a gift list, for the few who choose to acknowledge this Generation X-er's swiftly advancing years.
No new shoes, thanks. My disco heels assume that I died a while ago. Still, they wait patiently, huddled together in my wardrobe, alongside the dead moths, single pop socks and discarded gel insoles.
Each pair is like a dog in an animal shelter - pleading for me to take it out for a walk. I’d be happy to see them all euthanized, as the last time I wore anything over about an inch was pre-lockdown. Same goes for all the tights. Burn them and their gussets.
Instead of the glitzy party-wear I might have asked for ten years ago, I’ve requested a fresh pair of sheepskin slippers. At a certain stage in life, they should be available on prescription, along with statins. Thanks to the recommendations of a former colleague, I discovered these items of domestic footwear about a decade ago, in my mid-thirties, and I’ve never turned back. They give my cankles succour. They are also horrifyingly expensive, but worth every penny, even if they are wearing out swiftly now that I work from home and wear them constantly.
If my current eight-year-old pair were to transmogrify back into a sheep, they’d resemble Larry the Lamb after a horrifying spell in Stranger Things’ The Upside Down.
Despite their scruffiness, it’s my biggest joy to parade around the house, and flat-footedly stride out to the bins, resembling a new love-interest for Foggy in Last of the Summer Wine.
Second on the birthday list is a memory foam pillow. I would like to not wake up with a tingly shoulder, spinal kink or Mr Burns stoop.
When you’re deep into middle age and beyond, it starts to go a bit Princess and the Pea, and you feel all the porridge-y lumps in your pillow that you were once oblivious to.
If this purchase could also improve my memory, that’d be a bonus, though I don’t think that’s how the foam actually works.
I’ll also take herbal tea (not green, because it’s got caffeine in it and keeps me awake at night) and book vouchers, as well as a new yoga mat - extra dense to protect my gammy joints.
At my last birthday, it blew my 11-year-old niece’s mind that I’d requested and received some bottles of aromatherapy bubble bath.
“Why do grown-ups want THIS stuff?” she said, with disdain.
Indeed, my carousing days are behind me.
As I approach the big day, I know better than to complain to others about my advancing age.
Especially those who are older than me. That’s like taunting a t-rex. I would not subject others to the irritation I feel when I hear someone complaining about turning thirty or forty, even though I did the same back then. Also, you might not like what they say. The current backhanded favourites are; “it’s better than the alternative”, and “ageing is a privilege”. Neither particularly fill me with joy, since they’re only shorthand for at least you’re not dead yet. Still, we’re all in the same boat. Life is short, they say, though I’m not sure I entirely agree. To paraphrase Billy Connolly;” What the f***? Life is the longest damn thing anyone ever f****** does! What can you do that’s longer?”.
Anyway, as with every f****** birthday, I intend to celebrate, especially as lockdown has cheated us of the last couple of shindigs. I can’t even remember what I did last year, though it was probably a walk and a game of Scrabble. This will be a triple whammy good time.
There will be a whole week off work, when I will be going to the cinema to see Minions: The Rise of Gru, reading, and getting massages.
I won’t feel the pressure to change and improve my life, like I usually do whenever I’m out of the office. Instead, I will indulgently waste time and not feel guilty about it.
Also, food. Sometime in middle age, birthdays stop being about drinking, and become about eating yourself into a torpor. I am planning on lots of smelly cheese. There will be steak, almond croissants and cheap salt and vinegar crisps. I’ll go to a nice deli, and load up on expensive olives, then try to back out at the till, before remembering that it’s my birthday and I’m permitted to splurge.
Oh, and there will definitely be a cake. Hold the candles.