Sunday, 19 October 2014

40 days: part 1

I am forty in forty days. Since one should never let a potential gimmick go unexploited on the Internet, I am going to try and post on every one of these forty days.

I am not going to try and detail forty things I have learned in my life so far. I quite enjoy reading those posts, but at this point in my life, if I am clear about anything, it is that I know pretty much fuck all. Nothing. I mean, I can make a béchamel and drive (badly) and sing Happy New Year in Mandarin. I can iron a shirt pretty well, but I could do that when I was 14 and I really don't have the chest for shirts. Beyond that, it's all grey areas. I like the idea of arriving at forty in a state of serene and purposeful sorted-ness, but barring some kind of miracle, it seems unlikely.

I thought for a while about doing forty regrets or forty mistakes, which I could definitely muster, but it seemed a bit of a downer. Then I thought I could do 40 things I still want to do, but jesus, the pressure. Imagine that list staring back at me in 5 years time with only 2 items ticked off ("make a coffee and walnut cake", perhaps, and "own more than two pairs of tights without holes in"). How depressing would that be?

So I don't really know what I'm going to do. Post something halfway interesting, I hope, without the crutch of ups, downs or percentages. Is there anything in particular you'd like to read? Do not fear, I am not giving up funny for forty days, like some kind of hideous lenten penance.

As for today, my father came to visit and tonight we had steak-frites and too much wine and a ceremoniously flambéed tarte tatin in Brasseries Georges, where the average customer age is 80 and they are all very cheery despite varying levels of infirmity. It is thus the perfect place to feel good about your advancing years and the salvation of creature comforts and he told me again - as he did when I was at my very lowest (so far! There's always time to sink lower!) about how when he was forty everything was shit in his life. I love this story, it's the adult fairy story I never tire of hearing. All is not lost! The losing dice are not tossed, the bridges aren't all crossed. Maybe in 30 years time I too can have okapi petting privileges?

Now I have to go to bed because it's late and I have to give a careers talk tomorrow. Shut up, I can hear you laughing. Sssh. I know all about careers.


Kristin said...

How about 40 stories about who you are?

Xtreme English said...

OMG...all of my CHILDREN are older than you! You can do this. They haven't even begun to think about this kind of exercise. So what would I like to read from a 40-year-old? Heh....well, there's a good one....what WOULD interest anyone about a 40-year-old? Tell us what you're going to accomplish in the next 40 years! Having fun after 40? 40 best junk food items??

Katrijn said...

Well, I was really really hoping for forty posts about the triple themes of:
fuzzy animals
weird belgiana portrayed with vegetables
And if you don't have any inspiration, a crosspost from facegoop.
Or forty conversations with B or M, I love those too.
So yes, more of the same, because I love your blog as is.

Dee said...

I was so crushed by the weight of expectation that on my fortieth birtday I lied like a bastard and told everyone I had to work. Then I sat at home with a bottle of wine and the television.
My best friend, on her fortieth birthday 3 days later, went out and learned to dance the tango and struck up a relationship with a much younger man.
It's just a number. Unless you have a marvelous time, and then its an IMPORTANT number.

Dale said...

Hmmmm, when I turned forty certain of my offspring were just beginning the long slow spiral of adolescent peculiarity and this rather distracted me.
However I do remember really feeling properly adult for once (not that this insight affected my self-doubt or tendency to dither much).
What a gift to us, forty posts!

Beatrix said...

Omg, anyone who needs to learn something about a career yet is in big trouble. Is there still such thing as a career?
Anyhow, I'm glad you have sold it to them & I'm sure you'll be brilliant!

So, justement, as they say: how about 40 new career turns you could take? Okapi care-taker? Live-tweeter of owl life? Professional cake critique?

Mrs Ford said...

How about your life story so far in forty chapters, one year per post? That should allow plenty of everything that makes your blog so interesting and so funny, and might perhaps be an interesting exercise for you as you approach this significant (but very youthful) birthday.

Helen said...

40 significant cakes of your life. Birthdays, weddings, etc.

Nellig said...

As Helen said, 40 significant cakes. Including biscuits and general confectionery. Or items of clothing. Go full-on Proustian.

Nimble said...

Try something you've never done before and write about that. 40,000 good wishes for the oncoming 40.

anapestic said...

I know a great many people who have been miserable at forty but happy at fifty. Myself included.

You could perhaps write one story for each of your forty years. This might have to include some creative remembering (aka making stuff up) for the earliest years, but who would know?

Annie Gray said...

You have tights without holes? Shit, I don't.