Saturday, March 17, 2007

Shallow and Insecure is the new Black.

Stomper baby and beloved sister. She's the bald one.

You know the odometre on the car? You know that thing when it gets to 9,999 or whatever and it does a really big rollover and it's pretty cool?

Well, my personal odometre will be ticking over this year. (Not for ages though. Months. But close enough that a few of my friends are starting to ask me what my plans are for the big day.) And that has not seemed very cool at all to me. You could really say I'm in severe denial about it actually. Which is not helped when my father says things like hmmm you're getting long in the tooth now. Or my mother (Hi Mum!) says I shouldn't have more babies because I'm too old now. (Also that financially it would be a terrible idea, which is true.) Or my chiropractor suggests that I'm middle-aged. Which, you know, technically I suppose is also true but Oh My God I got a shock when he said that.

See, the last time I really thought about my age was when I got pregnant with the Climber. Then time became this liquid concept due to culture shock, sleep deprivation, intense focussing on the small people etc. The next thing I know I've blinked and I'm about to turn f ... fo... can't say it. It's not happening.

So. People want to know. What will I do? And in an anguished way I've actually thought about this and I realised a lot of the ideas that sprang to my mind were really about denying that it was happening. For example, getting pregnant four months ago so that I could be in hospital labouring at the danger time and no-one would expect me to do a big party. Hmmm, think I've missed the boat on that one though. Or going on a little holiday to New Zealand or somewhere for that exact week. Or getting married instead on the day (my birthday is actually our anniversary anyway so I thought that was quite a good idea). But the wedding thing, as I may have mentioned previously, due to the obstinance of the Inner Princess is very much reliant on my actually receiving a bona fide proposal and the silence on that one is deafening ,
(And shut up, no I won't ask him. I just won't okay.)

But I digress. I always digress in this dress.

You can see the denial writ large in the sky, can you not?

Things I am considering. Maybe hiring some swing-dance teachers and getting a mass swing lesson so that everyone gets up and boogying early in the party and people have a laugh and a dance, two of my favourite things. Some sort of fancy dress because I have never had a fancy dress party. Which surprises even me. That's as far as I got.

So. Help! Any great ideas? Anyone.

Also. Just so you know. Deep down I am quite a sensible person. So I am well aware of the following :
  • The alternative to turning fo... f..ffff.. is much worse.
  • I will like lots of things about it.
  • I should be (and I am) grateful that I still have my health and my wonderful Fixit and boys instead of worrying about arbitrary age-lines-in-the-sand.
  • When I turn some other mythical large number in 20 years time I will look back on this fuss and laugh at myself.

I most certainly do not want to hear the following :
  • You're in great shape for your age...

What I need to hear is things like :
  • Oh my God, you don't look a day over 29.
  • It's the new thirty.
  • There are no numbers after 29.
  • You are still a hip and groovy person and no-one would ever guess.
  • I don't believe you, you look so young.
  • Oh for God's sake woman get a grip.

And not just because I tell people to say them either. Because they're really true and people really mean them.


  1. Look. I've already commented on those perfect set of pins to the point that I may be approaching "stalker" territory! And I really, really mean both of those things. And that picture of you and fixit kissing your belly - brought tears to my eyes - truly beautiful.

    As to the party thing, that mass dancing lesson sounds bloody fantastic - a big hall, with loads of food and drink and music and movement and laughter. And then some days later a night out, at a special place, for just you and fixit. Splurge a little.

    (But I know what you mean - I blinked and my thirties went somewhere when my eyes were closed!)

  2. Thanks Nutmeg. Knew you'd be there for me. Let me know if you want the favour returned.

    My sister took the picture of Fixit and me and my bump. She is a wonderful photographer.

  3. dearest Stomper,

    40? Really? I would never have believed it.

    Just don't do what I did for my fortieth. Some idiot hires you a stripper, who dry-humps you in front of a restaurant full of people, many of whom left in horror.

    It was not funny.

    Possibly one of the most mortifying moments of my life.

    Having said that, being past the ffff..., it's actually pretty cool. Just the turning that can be a little traumatic.

    I personally recommend my mother's turning 40 technique.

    Big party.

    Lots of tequila slammers.

    Birthday girl out cold by 10pm.

  4. Thankyou Shula. I am positive it would not have been funny then and I will personally kill anyone who pulls a stunt like that on me, but geez you just made me laugh. If I tried your Mother's trick you would have to insert [vomits copiously] in between the
    "Lots of tequila slammers" and the "Birthday girl out cold by 10pm"

  5. I didn't do anything when I turned forty. Aside from request ice cream cake that is. Ice cream cake is essential ;)

  6. forty eh?? If I hadnt heard you going on about it maybe a year ago I never would have guessed....really I wouldnt. I say fancy it up at some noice restaurant and go ( childfree ) to a B&B and laze about.

    And you really are fit for your age. Sorry, but you are. Good calves too!!

  7. Caramaena - I love icecream cake too! (even after many years spent working in an icecream shop.) But I think the winter-liness of my birthday has meant I've never had one as a birthday cake.

    Shannon - I am rooly rooly tempted to slope off childfree to a B&B but people seem to expect me to partay. Also, shutup! for my age! I'm still in my thirties you know.

  8. I had a self indulgent cry in my car when I got home from work upon my 30th b'day. Until I saw my neighbour seeing me, as he was walking home, and I got embarrassed, so pretended I was doing something else, composed, and left the vehicle.

    But then, I don't do b'days .. and everyone at work was all over me all day, and I couldn't breathe until I got home and exhaled...

    Oh, i'm sorry. We're talking about you, right ?

    Um .. ok ... hmm .. nope. No help from me. I tend to avoid the par-tay, and i'd definately be looking for a proposal. Don't you nag the hell out of Fixit to get things done ? Oh hang on .. that's how *I* got married ...

    Want me to harp on his arse for you ?

  9. I'm probably the WORST person to ask seeing as how I did NOTHING for my you-know-what (you DO know that I am now F3?)but I ALWAYS have an opinion, even when it isn't warranted so... something hideously infantile like an 80's revival party a la Sharon's hens night on Kath and Kim (but with more men and less pole dancing). Or, better yet, have a seriously grown up black tie event. And wear something ravishing that makes all the men drool and all the women jealous. You can do it with that bod.

  10. Reaching forty is infinitely better than the alternative.

    After a while you get used to it. And then you go back to doing the same stuff you did at 39.

    What I did was throw a massive weeklong party. I called it JokeFest. I sent save-the-date cards well ahead in advance. I had events (not just parties, mind you, but things such as driving tours, spa days, museum trips, pub crawls, etc.) for every day.

    My actual birthday landed on a Wednesday and I have a LOT of friends from out of town and about half of them could attend a party the Saturday before my birthday and the other half could only attend the following froday, so I bookend-ed the whole thing with two parties.

    Then I sent invites with R.s.v.p. cards and those who R.s.v.p-ed were further sent a "registration packet" (Like you might get for a conference or convention).

    No I didn't cook the food for either party. But I did make brunch for about 20 the next day, which was Easter Sunday.

    If you're busy enough and you make it a point of having as loud a splash as you can, you'll find yourself enjoying it.


  11. Good grief, YOU ARE FORTY!!!??? NO WAYY!!!!

    OK, I had a serious crisis when I turned 30. Lasted for weeks, drove everyone crazy.

    Then my fortieth approached. It was in October. In January, I started hyperventilating.

    I was whinging to a work colleague and she gave me a good talking to.

    "There are a lot of people who never make it to 40. Look at all the people who die tragically young, look at how hard it is to reach this age, the fact that you made it this far is actually a miracle, no matter what your childhood involved. So many babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults die, you survived it all. You should be celebrating it, not regretting or complaining about it".

    It worked for me, instead of having a crisis, I decided to have a party. Nothing cheers me up faster than getting lots of presents.

    That was *gulp* nearly 4 years ago now. It is actually pretty painless.

    In the words of the Dilmah bloke, "do try it".

  12. Fellow 1967 baby here...rather dreading it, too. Although November feelslike along way off right now, I know the time will fly. siiiiggggghhhh

    Maybe us all almost fo.... fo...
    year old people should go on holiday and pretend we're 29 again.

  13. I did absolutely nothing for my 40th, which was last September, thus allowing me to pretend it never really happened.


    The Queen of Denial

  14. You truly dont look 40!! or anywhere near that number.
    It is only a line in the sand, washed away in the tides of life!
    I was too busy to notice when I turned 40! I completely forgot, we were moving house, so if you dont party- move house haha.

  15. Well, Stomper, I am just one year ahead of you here. My Pete and I are just nine days apart in age (I am the older woman, much to his delight). We are NOT big party people. We made a pact that we would not allow any one to throw us a party. Instead we went away for a weekend together sans children.

    Now here's the thing - we went to Melbourne for the weekend. Direct flights had just started, cheap and fast. that logic, maybe you and Fixit should take a weekend away and go to Townsville. It might just be a lovely tropical place for a proposal!

  16. H&B : Would you? Thanks.
    Kirsty : [crosses pole-dancing off list of possibilities]
    Joke : I got exhausted just reading the precis of your festivities. Also, re getting used to it and going back to doing all the 39YO stuff; Great! that means I will still spend my time fretting about turning ff..ff.
    Aunty : Hmm, focus on the presents you say? Fingers crossed no-one duds me then, with candles for example. Just because I look like a hippy does not mean I want to risk a housefire.
    Ewe: Welcome back from giving birth! You're right, November is even more ages away than my OH GOD IT'S ALL HAPPENING TOO FAST..[starts hyperventilating into a bag]
    Badger : If my friends would quit nagging me, that would be my first instinct too, Your Majesty.
    Meggie : Thankyou! [starts looking up real estate website]
    Tracey : [realises can't aford to move house, starts looking at travel websites instead]

  17. It also helps I had my moment of crisis when I turned 21.

    Besides, I was still funny, charming, professionaly successful and tolerably handsome at 40 as I was at 39. So, as long as Mrs. Joke was interested in availing herself of the manly bounty that is me, I really had no reason for complaint.

    Considering that I took a count-your-blessings approach, the actual number was kind of underwhelming.

    And, considering I must tread lightly (given the ease with which one may accidentally veer into Inappropriate Land via comments along these lines) suffice it to say that from this side of the equator and IDL, I feel comfortable saying nobody would guess your age.


  18. I was in total denial when I turned 40. So much so that I had organised nothing, and of course neither had Mr Soup. So on the Friday before (it was on a Sunday) I rang up five or six of our dearest friends (no relatives in Melb) and said sorry for short notice but if you're free please come for a byo picnic in the Botanic Gardens this Sunday at lunchtime.

    And they did.

    And it was lovely.

    The end.

    (I am not a party person. And just this weekend I had to attend a hippy fancy dress 40th birthday party. ON MY OWN because Mr Soup bailed out. Please don't inflict this on your friends).

  19. I was more traumatised about turning 30 than I think I will be about turning 40. Forty always seems like an age when you can just relax and be who you are. It's a sort of neutral age where there are no expected forms of behaviour.
    Go for the outrageously fun party with music and dancing and life affirming fun. Or spend some nice quiet time with the people who make having another year of their fantastic company a joy :)

  20. Oh my God, you don't look a day over twenty nine! Forgive those of us who are not exactly sobbing in sympathy....Forty ! Why, you're just a baby! Try looking s.i.x.t.y in the eyeballs! But, if you feel young,it hardly matters what your birth cert says. I feel much more at ease in the world now than when I was twenty nine. you'll be fine.....

  21. So when's the big day?

    So we can all arrive in hippy fancy dress, with bottles of tequila and sleeping bags. You get to cook breakfast for 20 the next morning. A cooked one, I expect we're all going to be rather hung over.

    I'll bring the stripper.

  22. ps. I can honestly recommend the swing dancing.

    My daughter dances with Swingpatrol. Every encounter with those guys is a party. They're like the baptists of dance.

  23. Good grief, get a grip! (Joke) I had a ball turning 40 in January and did the "fleeing" thing - took off to Perth for a week to celebrate there. I can highly recommend it, it was loads of fun!

  24. Well at least I'm not the only one in denial, which is comforting to hear, Suse (and all you others who faced it by shutting their eyes and putting their fingers in their ears, shouting lalalalala very loudly. I know exactly where you're coming from.) Thanks also to SF for words of wisdom and Molly for saying all the sorts of things I need to hear. And to H&S for the 'you can have a fun time on your bad birthday' encouragement.

    Shula if you bring a stripper make sure it's one who takes it ALL off. No time-wasters, please.

  25. Well, you do look extremely young, and fit and not a day over 29!

    When I turn 40 (a mere three years away) I am going to travel (back to the US for decent amount of time). I can't wait!

  26. Isn't it just a number?

    And the alternative *is* worse - I counted up the number of people I went to school or college with who aren't here anymore and it's in double figures.

    And I'm 36.

    Unlike my ubby (deep personal crisis) I looked forward immensely to my 30th - I imagined that I would awake and be stylish, sophisticated and the owner of an organised desk.

    Perhaps the elegance fairy got the date wrong?

  27. Ah Stomper Girl - sweet CHILD - It IS JUST A NUMBER ... I've had to do the finger counting sums since the mid-eighties just to figure out what decade I'm im I guess I'm not the best person to advise you but for my 40th birthday I DO remember what I was doing... purely because of the excruciating PAIN. GB and I cycled 204 miles in 2 days ( one of which was my birthday). I can honestly say it was "memorable"!

  28. Heck, I thought you were going to say something really BAD, like:

    "I'm turning 9,999."

    Now THAT'S bad.

    Turning fff...? Not quite so bad.

    The fancy dress sounds fabulous. I'm thinking loads of fairy lights, cocktail food (how about some Asian inspired food in those white noodle boxes), romance and loads of dancing.

    Maybe get a band? See if your local community band would perform for you for a fee.

    Whatever you do, have fun. Because like the others have said, you're here, aren't you? And look at all you've achieved. And if all else fails, look at that beautiful photo and loook at your family and see what you've created. You could never have created that if you were a mere babe in the woods.

  29. I've lurked around these parts for a while -- can't recall if I've every commented, but I did have to weigh in ... I totally thought you were going to say you were turning 30, but then you threw me with the ffff, ffff and I thought, "Well, she can't be fifteen." I think the fancy party sounds fun, since it seems your friends aren't inclined to let you off for a quiet, easy weekend escape.

  30. Thankyou Em! Do the kids get to come too?

    Nic: Hello! Apparently the Elegance Fairy came to see me, but she took one look at the place and turned on her elegant little tail.

    Riseoutofme : Thankyou for dropping by. Now, tell me. Was that an actual suggestion of fun things to do on so-called-significant birthdays? Call me crazy but somehow I don't think I'll be doing that! ;-)

    Thanks Float for sense, and decor/theme ideas. I was actually pondering that very issue (not with any success I might add) as I took the kids to school and creche this morning!

    Bless your heart Liz and thankyou for visiting.

  31. Hey sis.

    There are no numbers after 29! thanx for the rap with the pregnant photo and on our baby photo!

    Sorry to miss you if you called, in sydney on the weekend getting wet photographing horses. It poured rain!

    Let's go out dancing! And dress up! And look fabulous! Just give me plenty of notice so I can book an airfare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Minus the children obviously!

    love me

  32. Hello again!
    To anyone else reading this comment, it will appear as if I've flnally lost it, but Stomper will know what I mean...

    The Fourth Bear was issued in HB in the UK last July (hubby and I went to a reading, JF is v.v. funny). It had me in stitches, partly I guess because I originally come from near Reading, but I also prefer Thursday. And there's a new one coming out this year (hurrah!)

  33. Oh Stomper - PLEASE do something to mark the occasion and celebrate -some way that is special to you!!! Because maybe in 10 years time you might be wishing you had and then you might be wanting the big not happen!!!!

  34. With just five more comments you will have one for each of your years! Want me to comment five more times?

    See 40 comments would be beautiful. 40 years is outstanding.

  35. please please tell me that that photo of you with the bump wasn't taken around the 9month mark otherwise I shall be very jealous and go off and sulk!

    as to that special birthday. do what you want to do not what others want. It is your birthday after all. And 40 is just a number, really you are as old as you feel inside.

  36. Shelly - Looks like I will do a dancing party, I spoke to a friend today with my ideas and she says she will help. And what is this fff...fif thing you mention? There are NO numbers AFTER 29!!!!!
    Tracey - Okay so Velcro's jumped in, I'm doing this now, so you only need to think of 3 more witty things to say.
    Velcro - No need for sulking! I think 6 months or so preggers in that photo, which was also first pregnancy and therefore stomach muscles had not suffered major damage at that stage! The 9-month photo will be staying private!! You'll just have to take my word for it that I looked fabulous and petite and glowing and NOTHING like a bloated hippo.

  37. Where o' where o' where is Stomper ?

    Where o' where o' where is Stomper ?

    Where o' where o' where is Stomper ?

    Where can Stomper be ?

    ( P.S. - I can really see your kids' faces in your own babyface )

  38. Comment No. 39.
    ( with apologies to Wow Wow Wubbsie )

    "Blog Party! Yeah Yeah!...Blog Party! Yeah! Yeah!...If you've got a blog, it's the place to be. Everyone's at the Blog Party."

  39. Had to snag the 40th comment for your 40th birthday - consider it your present - ha ha!

    But I'm here to mimic what H&B said - Where are ya Stomper? Haven't seen you about. Hope all is well.

  40. How did I miss this post? As someone who turned F0 last year, I promise it isn't that bad. I have a horror of giving parties, and my husband isn't the romantic type so my celebrations were many, varied, and involved small numbers of people: 1. dinner with husband at nice, local restaurant, 2. family party at home (with just mum, dad, sister, her husband and their daughter), I didn't have to cook (yes, the best part), 3. lunch with 2 girlfriends and the best one: 4. a long weekend away with 6 of my closest girlfriends down at Wilsons Prom. We cooked, ate, drank, danced, beached all weekend. It was fabulous.
    Having said that, my brother-in-law had an excellent 40th last year, it was a 'come as your favourite celebrity' party. People DO love dressing up!!


Don't let the cat get your tongue.