When 46 feels like 16.

I saw a birthday card once which summed up my feelings about my life perfectly. It said:"Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional."

I do have friends who actually appear to enjoy talking about interest rates, investments, insurance and other things beginning with "i" which frankly bore the pants off me.

To be fair, not many of my friends like to talk about this kind of stuff. Obvs. My friends are largely like me living a bit of a Peter Pan-esque life which is why most of them, like me, forget PE kit pretty much every Friday, don't know exactly what energy tariff they are on without looking and may occasionally wear the same knickers two days in a row after forgetting to actually press the "start" button on the washing machine. Not me, of course. I would NEVER do that......

The downside of all this blissful albeit immature ignorance is that when people like me do actually have to act like proper grown ups it all gets a bit stressful.

Take my life at the moment for instance. I am juggling a number of tasks including sorting out loft and cavity wall insulation (dull but warm), haggling with the car insurance people who are trying to write off my mid-life crisis car after an accident which wasn't even my fault (dull but vital if I am to continue zipping round in a completely impractical vehicle), and being grown up in dealing with building works, heating systems and our income (dull but better than being cramped, cold and starving).


I want to go back to bobbing along being distracted by shiny things. I want the most important decision in my day to be what I eat for supper or what I am wearing to go out. I want to behave like I am 46 going on 16.

I hated being actually 16 of course. Most people do. It's the law. Everything is not fair. School sucks, you constantly worry if you are wearing the right thing, your hair is the right style, you are listening to the right music. And if you are not worrying about these things (I didn't much) then you have to endure being pointed out as weird, odd, nerdy, whatever the latest word is for "not the same as the masses."

As I type I am surrounded by bits of paper with quotes and measurements and phone numbers and I can see the corner of my notebook filled with grown-up notes.  I wasted a lovely hedgehog notebook on these terribly grown up notes.

I must look like a grown up to these people who come to give quotes for grown-up works to the house. No-one looks at me and asks if my mum is in. Why do I still feel like an awkward teenager inside? When will I grow up?

Luckily my husband is also a teenager disguised as an adult and together we rub along nicely, being understanding when the other one forgets to do something which a real grown-up would remember.

Maybe it's because we both feel like this that we have a (we feel) great relationship with our teenaged children, and the two who are now in their 20's. We understand them because largely we feel like them. And they obviously take after us. For instance recently I went shopping with my adult son who has a responsible job and his own bills to pay. Does this look like a grown-up to you? I couldn't be more proud.

We can help them too because our best advice to them is straight out of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy follow-up book "Mostly Harmless".  Let me explain -in the book Arthur Dent met a smelly old woman in a cave who gave him photocopied sheets telling the story of her life and advised that he live his life the completely opposite way so he wouldn't end up living in a rancid cave.

Substitute smelly old woman for relatively fragrant middle aged woman, and rancid cave for over-crowded terrace with a fridge full of supermarket economy range food and you can see what we are getting at.

I digress.

Although I hate acting like a grown up I at least get to revert to behaving like a big kid the rest of the time. I like onesies, toasting marshmallows on an open fire, leaving the washing up in favour of a cuppa with a friend, abandoning the laundry to go shoe shopping and neglecting the weeding in favour of drinking Prosecco on my bench set amongst overgrown grass watching the birds wheel and dip overhead.

So my house is a mess, I have no gilt bonds (actually don't know what they are) and if I died tomorrow would only leave dust and dirty socks. (sorry kids)

But I hope that if the worst happened and my life was cut short that people would remember me as someone who put people before paperwork, friends before finance and my husband and children before, well everything.