Why I don’t dread turning 40


when I am old I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me

Tomorrow I turn 40.

You know, it’s when life begins.


It’s the milestone I feel I’m supposed to dread coming but I’m not.

Because I’m quite looking forward to getting older and becoming intentionally more eccentric.

I’m looking forward to being able to get away with stuff that I can’t get away with now, then blaming my quirks on my age.


Or as the poet Jenny Joseph put it in her poem ‘Warning’…


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.


I hope I get a red hat for my birthday.

I need one for my plans.




5 thoughts on “Why I don’t dread turning 40

  1. LOL Love the poem! I too turn 40 on my next birthday and dont really mind – it is just another number! People tell me I don’t look my age, but I must admit I do feel it at times, especially when I try to get up from my knees! Hopefully life will begin at 40 for both of us and we will get away with allsorts during our naughty fourty year!

  2. Yay. We are both celebrating a big milestone tomorrow!
    After 15 years and 1 month exactly together, Dan and I shall be tying the knot! Just a small service and sit down meal for 23 people. Followed by a family holidaymoon.

    Happy 40th for tomorrow! Xxxxxxxx

  3. Happy birthday for tomorrow!
    I don’t mind my age and always keep in mind that some people aren’t fortunate enough to live as long as we have so out of respect for them I feel content with my age. That sounds a bit weird I know but I can’t seem to explain it any better! xx

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