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39 is fine: Party time!

Well, almost. Few more weeks to go…

And I’m having my 40th birthday party the day after my birthday, as that’ll be a Saturday. But that’s not really the point of this post.

I want to think about why – or why not – and how, we celebrate 40.

I haven’t had a strong run of birthday celebrations on notable ages.

As I was a child genius (ahem) I went to uni just before I turned 18, which meant my birthday was the final night of Fresher’s Week. With friends I’d only known a week, off I went to the union to see… drum roll… Craig McLachlan! I know. Oooooh Mona.

My 21st passed in a bit of a post-graduation quiet patch; there was a dinner but no big ‘do. I’m not sure a big 21st was the ‘thing’ really, then?

Along came 30, though, and this time I was determined to have a big bash. I’d just bought a flat down in Redhill in Surrey, where I grew up, so I decided to have my party down there, too.

Loads of lovely mates came to leafy Surrey to celebrate, I had a gold and black sparkly dress, gold and black helium balloons. There were Tiffany and Selfridges bags, all the things a girl could wish for.

It was pretty awesome, all round.

SO, it’s made me want to have another one for my 40th!

I’ve always made a fuss of my birthday, and as I’ve got older I’d say I’ve made more of a fuss. One year I settled myself into a local pub and people came and went all afternoon and evening. Cocktails in teapots, if I remember correctly.

But what to do for a 40th? Because I know not everyone wants to have a bells-and-whistles party. I’ve been to quite a few over the past year and learned from each one what I wanted at mine. Party research, if you will.

Does it matter if you don’t celebrate with an all singing all dancing fanfare? Does it matter if you don’t WANT to? Are you missing out on some kind of party boat (possibly literally) if you decide you’d rather be at a small dinner, in a remote cottage or just at home opening cards?

Why do we celebrate 40 in a big way? I think it’s a bit of a new thing – I don’t remember either of my parents having a big bash. Perhaps we people of a certain age have claimed this as our big party year, our huge hurrah before we go in search of slippers to wear when we turn 50. Or Caribbean holidays to be on instead.

I am going to do something VERY out of character – go to the venue and check the sound system works with my laptop. SO grown up! #adulting

I think this is The Boyfriend’s influence as that’s the kind of practical thing he’d do, too.

Then there’s food. Or not. No food at my party. I shall be providing welcome drinks, of course. Some fizz for the beginning, as was the way at most parties I've been to.

Then it came to dancing. Now, many of the parties I went to had full on dancing. University Union style. Old tunes, much jumping. The pub I’ve booked isn’t a late licence but I’m hoping we’ll do a bit of dancing before the evening is through.

One friend, Tim, had fab advice for how to decide what kind of venue and party to have. ‘How do you want the final twenty minutes to go?’ he asked.

Perfect question for every party ever from now on.

I decided I wanted to be with friends, laughing, music on, not necessarily dancing but deffo opening one last bottle of something too many.

I'm reminding myself not to have too many expectations, to enjoy the night as it goes rather than expecting things to be a certain way. I have my eye on some lovely flat shoes, because this time, unlike my 30th, I wish to be able to walk all evening….

I did a Facebook post about how people spent their 40ths as I thought it’d be fun to see who partied, who holidayed and who hid under the duvet. Happily, most who replied marked it in some way.

From huge parties, to a surf lesson, a ferry (!), a baby (!!), Vegas, the Dead Sea, a child-free break for the first time in four years… a surprise party when a daughter had chicken pox, and even writing an article about being fit at 40. Might have missed the boat on that one personally. Although did run to Ally Pally today which is a BIG hill. Does this mean I am over the hill?! Lols.

I’ll be having some family dinners, too, and definitely a manicure and blow dry.

Just need to find an outfit now…

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