[apologies for wonkiness - and copiedness-from-comments-boxness-ness - i have a baby on my lap. will attempt to come back later and tidy up a bit]
Lucy's talking about a list of things to do before she's 40. I'm going to be four decades long in only three weeks, and the very thought of such a list makes me want to jump back under the duvet and not emerge for at least another month.
But I have a good excuse: I (possibly rather sillily with hindsight, but there you go, I had little control over the timing) went and had a baby when I was 39, and that rules out most pre-40 excitement.
I was thinking last night, though, that although I disapprove of age-related moaning, a lot of my recent miserablism has been exacerbated by pre-40 jitters. I feel as though I'm about to be Officially Old and haven't achieved a whole load of stuff that's only going to get harder - if not impossible - with age.
I'm having running battles with myself these days about a giant banner I've erected above my psyche. It reads Failed Writer. My second book is only available in Russian. My first book is barely available at all. Neither of them are much good. And crucially I'm about to stop writing altogether, before I manage to finish my third.
It's all bollocks, for many reasons: I'll return to writing in the future, the Russians are perfectly capable of being discerning readers, and crucially writing is something that tends to mature with age, not get harder. There are few skimpy bikinis involved in the life of your typical writer. But still. I'm not where I wanted to be, where I thought I'd be.
But still but still. It's basically bollocks. So I gave me a good stern talking to and reminded myself that life begins at 40 and there's a load more excitement ahead. So that's all right then. And fuck lists.
Here's my list of things I'll do before I'm 40.
3. Whinge a bit more.
5. Eat cake.
6. Nurse a crying baby.
7. Eat chocolate.
8. Make a massive To Do list containing items like "sort out broadband" and "hem trousers" and "make a squillion doctors' appointments for every member of the family".
9. Eat chocolate cake.
10. Fail to do any of the items on the To Do list.
11. Fail to do any of the items on this list, and then get swallowed up in a giant existential feedback loop.