Now, this probably sounds as if I'm going to start with, "Well, this morning I woke up and I felt like I was ninety...", but actually, it started with a conversation with my husband, yesterday evening.
There we were, sat sitting in front of the television, watching Four Weddings and a Funeral for the umpteenth time, when I suddenly turned to my poor, long suffering husband,
Me: "David, do you feel 44?"
David: "No. How should I feel at 44?"
Me: "I don't know."
David: "How old do you feel?"
Me: "About 18!"
Giggle, end of conversation.
Nothing earth shattering, no setting the world to rights, just a silly, Sunday evening conversation.
However, later that same evening, having gone to bed early, (David had to be up at 5.40am this morning, a shade early for me...), I was still struggling to go to sleep and my mind was running riot. It settled on that very question and this is what I decided.
I can't feel thirty-eight, I simply don't feel middle aged, I don't feel nearly forty. I'm not frightened of being forty and I won't shy away from admitting it when it arrives, but I don't feel nearly forty now.
So, do I feel eighteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty?
I certainly don't feel eighteen. Late teens were not a good time for me, I was miserable and lonely, with a terribly low self esteem and no confidence, so no, I don't feel like that anymore, definately not.
Twenty? Well, not a lot better really. I was in and out of hopeless jobs, was in a slightly dodgy relationship and still fairly unhappy with life, so I don't think that fits either.
Twenty-five, perhaps. Maybe. I had been working in a reasonable job for a while, spending a lot of time doing my favourite passtime and I'd just met David, again, so things were certainly looking up!
Thirty. Hmm, well, that was quite dismal again, but I'm not sure why. I had two children and a third on the way, but at that time David was away an awful lot and I felt I'd had to grow up so fast, changing from being young and carefree to a responsible mother, missing out the fun, courting bit. We kind of skipped that.
So, what conclusion did I come to at midnight, (when our youngest daughter 'fell' out of the top bunk onto our eldest daughter, sleeping on a mattress on the floor. DON'T ask...) you may well ask. I concluded that age isn't the number of years since you were born, but the knowledge and wisdom you've gained. Some people never grow up, they never gain the knowledge, they just take a wild ride by the seat of their pants and everyday is an adventure. Sounds a lot of fun, but I prefer to consider and to be considerate, to be able to make well informed decisions and judgements, but mostly, to live and let live.
I suppose I really do feel my age and I'm working on being old and wise!