I’m currently on the train. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as listening to a very happy child grinding her mother’s brain into a fine paste by telling a constant high pitched stream of near identical jokes and demanding not only rapt attention, but also genuine mirth.
Things I did before I was 37.
This might look at first glance to be one of those “swim with mountains and climb a dolphin” sort of list. It isn’t. Don’t worry.
It isn’t one of those lists for two reasons. 1 – I find them bossy, impossible to emulate and slanted to inspire envy/a feeling that ones own life has been wasted and 2 – I haven’t ever been swimming with dolphins and I don’t want to climb a mountain.
I tried to find the list of 30 things I did before I was 30. Sadly, the medium I used to create it was myspace. Part of the construction of their great new look (myspace is impossible to use or like but it does now look great) involved getting rid of everything everyone had ever put on there. Except tiny pictures of people you had connected with. That’s it now. But oooh! Pretty, unusable nothing!
Anyway. Couldn’t find my 30th birthday list. But I am 37 tomorrow. I thought I’d share some things that are really great and if you get the chance, you should try them. Or not.
MAKE AN IMPROBABLE TOASTIE – Or smoothie or BBQ thing, or ice cream. Just combine some things that you like the taste of and eat them. One of the finest discoveries of my young life was banana wrapped in bacon and stuck on the barbecue…AKA “Monkeys on Horseback”. My goodness they are good.
NAME THINGS – being given the chance to name a thing is awe-inspiringly wonderful. If it’s a kid, you have basic care/bullying needs to consider (or not). I, a few years ago, had the golden opportunity to name pedigree kittens. Thanks to me, Mr Doyle kitten, Taptaptap kitten, and Ordinary kitten can now step out in style. It’s brilliant fun.
BE A TOURIST IN YOUR HOME TOWN – Easier in some places than others. I have a funfair visible from where I am currently sitting. Just mill about, buy postcards, collect leaves, go brass rubbing, have a burger, go on a guided tour. No one ever said you had to be an adult. (And if they did well… they were probably miserable being adult themselves and wanted to see someone else suffer too…) AND if you’re abroad, be properly abroad. If you are on a beach, enjoy beach things, don’t dick around with your phone. In fact just avoid dicking around with your phone in company forever please.
IF IT’S THE BEST, MAKE IT BETTER! – You know baths? They are great. Why not make every bath the best one you’ve ever had? Candles, cup of tea, good book. Don’t skimp on nice stuff just because it’s not Christmas. You might die tomorrow… It’s not a question of greed or gluttony or hedonism…more a sense of gratitude and staying in the moment. This is (was) your only 15th April 2014… did you…do anything good? Did you do anything? Also if you can do stuff that makes you stride in a puffed up way, that’s good. Striding is excellent. I once strode down Oxford Street, took the tube to the London Eye and had a ride on it in an immensely puffed up way. It was fabulous.
REDISCOVER. Get into things you were into/wanted to get into as a kid. About 10 years ago, I bought the entire set of Panini WWF stickers. Because I am an adult and I could afford more than 1 packet a week. I also had all bar 1 of the Garfield set – and Shaun W. had all of them – and that broke my heart. That’s why. I also really love Ricicles.
FOLLOW THE LINE – As a scientific atheist, I have issues with the concept of fate – BUT it is fun sometimes to follow a line and see where it takes you. My only real attempt at this led me to my mentor and great friend Judith Lockwood…. – I didn’t win the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Brooch Competition …but that was good because I badly injured my back and was immobile for the 3 weeks I would have needed to spend making it …and I was bed ridden watching a lot of daytime TV …including antiques programmes which got me into the idea of auctioning work for charity …so I got involved with the Born Free Foundation and was due to attend a Ball in Derby …which was cancelled due to horrible illness …but I went anyway …and slotted in a visit to Birmingham …and noticed that the BJA were having a meeting on the day I was there…so I went…and met Judith…and Gordon Hamme, the organiser of the new mentoring initiative…and….well…you see? And it’s all the fault of hours of “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”. Bizarre and lucky and very satisfying.
TALK TO STRANGERS – No kids, never those strangers. I mean useful strangers. You know when you go into an Asian Supermarket and there are all of those things everywhere. You know your favourite takeaway food? If you ask the person behind the counter, they will give you everything you need, knowledge-wise to make it – and sell you the rest. It’s in their interest and yours. It makes life better (oh salt and pepper chicken wings…)
GIVE MONDO-GIFTS – You know those presents that make people cry with the joy and the thoughtfulness of them. Endeavour to give those every time for every occasion. You’ll look forward to other people’s special occasions more than you look forward to your own. And no…if your first thought is “it’s too expensive,” you are already doing it wrong. Imagine them weeping with happiness then work backwards.
THAT? YEAH, DO THAT! Last year, I applied with my pal Josie (after whom the Josie Rose collection is named) for the gameshow Pointless. We got an audition which was a lot of fun and an excuse for an adventure and to revisit Bristol. I occasionally enter competitions – win stuff even more occasionally – but when it’s a pair of kickass headphones or an evening with the head chef from Gu and a load of diamonds in nick james’ old place in Hatton Garden – it really is quality that counts! It might be geeky or odd to ask or participate but if you want to DO.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND – It’s only in the last couple of years that I have realised that the judgement that is supposed to be falling on all of us – by society – so BY EACH OTHER is just horse-shit. Live, kiddo. Live before you die.