Sunday heralded my 24th birthday. Not the end of the world, I hear you cry, but I had to resist the urge to cancel the weekend and throw myself head first under the duvet.
My lovely friends all joined me on the Saturday, bringing offerings to the God of Age, including delicious cake, thoughtful presents and lashings of alcohol. I had to stifle the question all day, “girls, do I have any wrinkles?’ and pasted on a perma-smile while downing my Pimms like I had fallen off the wagon. It didn’t help particularly that both my boyfriend and sister still are just 22, and still 21 respectively, so can remember clearly their teens, rather than in a fond, hazy sort of way.
We had a fantastic day, drinking in the garden (how very thirtysomething, you may be thinking) and eating barbecue food, favouring the marinated chicken and pork chops, as opposed to the burnt sausage and food poisoning burger of our youth. We were however, indoors by eight watching Britain’s Got Talent, and in bed before the witching hour.
My point is, how have I got to the stage where I am concerned about my age? The reason is this. Facebook. Facebook gives you the chance to gain an insight into the lives of people you went to school with, and have never spoken to since. It allows you to delve deep into their souls, via the medium of stalking, and see what they do on a daily basis. And this is where the paranoia develops. Our peers are getting married, getting pregnant and having babies at an alarming rate. Unnecessary pictures of pregnant bumps and outy belly buttons are popping up all over the internet like dandelions in the lawn. It causes panic as we compare ourselves. Are we developmentally slow? OK, we could walk and spell at the right age, and did well at school, but have we missed the boat somewhere along the line? Will we remain single and childless, living only with a pack of cats as company, well into our old age?
The family don’t exactly help. Sensing my anxiety, my dear mother informed me that she was married and pregnant by my age. Not noticing her need to stop, she went on to add that my grandmother was married with two children at my age. Well la di da! Pass me the paper bag, I may just need to have a hyperventilate in the corner.
Thank goodness for my friends. My closest allies have put me back on planet sanity, as we are clearly normal. There is no need for panic. If you could pop your head in the door of my domestic bliss, you would see that actually I am really ill equipped for marriage or children. I have a basil plant that my boyfriend replaces on a monthly basis, so I don’t mourn its death and my inability to keep anything alive, and there is still champagne on the floor from the party that I cannot face clearing up. Its my last reminder of my twenty-third year on that planet, and a clear omen that I should not have a child in the near future. I’m not sure Harry would be able to find a replacement child quite as easily as the basil, now would he?