I quite often feel like I don’t know how life works. All the things that other people instinctively know how to do, I haven’t got a clue about.
I could sit and collate a pretty long list of the things I can’t do that are second nature to everyone else. Finances bewilder me and I’m particularly crap at managing them. Even now I need to dose up on Rescue Remedy before logging into my bank account. Dating? I’ve never had a relationship that lasted longer than 4 months, unless we count the guy who I didn’t so much date, as have 10 years of one-night stands with. Other, really basic stuff: I’ve never learned how to drive; I don’t know how to update the iOS on any of my iProducts; I buy ready-made crumble topping rather than making my own.
This isn’t, however, a post celebrating my complete inability to function as a human being. Yes, I’m sometimes embarrassed by the gaps in my knowledge, just not necessarily enough to do anything about them. You can find instructions for just about anything on YouTube these days.
The thing that really worries me is that sometimes I feel totally alone in feeling like a failure. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other people but so many of my friends just have their shit totally together.
Turns out that actually we’re all just really good at faking it.
A few months back I had lunch with A, who is lovely, but also a Type-A overachiever. Over our starters she completely floored me by saying she felt defined solely by her job (please don’t ask me what she does, I will tell you she’s a transponster), rather than any of her interests. In fact, she wasn’t really sure she had any interests.
Once I’d picked my dropped cutlery (and also my jaw) off the floor I told her she was batshit crazy and listed all the amazing things she does, and admitted that on more than one occasion I’d compared myself to her, and found myself wanting. Then she dropped her cutlery on the floor and said the same to me. At which point we cackled in a manner unbecoming for such a posh restaurant and got stuck into the wine.
I got a phone call last week from a former colleague asking me if I would mentor her as she tries to get a new business off the ground, which means either she’s so badly-connected I’m the only help she can get, or possibly, just possibly, I’m not as bad at everything as I think I am.
I’ve been trying to write a ‘Oh fuck I’m nearly 40 post’ for months, but it keeps coming out as a litany of my epic shitness and “OH THE MISERY!”, which, let’s face it, no-one wants to read. So instead I decided false modesty can do one and list 10 things that I really, REALLY like about myself.
I’m handy in a pub quiz. Scoff all you like, but I bet you never won the pop quiz at the Mucky Duck because you recognised Phil Collins’ ‘Another Day in Paradise’ on the strength of one drumbeat.
I make cracking Spotify playlists. It is one of my greatest sadnesses in life that the youth of today will never know the absolute joy of making someone a mixtape on a BASF 90 minute cassette.
I’m kind to animals. If you are furry and have 4 legs, the chances are I already like you more than 92% of my family. My best mate may call me Lenny, but I choose to see this as affection rather than a throwback to the time I accidentally squished one of my rodents.
I make a really good chilli con carne. It has chocolate in it. It’s been tweaked over the years but this is basically it. Don’t use as many kidney beans as they suggest.
I take a lovely photo. It’s only over the last few years I’ve rediscovered how much I love photography. In a parallel universe there’s a version of me who’s travelling the world with only a rucksack, a camera, and 40 rolls of film, because a. it sounds romantic and adventurous and b. my photography-career aspirations were formed in the pre-digital era.
My face gives me away, every time. I might not be very good at telling you what I’m really thinking, but luckily my facial features have no such reservations. My nostrils get particularly flary when I’m unhappy and my left eyebrow once gave one of my friends the raging horn, which I wear as a badge of honour.
I will laugh (loudly) at the stupidest jokes.
What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror?
Although I’ll judge you slightly (OK, a lot) if you haven’t seen a film I like, I’ll happily lend you the DVD. This is why the copy of The Crow currently sitting on my case is probably the 7th I’ve bought.
I enjoy creative swearwords. Shitford, fuck-knuckle and staggering thundercunt are just three of my particular favourites. Not that it’s particularly sweary, but someone used the phrase ‘fussy mummyblog ninnyhonker’ on Twitter the other day and I laughed for an hour.
I make a reet good brew. I firmly believe that 97.3% of the world’s problems could be solved if everyone just sat down for a mug of Yorkshire Tea. Milk, no sugar, chocolate hob-nobs on the side.
I still think I should probably know how to do more than I actually do, but there’s time enough to learn. And in the meantime Sainsbury’s do a perfectly good crumble mix.