Tuesday, 28 June 2011

On Forty Haven'ts & Haves

In less than two weeks now, I shall have my 40th birthday! I have heard people worry about turning 40, as though it’s some kind of beginning of the end or something, but I’m actually rather excited about it!

This excitement partly comes from my obsession with even numbers, numbers with lots of factors, and particularly multiples of 10. I get to spend a whole year being a nice round number, which will please me greatly!

But it also comes from the fact that there are a couple of things that I’ve promised myself I shall do when I get to 40 (one of which I’ve already done), and from the fact that I now feel that I shall be officially “old enough to make up my own mind” about these things. It feels, to me, like the right age for fresh starts, for ceasing to worry about the stuff of youth, and for taking charge of my life!

I’m also in the rather fortunate position that my health is currently improving rather than declining. I’ve spent much of my 30s rather ill, and I feel that the last couple of years have shown me that if I want to combat this illness, I shall have to keep working hard at it – one of the effects of that hard work is that I’m getting physically fitter, slimmer, and happier and more contented with life than I’ve been for many years!

In the run up to this birthday there has, of course, been a certain amount of “reviewing” my first 40 years on this planet. I was sitting burbling to the Wonderspouse the other night, and it suddenly struck me that I’m going to be 40 and will never have smoked a cigarette (or cigar, pipe, joint etc) or even a single puff of a cigarette!

So I decided to make a list of 40 things I haven’t done! Just for a bit of fun!

And since I like my symmetry, I did one of 40 things I have done!

The lists are in randomish order (really just the order in which they occurred to me) apart from the bottom items on each list.

I have not, as yet, had a tattoo. However, at 40, I may now be old enough not to “regret it when I’m older”, so I plan to have a tattoo later on this year (as long as I’m brave enough – I’m not very good with needles)! I shan’t have it during the summer months though – it will have to wait until the outdoor swimming season is over! Watch this space (or my blipfoto journal) for news sometime in the autumn!

I have, now, owned pet rats. I’ve loved rats for around 15-20 years now, and have hankered after them for ages. In a glib comment a few years ago, the Wonderspouse said I could have them when I was 40! A few weeks ago I was browsing the pet store and came across two wonderful middle-aged-men who needed a new home! Charlie and Moses have been residing in my study since then. I love them so very very much, and I should imagine they’ll get a blog post of their own sometime. You can also see pictures of them on my blipfoto journal (blipfoto.com/violamaths).

So, here are the lists! Enjoy! I’d be interested to hear what surprises you the most about me!


1 Smoked a cigarette
2 Had a filling in a tooth
3 Taken a recreational drug
4 Been arrested
5 Had a driving endorsement
6 Been pregnant
7 Changed a nappy or ever used a disposable nappy
8 Read Lord of the Rings
9 Been divorced
10 Owned a home
11 Owned a dog
12 Owned a tumble drier
13 Been to America
14 Flown in a helicopter
15 Broken a limb
16 Had long fingernails
17 Found my Mother-in-Law difficult
18 Done a bunjee jump
19 Cooked a Christmas dinner
20 Shaved my armpits
21 Played golf
22 Been into a betting shop
23 Been to Bayreuth
24 Worked a year without sick leave
25 Learned to dance
26 Had a same-sex relationship
27 Been to the southern hemisphere
28 Taken a GCSE exam
29 Been a vegetarian
30 Bought a brand new car
31 Had satellite television
32 Had professional makeup done
33 Been able to walk in high-heeled shoes
34 Been on a beach holiday
35 Spent more than £80 on an item of clothing
36 Eaten a tomato
37 Paid off my student loans
38 Stopped studying
39 Taken part in a pub quiz
40 Had a tattoo


1 Attempted suicide
2 Been married
3 Got a first-class honours degree
4 Seen several dead bodies
5 Watched a pet euthanized
6 Been a victim of domestic violence
7 Eaten at the Waterside Inn
8 Been to Russia
9 Kissed the Blarney Stone
10 Been round Christ Church Tom Quad on a motorbike
11 Got locked in a church
12 Met the Queen & Duke of Edinburgh
13 Slept in a 4-poster bed
14 Eaten a cat treat
15 Slept with someone older than my parents
16 Been on school report
17 Flown an aeroplane
18 Been in a plane doing aerobatics
19 Driven at well over 100mph
20 Played gamelan music
21 Played a concerto with an orchestra
22 Had a police escort
23 Been skinny dipping
24 Had a book published
25 Listened to the whole Ring Cycle in one day with scores
26 Been caving, waterskiing, canoeing, abseiling
27 Seen the Aurora Borealis
28 Obtained a theology diploma
29 Preached a sermon
30 Sung "Once in Royal" solo to start a carol service
31 Been stung by a weeverfish
32 Conducted an orchestra
33 Been chair of the trustees of a registered charity
34 Got totally undressed outside in December
35 Thrown my mandolin at my teacher
36 Been mugged and also had my handbag stolen
37 Eaten a poached egg covered in sugar
38 Read A Brief History Of Time
39 Won a tray of meat in a pub raffle
40 Owned pet rats


  1. Why, oh why, oh why did it even occur to you to eat a poached egg covered in sugar?

  2. What, oh what, is a weeverfish?

  3. Celia - it was an accident. I was at someone's house and got the salt and sugar confused and was too polite to say anything. It's not an eating experience I'd recommend!

    Yvonne - a VERY painful fish! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1424082.stm I got stung off the west coast of Wales, was then rushed to hospital to have my foot soaked in boiling water, was given an antihistamine injection in my leg, and had a swollen foot for AGES! Plus, since we were in the depths of Welsh-speaking Wales, everything was done in Welsh - I clung onto my then boyfriend tightly because I made him translate everything for me (he's a native Welshman - we're still good friends)!

  4. Very funny Ann - an amusingly random collection of ideas! You've achieved so much in 40 years!

    Just to indulge your love of numbers - I have done 16 of your "haven'ts" but I haven't done 36* of your "haves". Which ones, I will leave you to ponder!

    (* well, 34 if you count the single dead body I saw, and the tray of vegetables I won in a pub raffle!)

  5. no 8 is shocking. am rereading LoTR on my annual reread right now.

    no 20 is splendid. I wish I could say the same, but at least I've notched up about 15 years now, originally inspired by your glorious comfort in your own self.

  6. I love this. A wonderful collection of dones and not dones. Made me laugh a lot.

  7. Happy 40th when it comes, Ann. I really enjoyed this post - neat idea. I loved being 40 - 50 not so much :) But life is sweet.

  8. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job.

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