I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to and will do during my eternity leave: learn to kitesurf; do a handstand at Everest Base Camp; learn to play the guitar; write this blog; go ski-touring with Tiggy; have a lot of fun with friends old and new; keep an open, curious and playful mind – and so it goes on.
I’m also conscious that there are a barrel load of cliches that I could fall into if I’m not careful. I’m sure you know what I’m mean – middle aged woman goes travelling and comes back having found the Meaning of Life whilst cleaning toilets ten days into a silent retreat at an ashram in India (with humble apologies to any of the toilet-cleaning ashram goers amongst you).
Now, this list of ‘Shan’ts, Can’ts and Won’ts’ is clearly completely and utterly subjective – one girl’s trash is another girl’s treasure and so forth. So do take the list below with a pinch of proverbial salt, although I hereby grant you complete permission to keep me honest on them.
- Get a tattoo
I’m writing this on the assumption that you, like me, are a staunch believer that David Beckham is one of the most beautiful people on the planet. But even he, I fear, is in danger of becoming over-inked. (And isn’t it interesting how VB appears to be zapping hers as fast as DB is adding his.)
It’s not that I’m against tattoos, far from it in fact, some are undoubtedly incredible works of art. It’s just whenever I think of middle aged women and tattoos, images of Pamela Anderson’s barbed wire, Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/Whatever’s bottom and Sporty Spice’s crucifix all pop into my mind. Please don’t tell me that none of them have had buyer’s remorse. I change my mind five minutes after a cut and blow dry, so heaven only knows what I’d be like after acquiring a permanent fixture.
I’m also totally squeamish, a complete wimp and hate the sight of blood. Ergo, I think I’m pretty safe on this one. I had a lovely gold foil one in Ibiza once which lasted a perfectly perfunctory three days.
- Hire a vespa
And ride it in shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops. I had a Vespa once, it was lovely; in dashing plumb (I know, surprising, not pink), with a top box and hand warmers (I feel the cold). I used it to commute when I worked in north London. At the time it was very practical, my daily scoot took 25 minutes compared to 40 minutes on my bicycle and an hour on the tube – it was a no brainer really.
I haven’t ridden it since 2008 after I fell off going three miles per hour on the pavement outside my house and hurt my leg. And there it stayed, mainly functioning as an adventure playground for spiders, until it was uprooted to star in a Jack Wills autumn window display.
So, after an ‘ouchy’ in the form of a badly bruised thigh, I’m Captain Sensible when it comes to all things scootie now. Bare skin and gravelly tarmac at speed are never going to be friends, and for us, it’s two feet and four paws or four wheels on terra firma all the way.
- Obsess over what I miss from England and whinge about foreign alternatives
The only allowable exceptions are: Tetley tea (I’m safe on this one as I bought 500 bags with me) and my friends (again, also safe as that’s what Facebook, What’s App and Insta are for). Although I do like a splash of milk with my tea – WTF is it with foreign milk?
- Try to be ‘cool’
I’m 45 years old, I’m really quite square and I’ve never, ever been cool. Personally I don’t think there’s anything more cringe than someone trying to be something they’re not.
Examples in my list include: braiding my hair, taking hallucinogenic drugs, getting anything other than my ears pierced and wearing any of the below:
b) indigenous knitwear from Nepal
c) tie-dyed, floaty kaftans from Tarifa (with accompanying jangling necklaces, bracelets, toe rings etc).
- Buying lots of stuff
I love shopping – especially clothes and shoes – and even after a huge clear out I probably still have more anyone really should and certainly more than I need. I really hope my god-daughter grows up to have size five and a half feet, otherwise there’s a beautiful collection of eye watering-ly expensive footwear going to go to waste. So, my golden rule is – only one thing a month – no local tut and no going over my weekly budget. The only exceptions are purchases genuinely required for my pursuits – kitesurfing, hiking in the Himalayas, guitar paraphernalia and ski gear.
This is just my list, I’m sure everyone’s would be different. Have I missed anything? Remember, at the end of the day, the world’s going to judge you no matter what you do, so you may as well live life the way you want to…
Love, Sophie, Tiggy and The Beast X
P.s Paws for thought
Tiggy has added two criteria: no going on the beach when the Sand in Eye factor is above 5/10 and when the wind is gusting over 30 kts can everyone please stay on their leads so they don’t get blown away. Thank you 😊