I am thirty-one.  I am 31.  I need to write it a few times, and numerically too, to force myself to come to terms with the fact that I am no longer twenty-nine, as I keep telling people who ask my age; nor have I been for some time.  Unfortunately for me, my brain still refuses to accept the harsh reality that I am now THIRTY ONE.

It’s strange that I am having this acceptance problem with my age now, having coasted through the big 3 0, unlike some of my friends, who were rather dreading the event.   How I laughed.  I scoffed and teased – age is only a number, I said., what are you afraid of?   You’re as young as you feel, I said.  Turning thirty was no milestone for me, rather I applauded myself on milestones achieved, a rising career, great friends, etc.  So it is with huge surprise (and some mortification) that I find myself suddenly fearing the passing of time, and my inevitable ageing.

Maybe it is now that I am officially ‘in my thirties’ and no longer ‘just turned thirty’.  I now tick boxes that say ’31 – 35’, and, to be honest, I never even noticed those boxes existed as I happily ticked the ’25 – 30’ section.  Recently I did a survey that didn’t even HAVE an ‘over 30’ box, so having spent the best part of an hour filling in all my vital stats, in the vain hope of winning my very own Louis Vuitton tote bag (which I didn’t even particularly like,  it was mainly the cachet), I realized that, according to the competition website, I was TOO OLD to own it!!  In most countries I would think thirty-one would be a perfect age to prance around town with a monogrammed accessory… with the exception of South Korea, where it would seem that you need to own a LV by the age of eleven at the latest.

So at whose feet can I lay the blame for this strange new fear of  age, or ageing?  Certainly not at my mother’s, who has been preparing me for my dotage for at least the past decade.   I have caught her on numerous occasions telling people about her daughter who works in fashion – no, not the young one in Ireland, but the one in her thirties (this when I’m twenty five).   I have stood by, smiling grimly, listening to yet another tale of someone I knew in school who just got married… ‘no, really’, my mother insists, ‘you DO know her… no, REALLY,  the two of you were in the same year,… of COURSE you were… oh wait, no… what age are you again?? Oh no, she must be a year or two older than you so, she just turned thirty-six.’

Thanks, mum.