Blimey, what is being sixty like?
Does this mean that perhaps, finally, I really ought to do some of the growing up I’ve been meaning to do?
In some departments, I am HUGELY grown up, like: organizing logistics of travel, theatre tickets, etc., scheduling events, drinking bitter adult coffee, assuming responsibility for animals, paying a mortgage, getting life insurance, updating my will, driving a proper car containing many safety features, eating Brussels sprouts willingly, knowing some first aid including the Heimlich manoeuvre, not opening presents until the day, knowing when to wear a cardi so I can ‘feel the benefit’, wearing reflective strips if out walking at night, not using a Brillo pad on a non-stick frying pan, NOT sticking a wet finger in husband’s ear when he’s not expecting it... stuff like that. The important stuff. I’m very grown up at that.
One of the best things about being sixty is that I know myself and I know what’s likely, and I’m not going to beat myself up about the unimportant stuff
The other bits that might need some attending to in the maturity stakes include stuff like: overlove of Ribena, sulking, cutting my food up into little bits, the feeling of homework-not-done dread on a Sunday evening usually synonymous with the opening bars of the Songs of Praise theme tune, resolutely refusing to use people’s titles if they have them, purposely dribbling on my brother, the desire to have glitter on my face and, if at all possible, wear strap-on wings. Crying too much. Not flossing enough. Giving everyone slightly unkind secret nicknames. Making low rumbling roaring noises when impatient. Being sarcastic too often, too loudly. Suddenly tickling people. Not eating anything with a shell or a tentacle. Having to have the last word, and putting fingers in ears and yelling if someone else attempts to. Oh, and on fingers – sticking a wet one in husband’s ear when he’s not expecting it.
That last one is literally perilously dangerous . . . but, childishly, I can’t stop doing it, m’lud, even though I know it could end me.
I suppose that if these are my growing-up ambitions, it’s entirely possible that I could achieve them. It’s just not that probable, because I’m unlikely to try that hard if I’m honest. You see, one of the best things about being sixty is that I know myself and I know what’s likely, and I’m not going to beat myself up about the unimportant stuff.
I’m going to prioritize and scout about for stuff to do that makes me laugh, makes me cry right, keeps me on my toes, teaches me something new, or confirms something I hold dear. I’m going to seek out the quiet processes and I’m going to make my own small circles where I can enjoy all the little things thank you very much.
At sixty, I know that:
All the small stuff makes the big.
All the tiny minutes make one big life.
Every minute properly matters.
Live it BIG...
More about the author
One of the Guardian's TOP TEN READS for Christmas . . . AND, Woman & Home's best book to give this Christmas.
'A lovely stocking filler' Jane Garvey, BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour
'Top tome for THIS YEAR'S STOCKINGS! Start a journal alongside Dawn's witty outlook on life. This will have you laughing about your year' Prima
'This book is inspired!!!' Nadiya Hussain
'[It's] beautiful, like Dawn, and stuffed full of goodies' Jo Brand
This is Dawn French's fabulous new non-fiction book for 2017, and it's totally interactive: take a lovely ramble through the year together with Dawn. Think of it as Dawn's diary, personalized by you . . . perfection.
I can't count the amount of diaries I have crammed full with entries in January, that then fizzle out as the other months pile in. One of my teenage diaries has fulsome fizzing reports of every single conversation, thought and feeling about every friend, every crush, every meal, every argument until mid-March, when the entry on the 18th simply reads,
Thank god, this isn't that. This book is a way for us to tell the story of a year together. Feel free to write your appointments in it, lists, thoughts and reminders of, say, who to kill, and when, and in what order. But I've also written about age and life as I see it, through the seasons and the months, and I've added some places for you to join me in some fun and some thinking. By the end of the year, I am hoping you will have a fatter, scruffier book that is written by me but totally personalized by you.
Come on in. The paper is lovely . . .
AND . . . importantly, Me. You: A Diary comes with a practical elastic strap to keep all of your papers safe, with a pocket in the back for storing those special momentoes.