It’s My Party

Today’s my birthday and I planned to celebrate with a cappuccino at a bar with the best view in Rome: it overlooks the Italian Men’s Swimming Team training pool. Forget the Coliseum or the Spanish Steps; this is the first sight you should see in Rome.

Yep, this lot. Sadly, they don’t let me into the changing rooms anymore…

However, I had a poorly child at home so, instead of checking out buff swimmers, I was reduced to drinking tea whilst watching our caretaker, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Yoda, trimming his knobweed.*  It’s one way to spend a birthday.

After I was finally able to drag my eyes away from this hunky Star Wars doppelganger, I saw that a friend had sent me this quote:


I could read this two ways. Does it mean how old would you think you were if you didn’t know your age? Or how old would you like to be if you didn’t know your age?

Mentally, I like to think I have a pretty youthful attitude to life. In fact, my daughter told me this morning that I am as immature as a 5 year old. It’s true that I find slapstick, knob jokes and the word merkin amusing. However, I can also be a bit of a worrier, more so than in my youth – although that’s probably from having children, rather than ageing. Once you have kids, there’s SO much to worry about.

Physically, I’m healthy and aim for a fairly youthful jeans and Converse look, without straying into mutton dressed as lamb territory.  I’m fortunate to have my own stylist (aged 12) who tells me in no uncertain terms when I look totally ridiculous. For some reason, attempting to head out on the school run dressed in dungarees and a beret came in the ‘Oh my god, you’re so embarrassing, GO AND CHANGE’ category.  On the not-so-good hand, I’m beset with the twinges and niggles that come with being in my ‘40s, slightly overweight and suffering from hypo-flexibility (I told you, it’s a REAL THING).

So, if I didn’t know how old I was, I’d probably think I was about 35 (yes, I’ve knocked quite a bit off – but, tough, it’s my blog).

But how old would I like to be?  Tricky.  I’d love to go back to my teenage years if there was no school, homework or pimples.  My twenties were fabulous except for the stress of university exams, working in a job I hated and the death of my Mum.  Maybe my thirties?  I had a career break, was at home with two lovely small children and hadn’t started having all the aches and pains that I have now.  But I was sleep deprived for five years, changed hundreds of nappies and went through the terrible twos twice.  Forties??  I’m on another career break, I’m experiencing life in Rome and my children are becoming independent. But I have to deal with Italian bureaucracy, missing friends and family, and my children are becoming independent (it’s a double-edged sword).

Ok, I’ve got it. I’d like to be living the life I’m living now, but be ten years younger and not lose any of the experiences I’ve had.  Back to the drawing board with that time machine…

Excellent, mention of time travel – can squeeze in a sneaky David Tennant pic
Excellent, mention of time travel – can squeeze in a sneaky David Tennant pic

If you understand the question better than I did, how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

*Knobweed is a plant, in case you’re wondering.  I’ll let you know if I catch Signor Yoda trimming anything else.


51 thoughts on “It’s My Party”

  1. I almost forgot: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARB!!!!

    Where are my manners?!

    Hope you can make up for your missed pool party another day. I can’t help but notice that you’ve got some kind of a pool fetish going on there…


    1. Aw, thanks very much! Ha ha, I hadn’t even noticed the pool link, maybe my next post will be about the time I infiltrated the hot tub whilst the Italian swimmers were relaxing there??


  2. Hippy bopdie, BW! Yippee, another excuse to raise my glass. Hic.
    Now for that age issue. I haven’t really grown up yet (I was giggling at the knob weed too) so I’d say I’m ten under the wrinkles, but other experiences life threw at me make me feel like a Yoda-like sage. Hmm. Confused I am.


  3. According to my 16 year old son, I can ‘drop’ into the mindset of a ten year old boy in 3 seconds flat and according to my 17 year old daughter I am incredibly immature so I’m going with I must be about 10! Knobweed- my new insult, as in ‘you total knob weed’!!


  4. You are seriously fab!!!! The job you’re talking about…….? The company was fab though! Vodka in the drawer, endless email correspondence, introduction to the “laminator” & our own personal agony uncle 🙂 xx


    1. You’re right, I’d forgotten all the great things about that job…making up nicknames for our co-workers, that first-aid course we went on, throwing blancmange at certain people and, of course, meeting you 🙂


  5. Happy birthday! Knob weed had me laughing out loud….. Excellent writing as ever. My favourite 40th birthday present was an apron from a neighbour who was forever out on the pavement trimming her laurel. I was constantly making fun of her. The apron reads…. There’s nothing quite like a neatly trimmed bush. I like to giggle my way through my day like we did at school…. Which makes me 14! Xxxx


    1. Thank you! If you’re going to have a bush, it’s definitely got to be neatly trimmed! Wherever I go, I always aim to find friends with whom I can giggle through the day with, probably explains why I’m not in senior management somewhere!! Lots of people seem to want to be 14 again, obviously a good age 🙂


  6. Oh my. I want to meet you in that coffee shop immediately! If you’re only as young as the man you’d like to feel, then that makes me 25!


  7. I guessed Knobweed was a plant, but still nearly choked on my lunch 😀 😀

    I’m 30, but mentally I’m pretty sure I reached 17 then stopped. What is all this “being an adult” stuff? I do grown-up things (like housework, food shopping and attending appointments at the bank), but I still don’t get it…


    1. It is weird how ‘being an adult’ is seen as a positive thing isn’t it? All the adult stuff is so dull! Apart from ogling fit, young swimmers, drinking prosecco and not having to eat all your vegetables 🙂


  8. Sorry, I’m a day late but – Happy Birthday! What could be better for a birthday treat than watching Yoda trimming something? 🙂
    I couldn’t quite decide what the quote/question meant – so I am going for what age do I wish I was. I wish I was 32 again (a few years ago I wished I was 28, so I must have grown up a bit!) because it sounds like a good number and terribly young. Of course, I would like to be that age, but with the experience of my more mature years. 🙂


  9. I loved this post:))(And thank you for the perspective about 40s). When I was 22 older friends said I sounded mid-40s already. I probably have been 40 for most of my life:)


  10. I’m moving to Rome in August and I have been searching the internet looking for advice about where to live. I came across your blog when searching for Ponte Milvio, and I just have to say that your sneaky picture of David Tennant made my day! 🙂 So nice to find another fan of the Doctor! Happy belated birthday!


    1. Nice to hear from you! I do try to sneak in a David Tennant pic whenever I can, as I really think you can never have too many 😉 Ponte Milvio is a nice area, with lots of bars and restaurants. I don’t find the shopping great, I tend to head to the out of town shopping malls. There’s plenty to do nearby e.g. Stadio Olympico, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Monte Mario nature reserve and other parks and museums. August will be very hot so I will have decamped to England for the summer!! Good luck with your move. Are you moving with family or on your own? 🙂


      1. I will be moving on my own. I just got a job teaching at an international school in Rome. Sounds like a good plan to escape to England. 🙂 I was in Northern England last summer and I loved it. Thanks for the info about Ponte Milvio. I think I would like to live somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Someplace that’s less busy than downtown, but has good public transportation and is walkable, but not TOO far from the school. Does this place exist? 🙂


        1. There are quite a few international schools in this area so it’s a good place to be. And it should be easy to meet other English people through the school – although, of course, you may just want to mix with Italians! There’s a bus station very close to Ponte Milvio and you can get a bus into the centre or (much quicker) a tram, which gets you to Piazza Popolo (by Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese) in about ten minutes. If you’re brave enough to drive (I’m not!), then you can be in the centre in 15 minutes. The Vatican is not far either, I think you can walk there along the river but I haven’t got around to it yet 😉


          1. Definitely not going to be driving! Ten minutes sounds nice! I’m nervous about finding an apartment… they recommend I find something before I get there because Rome pretty much shuts down in August. Thanks for the input. 🙂


            1. I’d definitely ask the school for help finding an apartment. We were fortunate to have an agency helping us but my friend found hers on the internet, she just googled ‘apartments in Rome’ and plenty of places came up (e.g. Beware if you go through an agent as they can charge HUGE fees (like between €2,000 – €4,000. I kid you not). Also, you’ll have to sign a rental agreement in Italian which is pretty daunting. Have you considered a flat-share? Might be easier, especially to start with. Yes, it was hard to get things done in August but not totally impossible, just takes longer! 🙂


                1. Great, I will check out the links!

                  The school does send us info on apartments that are opening up and once we get in Rome they will help with setting up appointments and signing contracts. They just encourage us to find something beforehand. I think I would like to have a roommate. I just got an email with the contact info for all of the new teachers. There are a couple so far who are interested in having a roommate as well. Hopefully it will all work itself out! The new faculty advisor did say that Ponte Milvio is nice but they don’t usually get info about listings in that area. She also recommended Prati.


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