Editor’s letter: If only I’d known this at 40…

Of all the pages we have devoted today to the Duchess of Cambridge’s milestone birthday, the feature that particularly made me smile was The Mail on Sunday columnist Sarah Vine’s fabulous thoughts on what it really means to be entering your 40s.

I laugh to think that there was a period in my childhood when I was adamant that I’d never get to such a decrepit age: far too big and old a number to ever possibly reach, I was sure. Who can manage to survive that long? Yet now here I am, looking back at 40, scarcely able to believe how young it now seems.

So Sarah’s open letter of advice to Kate really resonated with me. In fact, it got me thinking about what I would now tell myself, on the eve of my 40th birthday. It would probably be a few thoughts such as…

  • That career disaster you’ve spent the past decade fearing will happen, will happen. And guess what? You’ll be fine! In fact, better than ever. Relax.
  • Yes, you have amazing, wonderful friends who you treasure, but believe me, you’re yet to meet some of the people who will mean the most to you in the world.
  • You’re yet to discover the joys of bottle blonde – contrary to what you’ve always told yourself, you are not too pale to suit it.
  • You’re not dying. Well, not just yet, anyway. It’s called the peri-menopause, which, inexplicably, no one but me is going to tell you about. For some reason, even doctors seem to want women to figure that one out all by themselves.
  • While we’re on the subject of staying alive, get your damn moles checked more regularly, you silly Australian native. That thing in the corner of your eye? It’s not a zit.
  • You do not have 17 chins, you just need to learn that you must never look down at the screen of that new iPad thing you have. No person’s self-esteem can recover from seeing that reflection.
  • You seem to be absolutely certain that 50 is too big a number and you’ll never make it to that age. You will.

I wonder what my 60-year-old self might have to say about all of this one day! If I live that long. I’d love to hear from you and what advice you might give to the younger versions of you. Ultimately, I think we’d probably all counsel ourselves to just breathe: is that thing bothering us today going to be the thing we’re still fretting over in the long run? Unlikely.

Enjoy the issue.

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

pink blouse

Pretty and pink. Blouse, £149, lkbennett.com

ankle boots

Do your worst, January weather – I’m ready for you. Boots, £150, dunelondon.com

lip balm

Just the right hit of colour. Lip balm, £27, Trish McEvoy, libertylondon.com