Andrea Smith: At 45 I’ve learned….
1. That having lines on my face, a spare tyre and a bum that went south are testaments to being alive. Some of the people I went to school with didn’t make it this far, and would be extremely grateful to be able to walk around in my wrinkly, fat body today.
2. That nobody really cares about what I’m wearing or judging my career progress, because everyone is too busy fretting over how they’re doing themselves.
3. That a warm smile and genuine interest in someone will leave a far more lasting impression than what I have achieved or how I look. This also applies to sex and dating.
4. That the best friends were not necessarily those I could drink tequila shots with at 1 am in a bar, but those who took the time to listen to me when I was worried.
5. That still having my lovely parents around and well is the biggest gift I could receive, when so many of my friends lost theirs too early.
6. That determination, charm and a lot of self-belief can be more important than talent when it comes to getting ahead, as is the ability to keep smiling through disappointment and getting back up on the horse again.
7. That everyone gets something – the banging body, great partner, cute kids, big house or rocking career - but nobody gets the complete fairytale. The secret is making the best of the hand you’ve been given.
8. That the queen bees who worked my last nerve at school may possibly just have mastered the act of appearing confident earlier than I did. And those who were bullies deserve my sympathy, because they possibly went home to a difficult situation every day.
9. That even the people in charge are only muddling through, and we have to allow for the fact that we, and they, are all only human and fallible at the end of the day.
10. That you’ll never be lonely or feel unloved if you have a dog.