Not a landmark birthday, it’s true, but a good enough time to take stock of one’s life so far …
1) The best advice I ever got was from my dad when I was 14: “Everything in life is about sex, but sex is always about something else.”
2) You can have physical flaws if you style it out. Don’t walk like you’re an apology for yourself.
3) My straight female friends yearn for a lover who will put up shelves, whack a roof rack on a car, get stuff done.
4) I think it was Sophie Dahl who said the sexiest man was one wearing a jumper that smells of bonfire. She was on to something there.
5) Being confident is nearly as good as being rich.
6) A wise celebrity once said: “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.”
7) Oh, but you do need money. Not for yachts, but for all of the small sodding things, all sodding day long. There’s a reason people spend years at law school. I used to mock. I get it now.
8) I was quite shy until I joined bands I didn’t even like, acted in embarrassing plays, spent Christmas alone in new continents.
9) My face has a couple of chicken pox scars, one leg bulges more than the other since a thrombosis, and my vagina would like to enter a witness protection programme to be assigned a new identity after a 10lb baby got stuck in it. Your body is meant to get a bit beaten up by life. It’s all right.
10) I’m really glad I had a kid.
11) I’m really glad I didn’t have an abortion.
12) Being a single parent is not as bad as being a single pregnant. That bit was weird.
13) The hardest bit of being a single parent isn’t that nobody shares your burden. It’s that nobody shares your joy.
14) When my child was one, I had no idea I’d love her this much more now she’s nearly two. If it carries on like this, I’ll be fully obsessed and proposing marriage when she’s 10.
15) Resentment is harder to quit than fags, but you really need to stop blaming your parents by the time you’re 30, however awful they were. You’re a planet now, not a satellite.
16) When I met Patti Smith, she said the one thing she longs to tell all young people is to keep their teeth.
17) I’ve not experienced much sexism at work, because the women who went before me fought so I wouldn’t have to. I’d like to say thank you.
18) Voting changes things. Protest changes things. Signing a petition changes things.
19) I used to say you didn’t need qualifications until someone pointed out I wouldn’t say that if I was working class. It’s easier for some than others to make their voices heard.
20) Meat is murder.
21) A murder with which I have made my salty, savage, delicious peace.
22) A raw carrot, an avocado and a walk will make you feel amazing, though. A sparkling ideas machine!
23) By the time you experience thirst, you’re already down the dehydration road. Drink water sooner than that.
24) If you’re bothered about ageing, the best trick is to say that you’re older. “You look amazing for 60!” they will shriek, when you’re actually 55.
25) Never hold back on applying for a job because you’re underqualified. Everyone feels like a fraud.
26) If more than half of your conversations are spent criticising other people, you won’t experience joy very often.
27) People who criticise other people a lot also criticise themselves a lot. So even if you think they’re happy, they’re not.
28) It’s such a sad waste of a life, hating your body. The numbest form of vanity.
29) The 80 or so celebrities I’ve interviewed all get up really early and work their arses off.
30) American people do more dating than British people do, which means they have more sex, which is why they’re more cheerful.
31) People who habitually go out having a lot of drunk, crazy sex, are not doing this because they’re so free and easy about sex. It’s because they are terrified of intimacy.
32) I know because I was one. I wish I had addressed this a bit sooner than I did. Still, here we are; nobody died.
33) (Some of it was pretty good.)
34) (At least I won’t die wondering.)
35) It is a good idea to learn how to love and be loved, though.
36) And there’s a lot to be said for being wildly ambitious and working really hard on your own fabulous destiny.
37) But there’s a similar amount to be said for not dying alone.