Thirty One

Thirty-one is the year to reap what you sow. Forget “being yourself”, this is the age of self-awareness. For starters, accept and acknowledge everything you’ve done in the past decade to get to this point. Stop telling your friends you’re a virgin. They don’t believe you and they have proof.

Everything sticks at 31. Cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, unprotected sex with strangers, junk food, Cheerios and late nights at clubs will all make deposits to that overall rode-hard-Middleton look. Your skin does not lie at 31. It simply reports what it sees. It’s not necessary for a woman in her thirties to have forehead lines, crow’s feet or jowls. Be self-aware and look after yourself.

You’re not a girl. If you’re writhing around topless on a bed, trying to capture your best sorority girl angle on your mobile phone, stop. Simply refuse to send photos of yourself anywhere.

Mystery loves the company of accomplished (wo)men. At 31, women don’t have boyfriends. They love people. Cultivate a lifestyle and invite interesting people to join in.

Scrunchies should induce hiccups in a stylish woman. All terrible things must come to an end and even though calf socks are back, there is no way to sex up the nightmare of shirred polyester. Ponytail holders should be used to bind Karl Lagerfeld’s hair or a roll of canvasses for your women’s weekend painting retreat. This is the year to try on feather headbands, silk ribbons and jewelled hair pins. I don’t care what you say. Feathers, rhinestones and sequins show you have moxy.

Learn at least one rare language. Become conversant in it. You’ll meet another speaker in time, promise.

Carve out a space for yourself to receive inspiration. Anoint a hideout or hangout spot and make friends with the owners. Order the same thing every time you go in. From this point, foster positive relationships with business people.

Put your future first. You can live in the now, later. If a man proposes to you at this age, he’s interested in a grown woman and not a girl, so spend time really getting to know him. If you like him, get on with it. The man you’re pining after is indifferent to you. Don’t waste your life on a fantasy.

Similarly, if you’re still with the same person from your mid-twenties and you haven’t talked about marriage and children, you’re his/her mistress.

Mark territory. You have a voice, so get out there and campaign for your cause. If a campaign doesn’t exist, organise one. If you want to do something, don’t consult with anyone, don’t bang on about it, get on with it in secret. Invite us to the launch.

Declare yourself. If you love him, Him, her or Her, them, show it and say it: “I love you.” Stop playing mind games. If your feelings aren’t reciprocated, move on. And no, let’s not stay friends (with or without benefits).

If you’re not a mother, adopt a child, whether it’s fostering one or simply acting as a role model. Children teach us about love, compassion and acceptance. This is more than any romantic relationship can accomplish. Looking after children is a gift you give to the world.

Say yes, a lot. There’s something wonderful about the quality of life you can enjoy when you have exacting standards. However, a mysterious 31 year old woman always leaves room to surprise herself.