Tag Archives: getting old

Learning To Love The Big 4-0!

I entered my 40th year last month and I have to admit I am still trying to get my head around my new age.  When I’m asked how old I am, I find myself imitating Rainman and pronouncing the number as if I’ve never heard it before “Four-T, Forre-T, Forrre-T”.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t lied about my age since turning 40 and in fact I did some major celebrating for my birthday, which pretty much lasted 3 weeks and all kicked off with an amazing weekend in Palma with 9 of my closest girlfriends along with my 2 gay husbands. However, since the celebrations have ceased I am now left with the uneasy feeling of being stuck with this age!

I have been trying to rack my brain as to why I feel this way.  A lot of my friends are already into their 40s, they look fabulous on it, have embraced it and have said its their favourite decade yet.  We are told that ‘Life begins at 40’ but how can that be true when its the start of our middle age?!  So, not one to be negative and in a bid to learn how to suppress a sob whenever filling out an application form and realising I’m in the next age bracket tick box, I have decided to compile a For and Against list to see if that helps.

 

Good Things

  • I do feel more of a grown up now.  I don’t tend to sweat the small stuff as much as I did in my 30s and definitely not as much as I did in my 20s when everything was analysed over and stressed about.
  • I feel more inclined to be healthier and look after myself now.  Unfortunately, it is through necessity as I consume endless information on superfoods and healthy living blogs whilst trying not to obsess about my weight/skin/hair.  I am still holding on to my skinny jeans (which are probably best donated to a 20 year old) because you never know, those sandbags I developed on my hips from my twin pregnancy might disappear one day?
  • I achieved a great deal in my 20s and 30s. I climbed the career ladder in the profession I wanted to work in, went to fabulous places/parties/concerts, met an amazing man, married him and we had three gorgeous kids.  My goals can now be adjusted to what I want rather than what I need, although glossy thick hair as if I’m in a Pantene advert and a bank balance similar to Victoria Beckham’s might be slightly out of my reach.
  • I am happy with the simple things in life.  I’m no longer desperate to wear the latest fashion, be ahead of every trend or to always have plans for a Friday and Saturday night.  Instead I love a night in front of the TV with the hubster and a nice bottle of wine, a good book, a meal in a good restaurant or a night at the theatre/cinema.  I don’t need to be the last one standing in the club anymore (although me and the girls did stay out till 4am in Palma) and now happily opt for a bar with ‘somewhere nice to sit and chat’ instead.
  • My friends are my family and my family are my friends.  Gone are my fly by night friends of my 20s and those that are still with me from that decade are like extended members of my family.  We have been through it all together and will be in it for the long run now.  Any new friends I have made are keepers too as I can only surround myself with people I have a connection with.  My beloved parents I now regard as my friends as we holiday together, socialise together, appreciate (lots of) wine together.  They have always been my on-hand therapists but now I feel I am old enough to return the therapy when my advice is needed.

Bad Things

  • I have a lot more ailments at 40 then I did at 20.  I am basically a pin cushion for my doctor now with regular thyroid tests, we discuss pre-menopause and I am also now eligible for breast screening.  No longer are my visits to the doctor for an occasional water infection from burning the candle at both ends but instead are due to irritable bowel syndrome with my metabolism giving up the ghost.  If you have period problems in your 20s the doctors are on hand to discuss options – period problems in your 40s I am told its my age and it is to be expected and perhaps I could whip it all out if I’m fed up with it!
  • Dealing with the ageing process.  Gone is the tinted moisturiser for youthful skin and now instead I need foundation that drag queens endorse to cover those rosescia and age spots freckles and blushes.  Plus the constant control of my grey hair natural highlights without looking like Paul McCartney (a la aubergine) and what is with the chin hair?
  • I can’t do hangovers anymore.  I do love a tipple or two but literally more than two or three drinks and I’m contending with insomnia most of the night, a day spent feeling like my organs have been removed and the type of alcohol blues that make me want to start writing morose poetry.

It seems that the good things do outweigh the bad things.  I think the best way to sum it up is in the words of Lucille Ball:

“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”

So if anyone asks – I’m 39! Which means I can celebrate my 40th again this year!!

 

 

 

When Is Middle Age Anyway?

I attended a dear friend’s 40 birthday party recently and as we wished her Happy Birthday it was with a mixture of sympathy and commiseration that she had arrived at this milestone. With just three years until I will be making the same big 4-0 birthday plans, I am left with the feeling that hitting our 40s has just crept up on my friends and I and doesn’t really suit us at all.

The trouble is I just don’t feel old enough to be on the wrong side of my 30s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to ‘get down with the kids’ through talking ‘street’ and dressing like Tulisa. I wear what I think is age appropriate on the hopefully trendy side of ‘Mumsy’ clothing, but can’t get my head around that I am probably considered old by anyone in their 20s now.  This was confirmed to me recently whilst being served in a well-known department store, when the 20 something salesman addressed me as ‘Madam’, I almost shouted ‘do you know that Debbie Harry was my age when Blondie were at the height of their fame! She was lusted after which means that 37 is not old!’. Thankfully I didn’t say this as I thought he might not know who Debbie Harry was for one and maybe I was being a bit paranoid, calling me ‘Madam’ was probably part of his sales training after all. I managed to restrain myself from heading to a builder’s site to see if I was worthy of a wolf whistle in my ageing state, and convinced myself it isn’t that important to me what other people think.

It doesn’t help that as I become use to my dwindling 30s, other celebrities in my age bracket, ‘I’m talking to you Posh Spice!’ are constantly battling their weight, nipping and tucking to the point of looking permanently shocked, whilst saying how much they enjoy getting older, yeah right! My other fave celeb Mum (ahem) Gwyneth said of turning 40, “I feel younger than ever and more energetic”. Hmmm now I am still three years away from 40 and I feel older than ever with pathetic stores of energy levels. I often make the groan noise when I have to squat my knees to reach something under the stairs or will often fall asleep, on the sofa, mid movie when me and hubby settle down for an evening, blaming it ‘on my busy day’. Bet Gwyneth isn’t dribbling on her sofa cushion come 9pm, she’s probably doing sit ups whilst chewing on a lettuce leaf!

I am trying not to be bitter about getting older. I had a debaucherous enough youth to feel like I am able to glide into my older years at a slower pace with more refined nights out. My friends who have already hit the 40 mark have done it looking pretty damn fabulous and still have lots of ambitions to fulfil. One of my best friends is in his late 40s and is not one bit worried about heading to his 50s, but instead is welcoming it with open arms, saying he feels wiser and more relaxed about getting older.

Debbie Harry is still fronting Blondie in her late 60s, even if it is in a mad bag lady style. David Bowie is releasing a new album and he is approaching his 70s and Sir Paul McCartney, well, he really does need to realise that it is time for pipe and slippers and Midsomer Murders on box set.

My inspiration is my 81-year-old Aunt. She is young at heart, strong, resilient, hilarious and always delivers words of wisdom. She is super fit for her age and recently joined a gym ‘to get rid of her bingo wings’. When she filled out the enrolment forms for her personal trainer, she faked her date of birth so that it made her 75 instead as ‘she didn’t want to be treated like an old biddy’. My Aunt is my Mum’s sister, they grew up in a house of women along with my other Aunt and my Nan, my Grandad sadly died shortly after my Mum was born. My Aunts were children during the war, with my Mum being born in 1945, and they grew up having to be strong, resourceful females in a male dominated world. They have remained this way throughout their lives, striving for the best in life for themselves and their families, never complaining, with the reasoning if there is something to moan about then change it!

Age is just a number, we are only as young as we feel, 40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40, along with all the other clichés we like to chat about in order to reassure ourselves that we are not past it. What I think is as long as I surround myself with my young at heart friends and family, who have a couldn’t care less attitude about getting older, I will hopefully always have a grasp on the fountain of youth. In the meantime, I’m off to watch Springwatch with my cup of cocoa, only 20 minutes before I pass out on the sofa anyway.

I will leave you with a poem that my Great Aunt wrote, another strong inspirational female relative of mine, with her take on life.

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

We met, we married, a long time ago
He worked for long hours and wages were low
No telly, no radio, no bath, times were hard
Just a cold water tap and a walk up the yard
No holidays abroad, no carpets on floors
We  had coal on the fire, we never locked doors
The children arrived, no pill in those days
And we brought them up, without state aid
No valium, no drugs, no LSD
We cured our pains with a good cup of tea
If you were sick, you were treated at once
Not fill in a form and come back in a month
No vandals, no muggings, there was nothing to rob
In fact you were rich with a couple of bob
People were happier in those days
Kinder and caring in some many ways
Milkman and paper boys would whistle and sing
And a night at the flicks was a wonderful thing
We had our share of troubles and strife
But we had to face it, that was life
But now I’m alone and look back through the years
I don’t think of the bad times, the troubles and tears
I remember the blessings, our home and our love
We shared them together and I thank God.