One of the things I used to read pre-50, was how liberating it would be. How, because you no longer cared, you could be the person you always wanted to be, with all that accumulated knowledge etched across your face, manifesting in the worry lines and furrows. You could say it how it is, not take any crap and herd the little whippersnapper millenials into there inferior position and throw them gems of infinite wisdom.
Your body would be a testament to a life lived; every stretchmark and roll of squidge would have a story to tell. Acceptance would be granted by the Tena Lady fairy as the clock strikes 12 and you inhale the last seconds of being in your 40s. You have earnt the right to elasticated waistbands and wearing shoes for comfort not poise…it would be a waste of pain and blistered toes to wear something with a five inch heel and a leapordskin and diamante theme..you know why? because when you turn 50 you are allowed to become invisible by the media. I sometimes feel like I am metaphorically being folded up and put away in the bottom drawer with a lavender bag. I came! I was gorgeous! I have reproduced and now I may put on my slippers and sit on ‘the comfy chair’ in a velour leisure suit and read Woman’s own and watch ‘Cash in the Attic’. I always excelled at being ornamental in my teens, I absolutely wanted to be centre of attention. It didn’t come from a particularly good place, but I wanted to be gazed at and to stand out. I wanted to be special and unique (even in my own head!). Up until a month ago I had bright red hair which I had worn for 8 years ( I haven’t seen my natural hair colour since I was 14). I decided to change it for no other reason than that I fancied a change. 4 weeks of intense lightening and toning later I eventually made it to a blondish colour and i quite like the odd bit of glittery grey. Now I feel I have blended in to looking ‘normal’ whereas before I would always get comments about my hair. I’m not really making a statement more of a resigned sigh. I love clothes (the ones I can fit into!) and I love make up and of course lovely hair, but I care alot less what other people think of me, which is great and means I can go out for a walk with my dog and extend the look into the rest of my day. Black glittery wellies and mud splattered leggings and humidity hair. It will suffice because I actually can’t be as arsed. I think older women are beautiful. There is something intrinsically fabulous about all that experience and life and adventure. Laughter lines, worry lines, tramlines….
There is a cliche that you still feel young inside and yes, I guess that is true. When I was 18 I used to jump out of bed-and that was on 40 Marlboro reds and a liver processing the last nights Jack Daniels. Now it takes me a while to manouvre and warm up my knees so that they can carry me to the bathroom mirror to construct a face of tinted moisturiser and apple of the cheek blusher application for a healthy glow. I spend more time tweezering and moisturising and I remain of the belief that a diet of caffeine and cake, jacket potatoes and cheesy beans and fig rolls is the elixir of youth. I feel I am well preserved and I guess I live fairly cleanly. I don’t really drink-apart from gin and mojitos- because I am crap at it, and I gave up smoking 20 years ago. I don’t feel my age but what does that even mean? How am I supposed to feel exactly? I didn’t wake up one day and reach for Judith Chalmers wardrobe and book onto a SAGA cruise. I just feel like me.
Anyway friends, its fast approaching 9.30pm. Time for me to climb the stairs, occassionally stopping to make a noise and rub the pain in my back, whilst clutching a cup of Horlicks, the Guardian crossword and a pen that was gifted as a bribe to buy insurance for the over 50’s. I will put on my flanelette nightshirt and my bed socks and smother myself in night cream with scientifically proven plants that I’ve never heard of extracts.
So in the words of the great er…Gwen Stefani:
Act as young as you feel. You’re not getting older; you’re getting more entitled to be your fabulous self